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Mysteries of Armenia

Cave Grotesque

100_9944Material monuments preserved since the earliest period of people’s settlement on the Armenian plateau have been discovered in Azokh Cave. The 20-meter high gates of this rocky settlement are already impressive enough. The cave is set at a relative height of 400 m. The main 200-meter long passage stretches as a suite of six halls and two mouth galleries. The largest hall occupies an area of 3000 sq m. The sediments consist of 25 layers that differ both in color and composition. The cave got its present name from a Karabakh village on the territory of which it is situated. The word azokh has been known since the 5th century and means unripe grape. Curiously enough, the villagers themselves call the cave Virvan or Virapavan which can be translated as an abode in the hall. At a depth of 10–14 m archaeologists have found a pebble with vestiges of hand upholstery similar to Olduvian. This fact allows for assumption that three layers of Azokh Cave date from the Eopleistocene age (1,8–0,8 million years ago). The tools found in the grotto remind of the ones that had already been gathered on the famous Satan’s hill. Yet another remarkable event was the discovery of a Neanderthal man’s jaw. The area is of great interest from the point of view of paleontology as well. In addition to the ten thousand tools found in the cave, archaeologists also managed to dig up 20 000 bones of 43 different species of fauna. The grotto is one of the oldest centers of domestication.

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