PALEOLITHIC CAMPS OF AZERBAIJAN

The Paleolithic archeological expedition of the Institute of History under the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan led by Mamedali Guseynov conducted complex archeological digs in the Azykh Paleolithic cave in June of 1960-1986. During this work 10 archeological layers were found and studied in the sediments of the camp.

  • The first and second layers contained remnants of the material culture of the Bronze Age and neolith.

  • The third layer revealed the patterns of material culture related to the culture of mustye

  • No archeological materials were found in the fourth layer

  • Materials related to the Middle Acheulian period were found in the fifth layer

  • The sixth layer revealed materials of the Old Acheulian Age.

  • The 7th-10th layers discovered materials of the culture of Guruchay.

    Ancient artifacts found in deep layers of the earth are of great scientific importance as they inform us about the first settlements of ancient people who lived in caves.

    Guruchay valley played a great role in the life of ancient Azykh dwellers.

    The inhabitants of the Azykh cave collected river stones from the Guruchay river and brought them to the cave for creating tools. At the same time, the dwellers of ancient Azykh were engaged in hunting and gathering. During complex scientific research it was discovered that in the Paleolithic Age, Guruchay had favorable conditions for primitive people to live in. The patterns of material culture found during archeological research in the seventh-tenth level of layers promoted the discovery of rather new archeological culture. Therefore, considering the specific features of technology and typology of the preparation of labor instruments in the 7-10th layers, the newly discovered patterns of material culture were entitled the archeological culture of Guruchay.

    During the scientific study of stone products from lower layers of earth, a number of development stages were determined in the culture of Guruchay. The working implements of the initial stage of archeological culture were crude and primitive, while later the technique of their production improved and a number of new instruments were produced at that time.

    Most of the artifacts that were found in the 7-10th layers of Azykh cave were produced outside of the dwelling place and were then brought to the cave as finished. That means that the ancient inhabitants of the Azykh cave had lived in the Guruchay valley before moving to the cave. They produced artifacts in the Guruchay valley at that very period. Therefore, the production wastes from making the implements were not found in the cave.

    During the scientific research conducted by Azerbaijani scientists it was discovered that the artifacts of the Guruchay culture that were found in the 7-10th layers of the ancient cave Azykh had much in common with Orduvay culture and Dmanisi Paleolithic camps' archeological materials of East Africa.

    It was proven that after the long development stage of the archeological culture of Guruchay it was replaced by ancient Acheulian culture in the Azykh camp of ancient dwellers. Along with the discovery of the acheulian materials of layer 4, the new culture of stone implements from the river was developed on the basis of the archeological culture of Guruchay.

    The ancient culture of the Azykh camp was characterized by manual choppers, crude implements and disk shaped nuclear. Over 2,000 stone products and thousands of hunted animals' bones were found during the archeological digs of the Acheulian layer (fourth layer). Production wastes, nuclear and river stones made up the remaining part of the stone tools. Artifacts found in the layer related to the ancient Acheulian culture included crude cutting tools, manual choppers and horse-comb-like instruments. The remnants of stone working were discovered along with implements showing that the ancient inhabitants of Azykh created implements in their dwelling places.

    The rich patterns of fauna were discovered in the fourth layer of the Azykh camp along with the stone artifacts. Different jaw and skull bones dominated the fauna remnants. It was established that ancient people mostly hunted cave bears and giant deer.

    The richness of the material culture remainders found in ancient Acheulian layer testified that primitive people resided for a long time in the Azykh cave during the Auchelian period. The fact showed that that the culture of ancient Acheulian period was replaced with the Middle Acheulian culture. Only labor instruments favorable for hunting were found in the fifth layer of the cave.

    The fauna remainders found in the Middle Acheulian period layer showed that hunting reached its peak at that time. During the ancient Acheulian period primitive people hunted 11 species of animals while in the Middle acheulian period this figure reached 45 species of animals and birds. The number of bones found in the fifth layer exceeded 200 thousand.

    Along with the labor instruments a human chew was also found during the archeological digs conducted in the fifth layer of the Azykh camp . The human chews found in the Azhykh dwelling of ancient people on one hand resembled pithecanthropus especially that of Mauer man, and on the other hand the pre-Neanderthal man found in the Paleolithic camp of Kondel-arago in France.

    During the researches scientists discovered that the chew found in the Caucasus and the Near East was the one of the most ancient human being and belonged to the 18-22 year old woman and this human being resided in the territory of Europe 350-400 thousand years ago.

    The archeologicak digs conducted in the third layer of the Azykh Paleolithic camp discovered over 3 thousand stone wares and 100 thousand fauna remnants. Sharp-pointed and horse-comb instruments of mustye culture dominated the stone wares of the Azykh camp.

    The bones found in the campus mainly contained those of the wild horse, primitive goat, wild young horse, Caucasus goat, boar, cave bear, rhinoceros and other animals. Most of the bones found were burnt on the fire.

    Such scientists as M.M.Guseynov, D.V.Hadjiyev, A.V.Mamedov, A.G.Djafarov, N.S.Shirinov, V.V.Velichko, V.M.Hadjiyev, S.D.Aliyev, M.B.Suleymanov were engaged in the complex exploration of the Azykh campus. The international scientific community highly appreciates the scientific researches undertaken in the Azykh Paleolithic campus by Azerbaijani experts. The scientists of France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Spain, Georgia and other countries came to Baku within the last 40 years and familiarized with the remainders of the material culture found in Azykh cave.

    The study of material culture patterns found in the Paleolithic campuses on the territory of Azerbaijan was conducted on the international level. The scientists of France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Holland taking that as a basis prepared the international INTAS-2000 program and started its implementation. Over 10 monographs and 200 scientific articles of Azeri scientists devoted to the scientific analysis of material culture patterns found in the Azykh Paleolithic cave were published within the last forty years.

    Yet despite all these facts, a number of Armenian scientists try to falsify even the history of Azykh campus.

    Sh.Mykyrtychyan wrote in his book "The architectural and historical monuments of Nagorny Karabakh" issued in Yerevan in 1988 that the monument of an Armenian woman was found in Azykh campus and its clothes resembled that of modern Armenian women. Sh.Mykyrtychyan, thrugh saying such ridiculous words seeks the history of Armenia in the acheulian period. Yet there were not any monument that resembled the figure of a woman. A naturally created stalagmite column was found there. This column was formed from the mixture of limewater 2 million years ago.

    Armenian press published an information entitled "Digs continue in Azykh cave of Nagorny Karabakh" in August of 2003. That very information contained completely false, absurd thoughts that were far from the science. The information stated that the digs were conducted by paleontologists. Yet only archeologists carried out the digs there, while paleontologists studied only animal bones found during the digs. The information also stated that the chew found by M.Guseynov in the campus is 50-100 thousand tears pls. That is also an absurdity.

    Azeri scientists proved that the chew was 350-400 thousand years old through introduction of scientific facts and this figure was approved at the international scientific conference.

    It is known to everyone that Azeri scientists conducted complex archeological operations in the Paleolithic campus of Azykh and their results were highly appreciated by the prominent scientists of the international community.

    During the long-term archeological digs in Azykh campus Azeri scientists studied 80% of the cultural layers of the cave. Therefore, both digging and exploration works in this area must be regarded as the most grave crime against the humanity. Perhaps in 100 years a new exploration method will emerge and the remnants of Azykh cave may be taken and used as a pattern. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of material culture patterns found during archeological digs in Azykh are kept in Baku and every scientists is able to familiarize with them.

    To date Taghlar cave is considered the richest archeological monuments of the mustye culture in the Near East, the Caucasus and Azerbaijan. The campus locates in the Tugh lowland, on the left bank of the Guruchay river in Karabakh.

    The archeological digs conducted by M.Guseynov and A.Djafarov in the Taghlar mustye campus revealed over 10 thousand of stone wares and 100 thousand of hunted animals.

    The Taghlar cave is the only cave in the Near East and the Caucasus that enables to study and explore the features of new labor instruments formation and their long lasting development. At the same time, the archeological researches conducted in Taghlar campus reveals the specific properties of the mustye culture of our country.

    The complex archeological researches proved that Karabakh is the historic land of Azerbaijan through scientific facts.
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