Rock-Carvings from the Geghamian Range

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Rock Art Congress

TRACCE no. 9 – by Karen S. Tokhatian


2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology
2-5 October 1997 DARFO BOARIO TERME
The Chronology of Rock-Carvings with Cosmological Meaning from the Geghamian Range (Armenia) .
There exist about 20 thousand petroglyphs in our country, which are on the Geghamian, Siunic mountain ranges and on the mount Aragats, at over 2500m height…

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There exist about 20 thousand petroglyphs in our country, which are on the Geghamian, Siunic mountain ranges and on the mount Aragats, at over 2500m height. They were carved out on the surfaces of basalt rocks by various hand-made stone swingles and obsidian cutters, substituted later by metal ones. The depth of the relief extends to several millimeters. Most of the rock-carvings are dated between the 5th-3rd millennia B. C., some even earlier -7th-6th millennia.

The picture groups offer valuable information not only about the diversity of the fauna and flora, but also about economic life of that period. They tell us about rituals and mythology of our ancestors, their ideas regarding heavenly bodies, forces of nature and fertility.

The Armenian rock-carvings mainly picture:

  • a) human beings, gods, heroes;
  • b) animals and mythological creatures;
  • c) nature and surroundings (rivers, mountains, trees, stars, constellations, comets, the Sun and the Moon), arms, instruments, transportation means;
  • d) phenomena (lightning, rain, birth, death, reproduction, breed);
  • e) occupation (hunting, land-cultivating, domestication, breeding, dancing and sports);
  • f) creation and culture (calculation and calendar, signs and symbols, pictograms, patterns, maps).

By semantic and morphological characteristics, stylistic peculiarities and poly-genre contents, the Armenian rock-art takes it’s own place in the art and culture of the Ancient world, and at the same time, it’s similar to analogous pictures all over the world. The rock-carvings of Armenia have been studied by two or three generations of scholars. Nevertheless, they are not yet completely investigated. Since 1994 I worked at the Institute of History of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Ancient history. The problem I am presently working on concerns chronology of some rock-carvings representing prehistoric state of certain stellar constellations, as of thousands years ago.

Karen S. Tokhatian
Institute of History,
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia,
24 G, Marshall Baghramian ave.,
Yerevan, 375019, Republic of Armenia

Personal Bibliography

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1991. The Armenian Calendar in Rock-Carvings, “Akunk” (Sources), N5-6, 7-8.

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1995. About the Possibility of Chronology of Armenian Rock-Carvings“, Communication at the Conference, Institute of History, Yerevan, 1995.

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1995. An Attempt of Determination of the Age of Some Rock-Carvings, Communication at the Conference, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1995. The Roots of Armenian Culture and Cosmology in Petroglyphs, “Gitutiun ev Tekhnica” (Science and Technology), Yerevan, N10-12.

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1996. Art in Armenian Rock-Carvings and Mythology, Communication at the UNESCO International Congress “Armenian Art and Architecture”, Yerevan (co-author Gohar D. Vardoumian)

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1996. Interpretation of a Rock-Carving from the Geghamian Mountains, Communication at the X Conference, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997 september. Armenian Rock-Carvings, Paper in “Armenian International Magazine” (in English), Glendale

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997. The Art of Curing and Curing with Art among Armenian, Communication at the Conference, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan, (co-author G.D.Vardoumian)

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997. Principles of Classification of Rock-Art (Outlines), Communication at the Conference, The State Historical Museum of Armenia, Yerevan

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997. Rock-Carving as Historical Sources, Communication at the Conference, Institute of History, “Lraber” (Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences), Yerevan, N2.

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997. The History of Armenian Astronomy and Calendar,. A map for the “Atlas of Armenian Culture and Population”, Yerevan State University, (submitted for publication)

TOKHATIAN K.S., 1997. Monuments of Astronomical nature of Gegharkounik Region, Communication of the conference “The historical-coltural heritage of Gegharkounik Region”, Gavar


TRACCE no. n.10special issue for RA Congress 1997Back to Index


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