Photos and accompanying story by Emil Danielyan (c) All rights reserved, you may not use or publish these photos anywhere without the explicit permission of author
Karahunj, also known as Zorats Karer, one of Armenia’s oldest and most mysterious archaeological sites located in the southeastern Syunik province. Basically, it’s a cluster of more than 200 big stones scattered over a mountain plateau. Just how old they are and what they had served for is still a matter of scientific debate.
Nearly half of those stones have round upward-looking holes at the top. Four of the holes point towards the point where the sun rises on midsummer’s day and four others at the point where the sun sets on the same day.
That gave some Armenian archaeologists and astronomers reason to believe that this is the site of a prehistoric observatory that existed 4,500-,7500 years ago.
A team of German scientists who explored the area suggested in 2000, however, that Karahunj was only a necropolis that’s no more than 2,300 years old. They said it may have also served as a place of refuge in times of war.
A more recent international expedition led by Oxford University astrophysicist Mihran Vardanyan found that the site mirrors the Cygnus/Swan constellation which appears in the form of vulture on ancient maps of the night sky.
Some Armenian scientists see a link between Karahunj and England’s world-famous Stonehenge. “Kar” means “stone” in Armenian and “hunj” sounds so similar to “henge.” So who knows…
A team of Oxford researchers is due to start another expedition to Karahunj this September. Hopefully they will shed more light on its mystery.