Ancient stone structures, or megaliths (from the Greek. megas – large and lithos – stone) – the prehistoric monuments, presumably of a religious character, which are built of huge unwrought or semi-finished boulders. Divided into dolmens, menhirs and cromlechs (see below). Megaliths are found in different parts of the world, mainly in the Caucasus, along the Black sea coast in Western Europe, North Africa. In recent years, the interest increased again after findings of megalithic structures on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, about 40 kilometers from the Bahamas.
Megalithic structures belong to different epochs. They were built thousands of years ago, and they were built on the Islands of Polynesia only several centuries ago. The mystery of the origin of megaliths has long been concerned about humankind. Who was the first Builder, and for what purpose was created the multi-ton stone structures? While it’s not clear. Even with modern technical means it is often difficult to build these grandiose buildings. It is also known that the megaliths obviously gravitate to the sea, and the farther from it, the smaller become the largest stone buildings.
Historically Azerbaijan has been inhabited by man. On its territory, and in particular on the Apsheron Peninsula, there are stone structures built by the ancient inhabitants of these places. Iliei ritual facilities on the Absheron Peninsula are examples of megalithic architecture of Chalcolithic and ancient bronze. On the Absheron Peninsula are found cromlechs – the remains of the almost round in terms of buildings, burial shrines and ritual structures in the form of playgrounds, fenced large stones with printed pictures on them. Ancient monuments in the environs of Baku were found in Mardakan (III-II thousand BC), Zira (III-II thousand BC), in Turkana (late II Millennium BC), Shuvalan (II Millennium BC) and near the Apsheron in Gobustan (III Millennium BC).
Interesting cromlech in Mardakan, a semi-circular building, built of large stone blocks, which abut a number of small round extensions. There is an assumption that he has a ritual character and devoted to the cult of the sun. Most of the stone structures covered rock paintings of deer, goats and other animals. Apparently, a model for the design of the cromlechs in Mardakan and Shuvalan were petroglyphs in Gobustan.
On-site in the area of Gobustan reserve there are a variety of stone structures clearly built by the hand of man. One of the interesting megalithic monuments dolmen type. A huge stone slab rests on the vertical block. The resulting building is surrounded by huge rocks. On the inside wall of buildings there are drawings made by ancient man.
In General, these structures are still poorly understood. Prehistoric monuments of the stone age meet analogy in many Nations of the world. If the ancient inhabitants of Absheron one way or another involved in the construction of megalithic structures, the relationship between our stone structures and megaliths in other parts of the world can only reveal future research.
Unfortunately, many of these ancient monuments are in grave danger. Despite the efforts of archaeologists, the earth around structures is dealt under country sites. At this rate, soon the whole area will be cleared and built up, and a layer of thousand years of history will disappear from the face of the Earth. This will be an irreparable loss for our knowledge about the life of early man in the region. Obviously, you need to make every effort to protect the megalithic structures of Azerbaijan, before it is too late.
The DOLMEN (from Breton tol table and men – stone) is a structure in the form of a large stone box, covered with a flat plate. The weight of the upper stone slab often reaches several tens of tons, dimensions – up to ten meters. The purpose and method of construction is not known. These structures are common in the coastal areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa, the Caucasus and the Crimea.
MENHIR (eng. menhir) – view of prehistoric monuments, which was a separate vertically standing stone, greater or lesser magnitude, often even huge. This simple, often quadrangular, stone post, sometimes carved mysterious signs and decals. Found in Brittany, England and Scandinavia.
The CROMLECH (from crom Breton circle and lech, a stone) is one of the types of megalithic structures of the time of Neolithic and mainly to the bronze age. Usually consists of huge detached rocks, to form one or more concentric circles. They surround the platform in the middle of which is a dolmen or a menhir. During excavations within the stone circles found burials, polished stone axes, ceramics stucco, stone grinders. Cromlechs occur in Asia and the Americas, in Europe (France, UK, Scandinavia, in the Caucasus). Especially known for the stone circles Stonehenge and Avebury in Britain and Carnac in France.