The Mystery ofAzhdahak
Petroglyph is the scientific name (Greek: Petros-Rock, Glyph-Picture) for cave/rock art. They are painted or carved on the rocks and also found inside caves dating from the prehistoric era. Petroglyphs are found throughout the world. These ancient records of our ancestors give us a glimpse into their life. We can see where "Art" began. Though ancient petroglyphs have been researched for 200 years, their real meaning still remains a mystery.
Many rock-carvings have been found in the Geghama mountain range. It is the largest known and best-preserved petroglyph area in the Republic of Armenia.
Almost all aspects of our human life are reflected in petroglyphs. Most depict men in the act of hunting, fighting, dancing and even cultivating land. Some also show the worship of fertility, maternity, ancestors, heroes, spirits and time. Geographic elements such as lakes, rivers and springs, as well as celestial bodies and phenomena: the Sun, the Moon, the stars, constellations, and the stellar sky, fireballs, lightning and comets are also depicted.
Various animals are shown such as deer, leopards and the mountain goat known as the Mufflon which is the most common animal depicted. The mythical Vishap is often represented by elaborately carved basalt rocks, resting flat on the ground, the gills make them look like fish.
Similar petroglyphs can be seen in other neighboring countries, in Europe too. Long ago it seems all humans had a common way to express themselves by this ancient art. Current research is shedding light on the Petroglyphs of Armenia, where civilization has its earliest roots.
The basic elements (graphic signs and symbols) of rock art are open: they can be found in many parts of the world, irrespective of climate or geography. The Petroglyphs in the Geghama mountain region are evidence of the written language early origin, the level of advanced civilization attained by the prehistoric people of the Armenian highlands. The skills of creating clothing, ornaments, weaving fabrics and even carpets have been corroborated by Archaeological research in Armenia.
Like petroglyphs elsewhere in the world, those of Armenia, due to their great number, style and diverse content, are a unique cultural heritage from the prehistoric era and a treasure to us all.
In writing this paper, use was made of excerpts from the Armenian Rock Art Research Academy web site: http://armrockart.nt.am/