A new study into Armenia's Carahunge stone circle complex, has shown that it is arguably one of the oldest known megalithic sites outside of Turkey, dating to around 5500 BC. Moreover, investigations by Russian prehistorian Professor Paris Herouni indicate that Carahunge (car means "stone" in Armenian, and hunge means "voice" or "sound"), located some 200km from the Armenian capital Yerevan, not far from the town of Sisian, was created as an astronomical observatory marking the movement not only of the sun and moon, but also the stars.

Indeed, Herouni's work at Carahunge was impressive enough to draw in the expertise of the late Professor Gerald Hawkins, who was impressed by the thoroughness of the survey undertaken by his Russian colleague.

Key hole to Cygnus

More significant is that Carahunge's principal stellar alignment is towards Deneb, the bright star in the constellation of Cygnus the swan.

A number of the standing stones bear smooth angled spy holes that are 4 to 5cm in diameter, each one being angled towards different points on the horizon or ancient targets in the heavens. A key stone had a hole that was focused due north towards the meridian. This suggested that it targeted a bright star at its culmination - i.e. the highest or lowest point it reaches as it revolves around the north celestial pole.

One of the holed stones at Carahunge aligned to celestial events and key stars.

Herouni ran the angle of the stone through various astronomical programmes and found that it was aligned to Deneb at a date of around 5,500 BC, suggesting that this was the time frame in which Carahunge was in use by an advanced society of astronomer priests. It was this alignment that provided the key to finally dating the site, which was expected to have been constructed during this distant epoch.

It is even now being claimed by Professor Herouni that Carahunge is the oldest stone obervatory in the world, although surely the stone setting at Nabta Playa in Egypt's Libyan desert is at least as old as Carahunge, and arguably older. Plus there are my own findings with respect to the orientations of various Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) sites in southeast Turkey, including the 12,000 year old Gobekli Tepe. In The Cygnus Mystery (2006) I demonstrated that, like Carahunge, they seemed to be orientated towards Cygnus's brightest star, Deneb.

The importance of Professor Herouni's findings regarding Carahunge is that in a time frame little different to the Neolithic city of Catal Huyuk in neighbouring Turkey, there was an astronomical observatory in Armenia not just aligned to the sun and moon, but also to the stars, and Cygnus in particular. I suspect that the interest in this star group goes back beyond the PPN sites of southeast Turkey to the Palaeolithic age, and the peoples who created the amazing cave art in Western Europe. Representations of Cygnus certainly exist in the Lascaux cave in the Dordogne region of southern France, and I suspect it is present in various other painted caves as well.

So why was Cygnus important?

Primarily it is because of its use as a time marker, its stars being so close to the north celestial pole they move very little across hundreds of years. Then there is its position on the Milky Way, exactly where this starry stream bifurcates to form what is known as the Cygnus Rift or Dark Rift. Universally, this area of the sky has been seen as the point of access into the sky-world, as well as a place of cosmic birth and death. It was also the place where the souls of the dead travelled in the afterlife, very often accompanied by, or in the form of, a bird, seen as a psychopomp, a soul carrier. Very often the identity of these birds corresponded with how the stars of Cygnus were represented in regional mythologies - a falcon in Egypt, a vulture on the Euphrates and a swan in Hellenic Greece and Turkey.

I am not surprised that Carahunge is aligned to Cygnus, although it is always pleasing when one's theories are shown to be real. I think that in years to come we shall find a lot more about the cult of the swan, and its relationship to the earliest sky-religions of the ancient world. I also think there is much more to learn about the prehistoric beliefs of the proto Armenians, and how they held true age old beliefs that went back all the way to Palaeolithic times.

Cover of Herouni's new book. Please excuse the poor quality image.

Armenia and Old Armenia

Professor Herouni has published a book of his findings with respect to Carahunge. Entitled ARMENIANS AND OLD ARMENIA ", it provides compelling evidence that this impressive megalithic site of over 200 standing stones spread out across 7 hectacres, was constructed and used by an advanced civilization. The book provides a detailed explanation of how the stone monument works as an astronomical observatory, and explains its context as the foundation point of Armenia and Armenian history.

For the full story of Professor Herouni's discoveries at Carahunge, read the article below by Armenia Now reporter Gayane Mkrtchyan.

The Lost World: New book places the birth of civilization in Carahunge

By Gayane Mkrtchyan ArmeniaNow Reporter

A new book claims that Armenia’s Carahunge observatory is evidence of the world’s oldest civilization. Scientist and radio physicist Paris Herouni argues in “Armenians and Old Armenia” that an advanced civilization existed in Armenia 7,500 years ago. Herouni, a graduate of Radiotechnical Department of Moscow Power Institute has 350 published scientic works, including monographs and 23 patents. Since 2000 he is a member of the group “People to People Ambassador” USA, which includes 30 top scientists of the world.

Herouni, 72, says that he was not attempting to gain fame or revolutionize history with his book, published in December 2004. Through scrupulous study, he says, he reached the conclusion that the stone circle at Carahunge is proof that Armenia’s civilization predates the Egyptians and Sumerians by 2,500 years.

“There are magnificent buildings in the world – the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, wonderful temples in South American rainforests, which were created at least 6-15,000 years ago. Who are their authors? The world doesn’t know,” he says.

“Scientists find that all of those are the result of a developed culture, but they don’t know where that culture came from. This book gives an answer: Carahunge explains that 7,500 years ago Armenians possessed a stable and extensive knowledge. They knew that the Earth was round, knew its sizes. They knew that the Earth is rotating around its axis, as well as the laws of the movement of the cone-shaped axis, known as precession.”

Every year since 1994 Herouni has organized scientific expeditions at his own expense to study Carahunge, which is situated near the town of Sisian, 200 kilometers south-east of Yerevan. It is made up of hundreds of vertically standing stones of which 223 were numerated by Herouni’s scientific expedition. Of these, 84 stones have holes measuring 4-5 centimeters in diameter and prepared with care, pointing in different directions. Carahunge consists of 80 stone telescopic tools, which have preserved their precision. Herouni says that one can use them for work even today.

“By the precession laws of the Earth’s axis, using four telescopic methods, I calculated Carahunge’s age. It turned out to be 7,500 years old. This figure always terribly surprises everyone, because the most ancient civilization is believed by historians to have begun 5,000 years ago, and Carahunge had already a developed civilization some 2,500 years before that,” he says. After making his research and calculations, in 1999 the scientist got in touch with Prof. G. S. Hawkins in Washington, who is regarded as the world’s foremost specialist on stone monuments. Hawkins has been involved in studies of Stonehenge for all his life.

Herouni says that he was particularly interested in Hawkins’ opinion and soon he got the professor’s conclusion: “I admire the precise calculations you have made.” Hawkins acknowledges that Carahunge is 7,500 years old. “I am most impressed with the careful work you have done, and hope that the result will ultimately get recorded in literature,” Hawkins wrote in his letter.

Carahunge is 3,500 years older than England’s Stonehenge and 3,000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. The total area of the observatory is 7 hectares. According to the scientist’s findings, a temple consisting of 40 stones built in honor of the Armenians’ main God, Ari, meaning the Sun, is situated in the central part of Carahunge. Besides the temple, it had a large and developed observatory, and also a university that makes up the temple’s wings.

Herouni shows photographs shot from a helicopter and says: “This is the central circle with 40 stones, which are without holes, these are the southern and northern wings. Soon this territory will be fenced and will be turned into a museum. Carahunge is situated at a height of nearly 1,750 meters, in a plane area.”

The stones of Carahunge are made of basalt. Each of them weighs up to 10 tons. Those stones without holes make up one tool together with those having holes in them. Over millenniums the stones became worn and grown over with thick layers of moss. However, Herouni says that the holes have been rather well preserved since they were cleanly processed once. The holes are telescopic tools that look at different points on the horizon.

Showing the photographs, Herouni explains in detail: “Often you look through holes at some point of the zenith and see nothing, but in the past according to the law of precession, a star rose or passed through there. Knowing the laws of precession, I set forth formulas in my book and knowing today’s positions of the stars, their coordinates, I count back and see that once a star appeared or went down from that same place. It is those calculations that allow me to decide the age.”

He says that the brightest star of the constellation of the Swan, Alfa, whose name is Deneb, passed through Carahunge’s zenith 7,630 years ago. Carahunge’s scientists had enough time both to build tools and work with them. And to achieve all that, they had already gone the way of sufficient development. According to Herouni, when Armenia embraced Christianity, Carahunge had already operated for 5,800 years.

“The observatory’s scientists knew the planets of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. They knew about the solar system 6,000 years before Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Newton. Carahunge proves that 7,500 years ago mathematics, technologies, a form of written language were developed in Armenia, as well as a state with a thousand-year-long history, with laws and order,” says Herouni.

Carahunge literally means sounding stones. The scientist is convinced that they had a lot to say to people and continue to say today. Herouni explains that the “ch” phoneme gradually changed into “j”. He also says that there is a similarity in the names of the observatories of Stonehenge in England and Calenish in Scotland.

Herouni himself named the observatory Carahunge in 1994. Carahunge village is situated 30 kilometers from the observatory near the town of Goris. There are two Carahunge villages also in Artsakh and Herouni has started to research the origin of the villages’ names.

“I understood that when Armenia embraced Christianity, when temples were being ruined, monuments were being destroyed and books were being burned, people barely had time to run away and so they founded villages with similar names in remote places,” he says.

“In Carahunge many stones are broken, uprooted. There are also many standing stones, some of the holes of which are broken, there are half-finished tools. It can be felt that they suddenly stopped the work.”

It is mentioned in the book that besides Carahunge Armenians also had standing stones near the large village of Kaghzvan situated in Turkey to the west of Mount Ararat, again with holes, which bore pre-Christian crosses on them. Herouni got the photographs of the stones from his Dutch friends, who had climbed Mount Ararat.

The book “Armenians and Old Armenia” consists of three parts. The first is Carahunge, the second is devoted to the analysis of the Armenian language, and the third part is the history of Armenia beginning from the 40,000th year up to the adoption of Christianity. The book is published in 2,000 copies, most of which are sent abroad. Herouni finds that restoring Armenian history means restoring the authenticity of the world’s history.

Paris Herouni has quite serious scientific achievements in the main scientific directions – in the spheres of radio-physics, radio-engineering, radio-astronomy. Herouni’s scientific trends are recognized and are being applied in developed countries.