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15 February 2009
Armenian links to Stonehenge explored

The story of Stonehenge and the mystery that surrounds it is familiar to most Salisbury residents, but one man has come to the city to tell people about an ancient circle of standing stones which pre-dates even Wiltshire's World Heritage site. Vardan Levoni Tadevosyan is an Armenian/Spanish historian who visited Salisbury last week to raise the profile of Karahunj, dubbed the Armenian Stonehenge.
     Karahunj, meaning 'speaking stones', is also known as Zorats Karer and is located 200km from the Armenian capital Yerevan. It is a huge megalithic monument, the largest of a dozen such types in the area, and is a combination of early-mid Bronze Age burial shafts and a large collection of standing stones (223 have been counted to date). The stones form an egg shape around a Bronze Age tomb and four avenues off the central part. First studied by the archeo-astronomist Elma Parsamian of the Biurakan Observatory in the 1980s, the site became the focus of a series of Armenian and International study via the Armenian astro-physicist and astronomer Paris Heruni, creator of the first radio-optical telescope in the world, which focused on the placement of the stones and the carvings of eye-holes in a number of them. Using azimuth positions, precession and the position of stars seen from the site over time, Heruni and a team of French, German and English astronomers claim the site may date back to 5100 BCE. The astrophysicist Gerald Hawkins supported this conclusion in response to the team's findings and noted its similarities to Stonehenge and Callanish.
     Mr Tadevosyan says that in neolithic times the Armenians were much more advanced than most other cultures. A carving found on rocks near Lake Sevan showed they knew the world was round, they could accurately measure latitude, and they were already skilled in astronomy, archaeology and engineering. He believes the earliest population of Britain, who came from Armenia, brought the ideas of Karahunj to Europe with them and played some part in the creation of Stonehenge and other European sites. He plans to put together a leaflet about Karahunj that can be available to the public at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and curator Adrian Green said he would be happy to display leaflets about the ancient site.

Sources: Salisbury Journal, Wikipedia (9 February 2009)

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