By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijan Minister of Culture Abulfas Garayev got acquainted with the archeological works carried out at Avey State Historical and Cultural Reserve in Gazakh region.
The Ministry told about the archeological work carried out in the reserve.
In 2015, at the initiative of the Ministry, a large delegation led by Professor at the University of Tokyo Yoshihiro Nishiaki was invited to conduct exploration searches at the foothills of Avey.
A tripartite international memorandum was signed to explore the world-wide archaeological heritage complex, including Damjili cave, around the Dameyli cave camp, on the Mount Avey, after relevant searches by Japanese experts.
The memorandum was concluded by the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan "Avey" State Historical-Cultural Reserve, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Tokyo University Museum.
The aim of the international expedition is to prove that the area is an ancient human settlement, and to obtain material evidence from the Neolithic era.
Archeological excavations have been started in August 2016 at Damjili cave camp o, located in the Avey Reserve. Exploratory excavations were carried out in 10 different directions.
Neolithic ruins, hearth places, bones, samples dating the late Middle Paleolithic have been discovered at the depth of 4 meters.
Research has been carried out at Japanese laboratories to determine the periods of material culture found in Damjili.
Having familiarized with archaeological excavations, Garayev gave instructions and recommendations for further strengthening of reserve activity, continuation of further researches.
Damjili is the largest of the 30 caves of the Stone Age discovered on the territory of Gazakh region in mid 1950s.
Located at the foot of mount Avey, its area is about 460 square meters and the height is four meters. Damjili cave is the biggest cave among Avey Mountain caves.
The cave, opened in 1953 by Azerbaijani scientists Mahammadali Huseynov, is the first monument of the Stone Age discovered in Azerbaijan. It also has similarities with the ancient settlement of Goytepe of the Neolithic period, which is located in the neighboring Tovuz region.
The front side of the cave has been destroyed. The height of the cave's rear side is 4 m (13.1 ft).
A number of various stone tools, arrowheads, flint knives, bones of animals have been discovered during the excavations.
Traces of ochre were found in a grotto of the cave. The sediment layers, in which the ochre was found are mixed with more tardy ones which suggests that the use ochre dates back to the Mousterian culture.
Avey Mountain is one of the peaks in the Small Caucasus Mountains located between Georgia and Gazakh region.
There is an ancient Albanian temple on the top of the mountain. The word Avey is interpreted as a lunar house. "Ay" means "moon" and "ev" - "house", Avey - "house of the moon". Currently, access to the area is limited due to the proximity to front line.
Many temples, old settlements, ancient graveyards and about 30 artificial caves from Paleolithic times have been discovered on the slopes of the mountain. For this reason, the State Historical and Cultural Reserve Avey was set up here in 1989. Damjili cave is also one of the main sites of the reserve.
Another interesting point about Damjili cave is a spring with the same name. Azerbaijani poet Samad Vurghun once said that Damjili Spring is the 8th miracle of the world and the 1st one of Azerbaijan.
Spring trickles down from the flinty ceiling of the cave through narrow rocky splits. Water drops dripping from huge 1,000 metre high rocks put you into a magical world of sounds.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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