By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan is one of first sites of prehistoric humans’ habitations. Pioneers of survival were living in the territory of modern Karabakh, Nakhchivan, Gazakh, Kalbajar, Yardimli regions hundred thousands years ago. Azykh Cave is located in Karabakh region.
Azykh cave is located 14 km. north-west of the city of Fizuli, near the village of Azykh, on the left bank of the Guruchay river, at an altitude of 900 meters from sea level. The area of the Azykh cave is 800 square meters. km.
In 1960, "Palaeolithic Archaeological Expedition" of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Mammadali Huseynov discovered the Azykh cave. In 1968, the expedition found a Neanderthal-like jaw bone of an ancient man. Studies of this fragment of the jaw showed that the age of the finding is 350-400 thousand years, making it one of the oldest proto-human remains found in the world.
Scientists believe that the bone belongs to a girl of about 18 years old. This age was considered old for that period, as average life expectancy was 20-22 years.
There are 10 layers in Azykh Cave. During the archaeological excavation of the first layer, clay dishes belonging to medieval times were found. During the archaeological excavations carried out in 1962-1965, parts of clay dishes belonging to the Middle Ages, Bronze Age and Eneolithic period were found.
Archaeologists have suggested that the findings from the lowest layers are of a pre-Acheulean culture (730,000 to 1,800,000 years ago), that resembles the Olduwan culture named after Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge in many respects.
These lowest layers were full of bear bones. There were scratches on the bear’s skull, which were considered elements of the primitive art of man. The skulls of the bears were hidden in a secluded place in the cave. Presumably, this is due to the beliefs of a primitive man. The name of the cave is also associated with this, as "Azykh" in the ancient Turks means "bear".
People lived in the cave until the last glaciation, during which they were forced to leave the area.
In the cave, archaeologists found the bones of various prehistoric animals - cave bears, saber-toothed tigers and several others; as well as primitive stone tools - rough scrapes, various pebble tools, etc.
Unfortunately, since 1993, the territory on which the Azykh cave is located is under Armenian occupation.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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