Karahundj

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Karahundj 2: Uncovering the Site: Archeology. Uncovering the Site: Astronomy.

Uncovering the Site: Archeology

Thirty years of study have been focused on the stones at Karahundj, beginning in the 1980's during excavations that uncovered megalithic tombs and a Bronze/Iron Age community at the site. Before then, the site was not much more than a curiosity, though in the 19th century it was endowed with fertility powers.

Most historians agree the standing stones at Karahundj have some connection with religious worship.

Excavations of the site were implemented by the National Academy of Armenia Institute for Archeology and Ethnography (expedition leader, Archeologist and Doctor of Historic Sciences Onnik Khnkikyan) in the 1980s and uncovered a vast trove of archeological finds.
His research contests some claims that the site was built in the 1st millennium BCE and that the stones were solely decorative or that their perforated holes were used to drag the stones into place with animals, pointing out that the holes are at the thinnest part of the stones, making them impractical for hauling massive weight and that there was no real reason for them to be used simply for positioning, which could have been done much faster by human effort and a piece of rope. Khnkikyan also noted that a number of the stones were positioned in a way that when looking through their holes your gaze is fixed on points in the sky.

Uncovering the Site: Astronomy

The astrophysicist Elma Parsamian conducted the first astronomical study of Karahundj in 1983. This was followed in 1987 by a second study with her colleague Alexander Barseghian. Working at nights, the researchers concluded that the ensemble was used in part to scan the night sky, noting the numerous 'eye-holes' in 84 of the stones.

Parsamian was immediately struck by the overall design and the number of stones at the sight. She concluded the stones were a particular kind of telescopic instrument, noting that stones on the Western side of the complex had "antsker" (eye-holes), and that many pointed to specific points on the horizon and the sky.

Later investigations of the site were made by a variety of researchers—amateur and professional—including a series led by Professor Paris Heruni of the Radiophysics Research Institute. Heruni claimed the site was established as an observatory 7,500 years ago. This claim is not universally accepted but has created a lively discussion about the exact origins of the site.