October 20, 2012
Did you know that there is a special field in modern science called “archaeo-astronomy?”
Of course you did. And so did I.
Who are the archeologists who decipher the astronomical and mathematical functions of Machu Picchu in Peru, or Chichen Itza in Mexico, or Stonehenge in England, or Karnak in Egypt? Why archaeo-astronomers, of course!
Now I’m no scientist. I’m just a traveler who likes to see the sights. So when I read about Zarats Karer in southern Armenia, I made a slight detour at Sisian.
Actually, Zarats Karer is two sites. What remains are two circles of large stones. Several of the tall stone columns have drawings of animals and hunters. Other columns have holes in the top that astronomers have determined were celestial observatories.
In fact, some Armenian scientists, and even the shepherds I met, refer to this site as the “Stonehenge of Armenia.”
Zarats Karer lacks the grandeur of Stonehenge, the enormity of Chichen Itza, the mystery of Machu Picchu, and the elegance of Karnak. Yet the site provides ample evidence that here in Armenia, 7500 years ago, artists were at work and astronomer-scientists plotted the sun and the stars.
I was pleased that I plotted my own path here. Except for the sheep and the shepherds and a young couple from Poland, I was alone at the site. No kiosks, no souvenir stands, no nothing. Only the proud, ancient instruments of astronomy and the timeless, silent view from the hilltop to the mountains beyond.
Opting for detours,