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15.08.2011 21:47
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The Irish Twin Cities

This year Murmansk celebrates its 95 birthday, Kirovsk will be 80 years old and Apatity 45. But many of us have never thought that the northern lands have been inhabited more then 5000 years ago, long before the Egyptian pyramids have appeared!

Fairy’s root doesn’t leak

In July I managed to see one of the wonders of the world that is 50 km north of Dublin (Ireland). There are three Europe largest megalithic complexes UNESCO takes care of: New Grange, Knowth and Daut. These huge structures-dolmens with a diameter of 60-85 m and a height of 17 meters, built of stones, top covered with soil and white quartz pebbles, attract tourists’ attention from all over the world not accidentally. They look like flying saucers that have just landed!

Like many other ancient sites with rock paintings (Knowth barrow was created in about 3000 BC, that is five centuries before the Egyptian pyramids have apperad), New Grange was opened only a few decades ago; as for visitors, they obtained admittance only in the early 2000s . The latter does not mean that the Irish did not see the "UFO" before. The descendants of the Celts, leaving nearby, from generation to generation have been believing hat those houses were magical ones or "fairy" (we, Russians, know this word because of dishwashing tool). People believed that fairies do not have to be disturbed, otherwise the magic creatures could corrupt failure for the whole family.

Only in 1963, in the course of archaeological excavations Professor O 'Kelly  has found there the world's largest collection of rock paintings. The images were carved on the huge stones that ancient people were taken from the mountains that are 70 kilometers away. That was a real problem! Celtic engineers have surpassed us in several aspects: the roofs of their buildings didn’t miss a drop of water for five thousand years, and the entrance to the New Grange is designed in special manner - once a year, at a dawn on December 21, the winter solstice, a thin ray of sunshine penetrates into the barrow for a few minutes and illuminates the ancient mound altar.

Do not jump to conclusions

The winter’s solstice was one of the most important moments in the annual cycles of Neolithic cultures. The winter solstice meant the beginning of new life and renewal of nature both for the Slavs and other Europe nations. The nature of New Grange dolmens is still a miracle: people don’t’ know whether they act as solar calendars, or were used by druids for their religious rituals.
Learning the monuments of that kind, archaeologists and historians are particularly careful and do not hurry to make conclusions, when there are no written evidences of what has happened. Today visitors of New Grange are asked to write down on peace of paper his or her version of the rock paintings’ mysterious appearances and to throw the version in a special box. That is the way researchers hope to find new versions for the decryption of all of these spirals, zigzags and mazes.

Our countryman, a mining engineer and anthropologist Vadim Likhachev is seriously keen on miracles of so-called before pyramidal era. Vadim participated in numerous expeditions to Kanozera, organized by Kola archaeological expedition IHMC RAS; he is also the author of articles and television series about the rock images of Kanozera on TV "Murman". Recently, in June, he has published his book "Images of Kanozera."
- Petroglyphs of Kanozera count about 6000 years, - says Vadim. – According to some versions, the images were used as an observatory, as well as hunting magic, shamanic rituals, rites of initiation, calendar or proto-writing ... If we see the image of sea hunting, it does not mean that a person went hunting and then he fixed his trip. The image can be a part of the mythological narrative and a part of the description of the spirit world where ancestors go (the world of "eternal hunt"), and much more...

The process of finding the meaning ​​of an image includes an analysis of the different senses and their dependence on each other: that is the only way we can understand not an image itself, but at least the development of philosophy of ancient artists. In my next book I'm working on I will write about these themes and their reflection in the cave paintings of the Kola Peninsula, Karelia and Scandinavia in more details.

We all came from Africa…

Although all researchers are educated people, they treat their findings as a miracle. The discovery itself of the petroglyphs in Kanozere, the place that is actively visited (a tourist water route takes a place there), is unbelievable. The most amazing thing about the petroglyphs is not theirs safety. Several styles of rock art, previously known from findings in Sweden, Norway, Karelia (White Sea and Onega petroglyphs) united on Kanozere. The motifs and themes of the images are amazing: continuation of the species, marine hunting, bear and moose hunting, and various images of the "gods" and "shaman." The place was treated cult for thousands of years... 

Scientists have always been telling that the first humans appeared in Africa. But the discoveries of recent decades show that the northern regions of Europe also hide a long history of human civilization. I asked Vadim Likhachev, could first people come from Europe too? 
- No, - he said. - Genetic data accurately define the place of human origins in Africa, there is nothing to argue about. But a man inhabited Europe long time ago: there are Paleolithic parking places, dating back to tens of thousand years... 

It was the student who has discovered the mystery of Kanozera

During pre-Christian era people in different parts of the world had a remarkable knowledge of astronomy and worshiped the sun in Africa or in Europe. The most recent discovery in this area is the "Observatory" of Gozeks, which excavations began in the German region of Saxony-Anhalt in 2003. Unusual concentric structure with a diameter of 75 meters served to people of Neolithic era as sanctuary, where day of the winter solstice was fixed. German center of the solar cult is about five thousand years old.

The rock paintings of Kanozera were discovered on the 5th of July, 1997 by Yuri Ivanov, an out-of-stuff worker of Revda local history museum and a student of the historical department of Murmansk Pedagogical Institute. To confirm the authenticity of images a second expedition was organized in the October, 1997. Since then a group of enthusiasts has been involved in the study and preservation of the petroglyphs. Vadim Likhachev wrote the book "Images of Kanozera" as a result of 12 years work on gathering materials. The book tells his countrymen about the treasures of an ancient civilization that existed on the territory of Murmansk region 6000 years ago. Thanks to Kola Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Kola archaeological expedition IHMC RAS ​​and Kola Environment Center the book was published in a proper way and was richly illustrated. There are a lot of schemes, cards and many interesting historical facts. The book is freely distributed to museums and libraries of Murmansk region and to public organizations related to conservation and preservation of cultural heritage.

But coming back to Ireland we see that the giant "flying saucers" of New Grange have acquired an excellent infrastructure in the short term: there are cafes, bookshops and souvenir shops, museum, cinema for historical video excursions, walking area, a tourist center with its own fleet and guides. Every hour tourists come by buses, and the locals happy of that fact. Will you say it’s all for the sake of commerce? Not without, of course. But the major part of money is spent on maintaining the unique site and on continuing the research. Anyone may object saying that is impossible. (Although stores have been selling plates and cups depicting figures of Kanozera for three years). What do you think?


Автор DNK

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