Uzbek locals led the Polish archaeologists of Warsaw University to a myriad of ibexes, deer, dogs and wolves carved in stone, the oldest of which date back to 1,500 BC.
“We were informed by the local population that stone carvings were visible at a location close to our excavation site. We decided to check it out,” said Małgorzata Kot, the head of the archaeological mission, adding that “the message turned out to be true. The number of stone carvings is huge. They were not known about by scientists until now.”
The past was set in stone higher than 2,500 MAMSL on the sides of the Kyzyldara valley in Uzbekistan – a location very difficult to access. The stone carvings, also known as petroglyphs, can be seen on large flat rocks scattered over a dozen-meter wide area on the valley side.
“The carvings possibly depict Siberian ibexes – the largest ibexes to walk on Planet Earth, currently featured on the endangered species’ list,” said one of the archaeologists, adding that during the two days they spent on the site they found so many of the petroglyphs that they could not have taken a closer look at all of them. Therefore the scientists plan on returning to the location no later than in a year’s time and document the remaining images using kites among other pieces of equipment.
The archaeologists were in no position to provide a well-founded explanation as to the purpose of the petroglyphs just yet. “Perhaps they were linked to the magic of the hunt. Still, the range of interpretation is vast,” said an archaeologist.
Some of the ibexes’ horns are very coiled to the extent that they form nearly closed circles with a cross or web symbols at times placed within. According to researchers, the signs could relate to solar symbolism or trance-like states of mind. Apart from the oldest carvings dating back to 1,500 BC, petroglyphs dating to medieval times were also discovered.