The Riddle of “Stone Roads”

It is well known that Azerbaijan, situated in a sense of a geographic triangle between Great and Small Caucasus and Caspian Sea, is a unique region, still maintaining traces of ancient civilizations of our planet. However, no matter how many scientific articles were devoted to the history of this ancient land, it continues to surprise us with new discoveries, and sometimes mysteries, to understand which it is required at times to combine efforts of researchers from different countries.

One of such riddles was presented by discovery of “stone roads” on the Apsheron peninsula. The “stone roads” presented by parallel furrows or grooves made in the rocky surface. The furrows are clearly manmade. Each of such “roads” consists of 2-3 (in some cases up to 5) furrows having depth from 5 to 50 cm. These ancient “tracks” can be met on Apsheron peninsula at several places – between Turkan and Hovsan villages and next to Surakhani, Gala and Dubendi settlements. The “stone roads” existing on the Beyuk Zire (former Nargin) island in the Baku bay were mentioned by the famous researcher of Baku Sara Ashurbeily. Most of the “roads” were destroyed with time; extant portions stretch up to 100 meters and most of them directed to the Caspian Sea.

To understand more completely the meaning of the recent discovery we have to draw our attention to the Mediterranean region. The matter is that it was well known about the “stone roads” or "cart ruts" in such countries like Malta, Greece, Italy and also in France, where the “furrows” can be met at some places along the south coast line of the country. Having paid more careful attention on this phenomenon, scientists from these countries came recently to conclusion that such parallel furrows in the rock bed could not be made, as it was thought before, by wheels of carts scurrying about over the rocky outcrops precisely along the same lines with a split-hair accuracy. Besides, the “roads” run in close proximity to the ancient quarries.

Discussions around different theories that have been put forward in this respect will take probably several pages, but as the saying runs it is better to seen once… On pictures taken at the Apsheron peninsula relatively not far from the from Baku, between Turkan and Hovsan settlements, one can see the same “furrows” as in Malta and other Mediterranean countries, where they have become tourist attractions.

"Stone roads" (cart ruts) from Malta

"Stone roads" from Apsheron

Complete similarity of Apsheron’s findings with Mediterranean’s was confirmed by specialists from Malta, which is a kind of a reserve of “stone roads” and the biggest number of investigations in this field was made in this country. Moreover, there it is quite probable that “furrows” from Apsheron may appear of the same age as Mediterranean’s, but Maltese researchers dated their “roads” by circa 4 – 5 000 BC!

This is actually the essence of the riddle newly brought to light – how could appear the identical monument on sites separated from each other by thousands of kilometers? What was the real purpose of these “stone roads”? Why in both cases the “roads” directed to sea and their continuation can be observed even on the sea bottom? What is concealed in the depths of Mediterranean and Caspian seas?

If the “furrows” are heritage of an ancient, probably once a common civilization, influencing enough to leave similar traces on such enormous territory, then it would be quite reasonable to presume, that they may be hidden somewhere between Mediterranean and Caspian, for example around Black and Azov seas. More and more scientists show interest to the finding made at the Apsheron peninsula and it looks like the debates around the “stone roads”, their dating and purpose will flare up with new force.

Abbas Islamov, Faig Nasibov


Cart ruts on the Apsheron peninsula (in Turkan)

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