A JOURNEY TO THE PAST - GEMIGAYA IN NAKHCHIVAN
More than 1500 carved rock images/ Petroglyphs from the 4th-1st millennia BC at Gamigaya-Nakhchivan
Gamigaya rock carvings date to the 4th-1st millennia BC locate in the territory of Ordubad Region, not far from Nasirvaz village of Ordubad region close to Armenian border. Gamigaya rock carvings (petroglyphs) are mostly in southwest hills of Jamisholan, Garangush flats in Gapijig mountain peak, 3907 meter from the sea level and is one of the summits of the Lesser Caucasus, in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The main area where the Gamigaya drawings are located is Garangush flat. The illustrations, which are located on gray and black parts of cliffs, are mainly in pink view. The locations of drawings are topographically very complicated. The on rock illustrations are in-group shape and they are mainly located on the nearby distance of water sources. We can encounter the likely groups in 5-6 places on the northeast part of Dali bulag. There have been found about 1500 punched out and carved rock images of deer, goats, big-horned bulls, cow ,dogs, snakes, birds, horses, leopards, birds, carts ,fantastic beings and also people, carriages and various symbols at Gamigaya.
Many of these images were fixed not far from springs, in the territory of Garangush plateau. Images of dancing people were carved schematically. Single, pair and group images can also be found there. Images of goats pointing to that, goats took a main place in cattle-breeding life of local population of that time. The common features on these cultural remains indicate that the Gamigaya drawings were done by settled tribes engaged in agriculture and cattle-breeding in Bronze Age Nakchivan.
There are many carvings of interesting composition on Gamigaya, reflecting the religious beliefs of the ancient population. The pictures also reveal an interest by these tribes
Ideas related to worship of the sun, moon and stars are reflected in the use of circles, crescents and fylfot (swastika) – symbolic of celestial bodies and the sky.
At Gamigaya many rocks have pictures of snakes depicted singly, in pairs and as compositions. The snake was then a totem of belief. Men are depicted at Gamigaya singly, in scenes of battle, hunting, dancing and also in certain compositions with various pictograms. Images of saddles and draught animal (a bull, a horse), as well as cart-like vehicles in the Gamigaya pictures, indicate that various carrying devices were used in ancient times here. Several rocks at the summer settlement of Garangush are inscribed with carvings of four-wheeled horse carts. A two-wheel cart is oval in form with five-spoke wheels. Two horses are harnessed to the cart.
The origins of an alphabets/symbols used at Gamigaya
Some symbols carved at Gamigaya are very similar in the ancient Orchon-Yenisei Turkish alphabet. Thus we may conclude that the Gamigaya petroglyphs were carved by tribes of Turkish origin which inhabited the territory between the 4th and 1st millennia B.C. The Orchon-Yenisei alphabet was probably developed gradually from the pictograms of earlier Proto-Turkic tribes.
The pictographic characters at Gamigaya do not duplicate each other in their plots. However, the same symbols were used in different compositions, thus a range of special symbols was used in compiling separate ‘texts’.
Perhaps the rock paintings and pictographic texts were carved by shamans who played a leading role in forming and spreading religious and ideological attitudes towards their environment. We can compare Gamigaya rock paintings and pictographic texts with the ancient Sumerian The Epic of Gilgamesh in Mesopotamia. While comparing artifacts found in those two ancient settlements we can see that after world flood both civilization/tribes shared the similar mythological stories:, used similar alphabets/petroglyphs, pictographic symbols (pictograms), CUNEIFORM scripts for describing their daily life.
There are a lot toponymies related with the epic of Gilgamesh in Nakhchivan area and these toponymies help us to say that these two ancient centers of civilization had very close relationship:
The Name of the region we live: Nakhchivan (Noah Jahan, means Land of Noah) is related with the name of historical king of the Sumerian city – Utnapishtim (NOAH). Described in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. NOAH (Utnapishtim) is a friend of Gilgamesh who build a ship before Flood (GREAT DELUGE).
The name of the city Kharaba Gilan: dating Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age survived till the end of XII-XII century “KHARABA GILAN“ located not far from Ordubad city also related with the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.