Azykh Cave

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Entrance to the cave.

The Azykh Cave (Azerbaijani: Azıx mağarası, Armenian: Ազոխ Azokh) is a six-cave complex known as a living site of stone-age man. It lies near to the village of Azokh in Nagorno-Karabakh (de facto Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, de jure Azerbaijan).

Discovered by "Paleolithic Archaeological Expedition" of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Mammadali Huseynov in 1960. The cave is considered to be the site of one of the most ancient proto-human habitations in Eurasia. A Neanderthal-style jaw bone found in 1968 is thought to be over 300,000 years old and thus one of the oldest proto-human remains found in this part of the world. Its discovery gave rise to the term Azykh Man.

Archaeologists have suggested that the finds in the lowest layers of the cave are of a pre-Acheulean culture, one of the world's oldest (730,00-1,500,000 years) and in many ways similar to the Olduwan culture in Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge and the culture which produced the famous Lascaux cave in southeastern France.

Excavations ongoing inside the cave in 2009.

The poor quality of the 1960s excavations led to uncertainty over the chronological position of the layers.[1] Excavations resumed in the mid 1990s. In 2002 an international research team headed by Tanya King discovered undisturbed entrances to the cave as well as fauna and stone tools.[2] The cave is now considered to have housed some of the earliest habitats of proto-humans in Eurasia. While little in the way of human remains have been discovered, evidence shows that the area was occupied by hominids over a period of nearly two million years.[3]

See also[edit]

  • Janapar - hiking trail that passes by Azykh Cave


  1. ^ V. Doronichev, "The Lower Paleolithic in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: A Reappraisal of the Data and New Approaches" in PaleoAnthropology 2008, p147.
  2. ^ Exploration and Survey of Pleistocene Hominid Sites in Armenia and Karabagh
  3. ^ Quaternary Deposits at the Lesser Caucasus, The Armenian Corridor