Stonehenge in England, the Hunebeddens in Holland and the pyramids of Egypt are known throughout the world. All these ancient stone monuments have survived to the present day. The similar antiquities can be found in Caucasus as well.
Dolmens remained an unsolved mystery for scientists for a long time. The theories of how they came to be were very diverse – from ‘dwarf houses’ to ‘energy portals’. Today there is only one answer to this question: they are ancient tombs to bury the dead. Archaeologists put their age at 4000 to 6,000 years old, based on pottery found in the vicinity of the dolmens, as well as human remains, but there is no way to prove whether these were put there much later.
Unique Caucasian dolmens represent a rare type of prehistoric architecture, built with precisely dressed cyclopic stone blocks. The stones were, for example, shaped into 90-degree angles, to be used as corners, and all of them are punctuated with a portal in the centre of the facade. While round holes are the most common, square ones have also been found. Stone plugs have been found at almost every tomb, and were used to block the portal at the front.
Nearly 3,000 of these megalithic monuments are known in the Western Caucasus, but more are constantly being found on. The average weight of each structure is from 15 to 30 tons, yet there is not even the slightest trace of a quarry in the Western Caucasus, nor have any paths been found with evidence of heavy loads having been brought to the build site. The construction itself is also awe-inspiring. Within most of the dolmens, the huge stone plates join each other precisely with specially made grooves. The joint places are so close in places that it is impossible to even slide a knife blade between the plates.
Excavations of the dolmens revealed much that was interesting: paste beads (made from a mixture of different materials, similar to clay), clay items and bronze daggers.
It’s still remains a big mystery – who were these people who achieved such precision in construction? According to the Vladimir Markovin, an archaeologist who has devoted much of his life to studying the Caucasian dolmens, the people of the time lived in mud huts, had no knowledge of iron or the pottery wheel, and cultivated land with hoes. Yet they still had constructions, whose design is impressive, even by modern standards.