The Republic of Khakassia is located in south-central Siberia and is an archaeological mecca replete with megalithic stone monuments, rock engravings and ancient burial mounds dating back to the pre-agricultural Upper Palaeolithic period (50,000 to 10,000 years ago).
The region also includes the mountain ridge Sunduki (the Boxes) along with stone monuments at their peaks, which many archaeoastronomers believe was once the stargazing capital of the ancient world. One such scientist is Professor Vitaly Larichev who has been studying the area for years and recently discussed some of his findings. As Larichev explains:
“..here in Sunduki, we can see the oldest astronomical observatory certainly in Asia. Its age is about 16,000 years old. The ancient inhabitants of this valley daily observed the sunset, the sunrise and the moon.”
The professor believes these ancient Siberians were able to use a combination of giant rocks and chinks in the stony landscape to make their astronomical observations, including identifying a point where the sun rises on the summer solstice.
According to Professor Vitaly Larichev, these ancient Siberian astronomers could also tell time and direction easily, and referring to a petroglyph depicting a dragon pointing in one direction, and snake in the other, explains:
“If the sun were shining, we could tell the time. In the morning the shadow moves along the snake’s body from his head to his tail, and in the afternoon it comes from the other direction along the dragon. From the same observation point you can determine true north and south by sighting along the mountains.”
It is no wonder the area is called the Siberian Stonehenge, and archaeological digs are still continuing to unearth kurgans (burial mounds), rock drawings, and stone monuments in every part of this rugged, but beautiful region.