Boundless is the Ukrainian steppe...
But it has its own particular tokens, too. Not
far from the city of Melitopol is the valley of the Molochna River spreads the
large stone island. The people have called it the Stone Grave.
From the geological and historical points of view
the Stone Grave is a relic of sandstone from the Sarmatian Sea (14–12 million
years old) and the unique underground "Hermitage", where there are numerous
pictures (petroglyphs) of the ancient people in its grottes and caves. These
petroglyphs are dated from the Epoch of Late Paleolithic till the Bronze Age and
later period of time.
The big Stone Grave in the steppe attracted
people as an unusual fantastic phenomenon. Their minds, most probably, were
troubled by the question: how could this grave appear in the sunburnt steppe?
That is why the primitive people idolized this hill and turned it into a place
for the performance of religious rites. They called this steppe phenomenon
"Shoo-Noon" - "The Hill of Spirits" (translation from Sumer language).
Situated on the ceilings of grottoes and caves
and on numerous stone slab - concretions, the drawings of the Late Paleolithic (the
Late Stone Age) are of particular interest. The ancient artists and hunters
depicted mammoths, bisons, cavelions, birds etc. The cold-loving fauna,
characteristic for preglacial zone of Eastern Europe, is represented in pet-roglyphs
of the Stone Grave. Some representatives of this fauna were "objects" of worship
and idealization. A lot of drawings were performed in "superposition", that is
when from one figure of an animal the other animal stands put. Perhaps, it is
connected with the idea of an ancient man about "a multitude" of animal - totem*.
The grotto "Mysteries" is of great interest, too.
The scientists discovered the drawings of anthropomorphic figures standing in
the circle in a dance. In the centre there is the figure of a sorcerer with the
mask of a bear. There are mammoths, bears and deers near him... However the
figures of people and animals are shown in a static poses as if they were
stopped at times... These petro-glyphs date back to the XVI–XV millennium B. C.
Rise of temperature in Europe connected with the
retreat of a glacial cover to the North, led to a sharp change in the climate
and surrounding. Qualitatively new climate, close to our contemporary one,
replaced cold and severe climate. Completely new kinds of animals took place of
Pleistocene fauna. For example, when mammoth and bison died out wild bull
At the Epoch of the Mesolithic (XII-VII
millennium B. C.) bull, deer, goat, dog and, of course, archers became the
objects of artistic reproduction on the stone. Archers are shown in dynamic
poses. They have some analogues in Spain (Levanto).
Let's talk about one of artistic "canvases" of
the "Goat" cave. In the depth of the cave the scientists discovered the slab
representing a hunter in the mask of a deer with a bow in his hand. He is
hunting a goat. Another goat is near, but it is already in the pen. It is
clearly connected with domestication of this animal. As we can see, the
described topic convinces us that cattle-breeding in the South-East of Europe
appeared on the base of rounding-up hunting. Discovered in the settlement near
the Stone Grave, bones of 48 domestic goats and fragments of 3 dogs reaffirm it.
These petro-glyphs date back to the IX–VII millennium B. C.
On the North-Western slope of the Stone Grave in
the "Arthemida" cave the petroglyphs of the Epoch of Neolithic (New Stone Age,
VI–IV millennium B. C.) are represented. The ancient artist created the image of
two figures of bulls. There are horns of a young deer on the head of the goddess
and we can see a deer and three water-fowl near by.
Later in ancient Greek mythology the image of the
woman-goddess-hunter Arthemida will become classical and widely honoured. Due to
the grottoes and caves of the Stone Grave there were found numerous talismans
with engravings on them. The talisman "Fish" with heads on both sides deserves
special attention. According to the ideas of ancient people "the stone fish
swallowed the sun by one mouth and let it out to the sky space from the other
In the Epoch of the Eneolithic - the Early Bronze
Age (IV–III millennium B. C.) there was the splash of the symbolic primeval art
when the Indo-European tribes (Aryans) started moving along the South Steppe of
nowadays Ukraine from the East in the direction of West Europe.
In grottoes and caves of the unique hill there
were created numerous altars in front of which ancient cattle-breeders-nomads
and farmers performed religious rituals. They placed numerous symbols and
realistic drawings on the ceilings and cornices: bulls, goats, horses, chariots
and so on.
In one of the main grottos "The bull" grotto,
there is a picture of the huge bull with a trunk. The animal is standing in the
pose of hunting. This symbol was widely honoured in distant Sumer (Mesopotamia)
and on the territory of the Northern Black Sea coast of Ukraine.
The myth "Encs and the Universe" tells us the
L am the true semen of the great wild bull,
the elder son of Ana,
the mighty hurricane, crashing down into
the great underground (kingdom),
the great ruler of the Earth.
I approach the Sky, and the rain comes down,
I approach the Earth, and the mighty
flash flood overflows...
In the same cave on the ceiling and on the
cornice scattered the figures of people and also bulls, horses, dogs...
The well-known literary memorial of Aryan East
Rig-Veda says that Sarama Dog is the companion of "the only master of cows"
Indra. The cows-bulls themselves are connected with the cave (hill).
The wises made their way to (the cows)
which were in a stronghold
the seven inspired, with their thought aimed ahead,
were driving on (the cows)
When Sarama found the hole in the rock
She made a great hidden place...
The "Dragon" grotto is very interesting, too.
Here the sculpture of the dragon - Veshapa's head (Vritra - according to
Rig-Veda ) remained. It is painted with a complex of symbols. And on the
southern extremly of the Stone Grave there are slabs with the pictures of horses,
chariots, "human feets", crosses etc.
The drawings of the Stone Grave are the bright
evidence of that fact that the steppe phenomenon was visited by different ethno-historical
tribes. The mysterious hill became for them a "sacred hill". In its grottoes and
caves there are the petroglyphs as the priceless witnesses of oldest epochs.
And on the southern extremly of the Stone Grave
where are slabs with the pictures of horses, chariots, crosses, human foot, etc.
The unique event became the discovery of ancient
"inscriptions" in many grottoes and caves that applies to the Sumer's and even
to the Sumer's (B.C.) time. These tokens are very archaic. So, we can see, that
neo-eneolithic tribes of Ukraine were the first clever people on the Earth.
Is it fantasy? Is it most courageous scientist's
Now it is difficult to answer synonymously, but
for somebody everything is already clear. But we have to wait. While now it is
important and it will be better, when we shall wait for new proofs and for the
acknowledgement of world science.
* Totem is a complex of beliefs and rituals,
connected with the idea of relationship among groups of people and so called "totems"
- kinds of animals and plants, and more rarely with things of inanimate nature.