Stone Grave is the Underground "Hermitage"

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 (1412 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 XVIXV 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 replaced them.

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 IXVII 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, VIIV 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 mouth".

In the Epoch of the Eneolithic - the Early Bronze Age (IVIII 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 following:

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 hypothesis?

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.