Macedonia's own Stonehenge
Skopje - A 4 000-year-old megalith observatory discovered in the hills overlooking ethnically-troubled valleys of northern Macedonia is being described as the Balkan's Stonehenge.
The site was discovered last year by a group of local archaeological enthusiasts in northern Macedonia near the mountain village of Kokino, not far from the town of Kumanovo.
It served as a ceremonial place and observatory for a still unidentified civilisation, according to a team of local experts led by Jovica Stankovski, head of Kumanovo Museum.
During his trips to the mountain peak Tatikev Kamen, Stankovski noticed two thrones made of volcanic stones in the centre of the potentially interesting location.
That was the beginning of research which led to "sensational findings".
Stankovski said: "But it was different than other archaeological sites in Macedonia, and there are thousands of them around. We compared it with some other similar places in the world and - we discovered Macedonian Stonehenge."
The Kokino observatory is an epochal discovery from the Bronze Age whose authenticity has already been confirmed by a number of mathematical, physical and astronomical tests, the experts say.
"The discovery in Kokino proves that there was a civilisation in the Balkans which lived 4 000 years ago and remained unknown to science until now," Gjore Cenev, head of the Macedonian Planetarium, was quoted as saying.
"That civilisation had its own culture and religious ceremonies. We did not find any written documents, but if we do that will be a true sensation," he said.
And indeed, after a year-long research, the team of experts discovered that the "observatory had a specific place for monitoring the movement of stars and the sun, as well as specific holes through which the movement of the sun and the moon was recorded".
Using high-tech instruments, scientists discovered that the site, made of volcanic blocks, was build exactly 3 815 years ago, in order to determine the right time for the harvest and other activities closely connected with the primitive measurement of time.
"The measurements made in this monolith observatory were remarkably precise. The location offers excellent conditions for an observatory, but the way it was built is remarkable," Cenev said.
"The findings, sensational and rather rare, lead to the conclusion that those tribes which lived in the region at the time developed a high level of culture and social life, not far behind Mediterranean centres such as Crete and ancient Egypt", Stankovski said.
Stankovski also said the whole area was set ablaze and seriously damaged somewhere around 200 BC.
Macedonian experts say the Kokino observatory's unique characteristics make it as historically valuable as locations in Ireland, Scotland and "of course Stonehenge" in England. - Sapa-DPA