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Residental area "Damjili" (Mousterian period)
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  • Address:
    Dash Salahli, Gazakh, AZ3518
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Damjili cave is situated at the eastern bottom of the Avey Mountain near Dashsalahli village of Gazakh region. Initially in 1953 archeological prospecting was carried out in the territory and within 3 years starting from 1956 a fundamental expedition was held under the supervision of archaeologist M. M. Huseynov. The expedition discovered about 30 caves belonging to ancient settlers from the Stone Age at the foot of the Avey Mountain. Primitive men used the natural caves as their dwelling places here as in many other regions of the world. By being settled down in such spaces they were able to do primitive la- bour and protect themselves from elemental forces, harsh weather conditions and wild animals. Damjili cave camp is the biggest and most important one of the Stone Age settlements found in the Avey Mountain. It is in a semicircular shape. Its height is 4 m and overall area is 17 x 27 m.

During the three-yeararcheological excavations various kinds ofstone tools made by primitive men and the remains of half-burned bones of hunting ani- mals were found in Damjili cave. The stone tools found in the cave date from the Middle Paleolith - Mousterian period (the Mousterian - the archeological culture started 70 thousand years ago and ended up about 35 thousand years ago) - Upper Paleolith and Neolith. This in turn indicates that there had been a stable human settlement in the cave for a few millenniums.

The objects from the Mousterian period are mainly triangular sharp pointed tools, big round scrapers, disk-shaped nuclueses (nucleuses are the form made through beating at raw stone in the process of stone tool making) and materi- als broken off to be applied for tools.

Sharp-edged tools. These are made of flint and basalt in a triangular shape. They can be longish and short. Some of them are in a disk shape. It is assumed that they were basically used for hunting purposes.

Scrapers. They are made of basalt and some part of them are round. As- sumingly, they were mainly used to clean animal hide.

Splinters. These are stones broken off in various sizes to make tools basi- cally.

Nucleuses. They are in a disk shape.These findings indicate that Neanderthal type of primitive men settled down in Damjili cave about 100 - 80 thousand years ago.Another group of tools found in Damjili belongs to the upper Paleolith. They include sharp-edged and round scrapers, cutting tools, awls and other stone tools. Unlike the Mousterian tools, they are made with a new technology and consist of thick slabs broken from prismatic nucleuses.

Pointed scrapers. They are made of longish thick splinters from flint.

Cutting tools. These are made of obsidian slabs. Their sides are blunted in order to hold with hands.

Awls. Theyare mainly from flint and obsidian. Two sides of the splinters are blunted towards one end and so, get very thinner.At the same time, microlith tools (verysmall stone tools with one or sometimes both sides bladed) are discovered in Damjili cave, dating from the late upper Paleolith and early Neolith.Microlith tools were probably used to chop and tear up.

Nucleuses are in a pencil shape with some ribs. Their one end is wide and the other is fine.

Scrapers with notches are made from very small splinters. With a small notch in one end they were used to scrape bones and get them thinner.Furthermore, arrow heads are found in Damjili cave.The arrow heads are made of very small microlith boards. They are leaf- shaped and both sides of them are applied. It has stalk at one end to drive in the wood.

In general, over 8 thousand stone wares were found from various cultural layers during the excavations. About 600 of them have different types of as- signment. Variety of assignment of the tools and their varying dates are evi- dences of the fact that life and human activity existed in Damjili cave for a long period of time without interruption. Its inhabitants were able to advance up to a certain developmental phase from primitivity, improving their skills and mastership through millenniums. It is possible to follow successive phases of the development process on the basis of the archeological materials found in Damjili.

Another interesting point about Damjili cave is a spring with the same name. Water of Damjili Spring trickles down from the flinty ceiling of the cave through narrow rocky splits. Sound of limpid water drops falling down from the ceiling alike rain resemble of magic whisper. By now the spring is a relaxation spot for Gazakh people and their visitors. As Azerbaijani poet Samad Vurghun put it: "Damjili Spring is the 8th miracle of the world and the 1st one of Azerbaijan".

Generally, the Avey Mountain at which Damjili cave is located is rich in cultural, archeological and architectural monuments dating from different historic periods. Eight temples, 2 ancient settlements, an early Medieval graveyard, the ruins of 2 fortresses with the defensive walls and towers, about 30 caves, a windmill, water reservoirs in different shapes, etc. are registered and a 1.4 m diameter stony squeezing wheel characteristic of urban culture to produce vegetable oil is found. Considering all these, the Soviet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan declared the territories of the Avey Mountain, Goyazan Mountain and Askipara village as the Avey state history and culture preserve according to Decision # 99 dated February 22, 1989.

In the preserve, Damjili cave camp holds a special place among various types of monuments dating from different historic periods.

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