A very exciting new paleontological exploration of a prehistoric Cave in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) is in need of our support. Sc.D., Prof. Levon Yepiskoposyan, head of Ethnogenomics laboratory Institute of Molecular Biology of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, along with a small team of dedicated scholars have started an INDIEGOGOG campaign to raise funds for this project. It’s a very important scientific inquiry into a rich and ancient history of human habitation on the Armenian Highlands. The Alexana cave is located in the Shushi region of Artsakh in a very hilly and wooden area fully protected from water erosion and other impacts from natural disasters.
The prospects are very encouraging, preliminary work has already been carried out in 2014 and 2015 with some very promising results, including 50.000 year old bones of mammals preserved in good condition. The field work was conducted by an international team of scholars; Prof. Levon Yepiskoposyan (anthropologist, geneticist, Armenia), Dr. Thomas Stafford, Jr. (geologist, USA), Dr. Morten Allentoft (palaeontologist, geneticist, Denmark), and Dr. Ashot Margaryan (geneticist, Armenia, Denmark).
Now the team is planing to properly explore this cave in the hope to uncover forgotten chapters of human history in the territory. Here is what the author Sc.D., Prof. Levon Yepiskoposyan had to say about the project:
We are a team of professionals interested in the prehistoric exploration of Artsakh and the rest of the Armenian Highlands. This current cave project aims to contribute to the scientific wealth of the area through the extensive excavation work in a virgin Paleolithic cave that has not been disturbed. We have already done preliminary work within this site and found strong evidence on its scientific potential in terms of early human colonization and the overall environment at this period of time. Because this cave is located in Artsakh, the lack of international recognition makes formal funding impossible, and the individual contributions of interested participants is the only way we can secure this wealth of research and scientific discovery awaiting us. Each contribution and the word of mouth spread by people about this project is invaluable to ultimately place Artsakh as an important center of scientific inquiry and discovery. Contributors fund ideas they can be passionate about and to people they trust.
The scientific importance of Alexana Cave derives from the site containing sediments with fossils that have significant potential for yielding ancient human DNA (aDNA). If human remains are encountered in the Cave, they could preserve an unrivaled aDNA record not seen for any human fossils dating >40,000 years. The site could yield ancient genetic data far exceeding the quality of any present European or Eurasian archaeological locality.
Aside from the obvious scientific importance, this project will increase interest in the scientific exploration of Artsakh, it will reconfirm that peaceful activities are an important part of Artsakh’s independence, and that the Armenian Highlands are a very important region of human activity and migration for at least 1.8 million years.
Let us support this wonderful project any way we can, by either directly donating or spreading the word by sharing their INDIEGOGO campaign on social media and among our friends. To SUPPORT the project and learn more about the details head over to the INDIEGOGO campaign by pressing the button bellow.
[…] Yepiskoposyan, head of Ethnogenomics laboratory Institute of Molecular Biology (read more about it HERE). They succeeded in raising some funds and the team was able to proceed with the expedition. Their […]
[…] Artsakh (a.k.a. Nagorno-Karabakh) is a magical place. From the heaven reaching mountains to the unexplored caverns that hold secrets to human evolution and countless archaeological sights, Artsakh is unique in […]