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Petroglyphs of Shakhty Grotto.

Best Tajikistan Petroglyphs Tours.

“For everything in this journey of life we are on, there is a right wing and a left wing: for the wing of love there is anger; for the wing of destiny there is fear; for the wing of pain there is healing; for the wing of hurt there is forgiveness; for the wing of pride there is humility; for the wing of giving there is taking; for the wing of tears there is joy; for the wing of rejection there is acceptance; for the wing of judgment there is grace; for the wing of honor there is shame; for the wing of letting go there is the wing of keeping. We can only fly with two wings and two wings can only stay in the air if there is a balance. Two beautiful wings is perfection. There is a generation of people who idealize perfection as the existence of only one of these wings every time. But I see that a bird with one wing is imperfect. An angel with one wing is imperfect. A butterfly with one wing is dead. So this generation of people strive to always cut off the other wing in the hopes of embodying their ideal of perfection, and in doing so, have created a crippled race” 

C. JoyBell C.

Petroglyphs Visitor Guide Tajikistan.

Petroglyphs in Shakhty grotto are located at an altitude of 4062 meters above sea level, located in Eastern Pamirs, in Ba-Biyik-Dzhilga valley, 930 meters from right bank of drying up Shakhty-Soy riverbed adjacent to Kurtke-sai valley, 30.4 kilometers south and slightly east of village of Murghab, 12.3 kilometers west and slightly south of Shorbulak Observatory, in Murghab district in south of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region. 
The Mine Grotto is located at an altitude of 60 meters above the valley bottom, the grotto is easily accessible; there is a good path leading to it along the surface of the alluvial cone.
History of discovery of petroglyphs in Shakhty grotto.
The monument was discovered and first examined in 1958 by a Paleolithic group (led by V.A. Ranov) of the Pamir Archaeological Expedition of the USSR Academy of Sciences, which examined caves and rock overhangs in the southeastern part of the Pamirs.
A detailed description of the writings of the Shakhty Grotto and the substantiation of the proposed date by the Mesolithic era was carried out by V.A. Ranov in a special article published in 1961. In 1967 V.A. Ranov describes the conditions for the discovery of writings in the mine Grotto and the features of their study in the popular book “Archaeologists on the Roof of the World” (Ranov, 1967)
Also a popular article about this plot, with very good photographs, was published in the same year by zoologist V. Tanasiychuk (Tanasiychuk, 1967). Photographs were taken of the grotto and rock art, and excavations were carried out; in an exploratory trench laid inside the grotto, flakes, several knife-shaped flint blades and one core fragment were discovered at different depths (Ranov. 1961, p. 35).
Based on the finds of these artifacts, as well as plot and stylistic comparisons, Shakhta’s drawings are dated by V.A. Ranov VIII - V millennium BC, during the Mesolithic - Early Neolithic (Ranov. 2001, pp. 128 - 129). The most probable age of the drawings corresponds to the time of the appearance of the first people in the Eastern Pamirs after the glaciations.
Description of Shakhty grotto. 
The grotto was formed as a result of karst erosion of a tectonic fissure. The grotto is open to the east, dry, well lit by the sun. The entrance width is 7.5 meters, depth is 6 meters, ceiling height is about 25 - 30 meters.
Description of rock paintings in Shakhty grotto.
The drawings are made in a frieze on the southern wall of the grotto at a level of 1.6 - 2.0 meters from the floor; here and there on the wall there are stains of paint and fragments of other unpreserved figures. All images are made with
mineral paint in two tones: most of the drawings are made with light brown ocher; the rest are burgundy.
7 images are well preserved: a silhouetted ornitho-anthropomorphic figure (23 cm), two contour figures of wild boars (?), a yak or a bear (85 cm), arrows against the background of the body and at the head of the animal, another contour figure of an unidentified animal, overlapping some others described drawings and made with burgundy paint.
The total length of the frieze with drawings is 4 meters, height 1.5 meters. The images are painted with mineral paint, the material for which ancient artists apparently took from here in the cracks of the wall, where powdery placers are found. The paint has two tones: light and darker, burgundy.
Light paint was used more often; burgundy represents a stronger concentration of dye and was used mainly for drawing out the details of figures. One design, done in burgundy paint, overlaps the image in light brown. The lines of the drawings are relatively thin (1.5 - 2 cm), uneven, and often additionally corrected.
Apparently, the design was applied directly with a finger. The image furthest to the entrance to the grotto is a figurine of a man disguised as a bird(?). The next two figures are drawn opposite each other and depict a wild boar and a bear or two boars. Only half of the drawing has survived from the left figure.
Next, a clear outline depicts the figure of a large animal at the moment of a jump. The next, largest figure also depicts an animal with massive legs, a small hump, reminiscent of an animal from the family Bovidae (yak?), but the elongated muzzle, small ears and lack of horns allow us to see here the image of a bear.
The legs of the beast are depicted in a naturalistic manner. Of particular interest are the images of arrows: the largest of them is shown below the nape of the beast, another is depicted in the lower part of the muzzle, and the third is shown below the head of the beast.
The arrows are directed towards the animal from opposite sides, which can be seen as an image of a collective hunt. The monument is registered with the state, under the protection of local authorities of the Murghab region. In 2005, on the instructions of the Murghab Ecotourism Association, a survey of the monument was carried out by R. Sala, who noted the satisfactory preservation of the drawings.
Inside the grotto and outside at the entrance, traces of archaeological excavations of 1958 are noticeable - the remains of an unfilled trench and earthen dumps. The grotto is rarely visited by locals and tourists.
Geographic coordinates of petroglyphs of Shakhty grotto: N37°54'22 E74°00'58

Bobomullo S. Bobomulloev.

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