Mysteries of Sacred Stones: Researching Megaliths in Tula Oblast

Фото Олега Золотарева
Фото Олега Золотарева

The members of the Russian Geographical Society conducted geophysical and geodetic studies of the megalithic complex in the Kamensky District of Tula Oblast. The work is carried out as a part of the "Stone culture of Tula Oblast" project, supported by a grant from the Russian Geographical Society. The goal of the project is to develop educational tourism through a comprehensive study of the cult of sacred stones worship that existed in the past in the territories that were part of Tula province.

The expeditionary project "Stone culture of Tula Oblast" is already yielding results: through archives, libraries and open sources we have learned about more than 80 megaliths, and expedition trips have been carried out to 20 of them. In the course of the field work, descriptions of the discovered objects were compiled, the stones were filmed with a photo camera.

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Участники экспедиционного выезда осматривают комплекс "Роженица". Фото Олега Золотарева
Участники экспедиционного выезда осматривают комплекс "Роженица". Фото Олега Золотарева

The complex of stones of the Kamensky region, known among the researchers of this topic under the name " Rozhenica" (eng. “Expectant mother”), became the first place for conducting complex geophysical and geodetic studies. The pagans believed that sacrifices at these megaliths helped to conceive children. And then, according to the assumptions of the researchers, women gave birth on them in the warm season.

Members of the Russian Geographical Society conducted ground and aerial photography of the object. In addition, a topographic survey was carried out using two methods. The first was a classic, terrestrial, one using a geodetic dual-frequency receiver. With its help, the characteristic coordinates of several closely spaced large megaliths were determined. The second method was a photogrammetric survey of the complex and the surrounding territory with a total area of ​​about 26 hectares. It will help to make a three-dimensional map of the area and to reveal the regularity of the relative position of megalithic monuments.

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Андрей Мурашов проводит геодезическую съемку. Фото Олега Золотарева
Андрей Мурашов проводит геодезическую съемку. Фото Олега Золотарева

Near the stones, the members of the Society conducted geophysical studies: they hit megaliths with a rubber hammer, as a result of which a sound wave propagated. A special device caught acoustic vibrations in the depth of the stone. The method is based on measuring the time between the intervals of the emission of an elastic longitudinal wave in a stone and the arrival of reflected waves. As a result, after decoding the readings of the device, sufficiently accurate data on the depth of stones in the ground and their sizes will be obtained. These studies relate to non-destructive methods and allow you to obtain the necessary information quickly enough and without excavation and other similar work.

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Геофизические измерения. Фото Олега Золотарева
Геофизические измерения. Фото Олега Золотарева

The project "Stone culture of Tula Oblast" raises the issue of protecting unique natural, and somewhere, perhaps, man-made objects. The author of the project, the head of the RGS Youth Club of the Tula regional branch of the Society, Ivan Stolyarov, believes that the issue of ensuring the safety of the identified objects of stone culture is the most urgent: "No matter what miraculous properties, according to people, the cult stones have, they, unfortunately, are powerless against heavy machinery and human vanity. For example, in early June 2020, "Rossiyskaya Gazeta"(eng. “Russian newspaper”) wrote about a blatant case of the destruction of the megalithic complex near the village of Olkhovka in the Priozersk district of Leningrad Oblast. We also encountered a similar, albeit much older, situation during field work in Aleksinsky district."

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Центральная часть комплекса "Роженица". Фото Андрея Мурашова
Центральная часть комплекса "Роженица". Фото Андрея Мурашова

Of course, it is impossible to make, without exception, all the "big stones" in Tula Oblast specially protected natural objects or territories. Therefore, the project participants strive to collect as much information as possible, including ethnographic information, about the surviving stone complexes and individual stones. And then, having identified the most significant objects, take possible measures to protect them.

Expeditions to the "big stones" will last as part of the project until the summer of 2021.

Oleg Zolotaryov