|TARA shares experiences with Azerbaijan|
TARA is known throughout the world for its achievements in promoting and conserving African rock art. In May this year, at the invitation of the Azerbaijan Embassy in London and the Anglo-Azeri Society, TARA Chairman David Coulson visited the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Gobustan near the Caspian Sea, to share some of his knowledge.
Based out of the capital city, Baku, Coulson made three visits to Gobustan, accompanied by the Director of the Gobustan National Reserve, Dr Malahat Farajova. Impressed by the diversity of the art as well as its apparent antiquity, Coulson was requested to advise them on how best to promote and conserve these sites.
Dr. Farajova explained that some of the earliest engravings dated back to 34,000 years, which would make these amongst the oldest rock engravings in the world. Some of the art was reminiscent of European Palaeolithic art or North African engravings. Not surprisingly, a lot of the art was similar to rock art in Turkey and Iran. During his visit, Coulson gave a lecture at the Baku State University regarding TARA's work in Africa, which touched on similarities between our art and theirs, and emphasised that rock art is a global phenomenon, and a global heritage.
Coulson also monitored and assessed the conservation status of the sites and gave advice on the promotion and presentation of the Gobustan Rock Art. It was recommended that the Azerbaijan authorities invite an international team of scientists / dating experts to establish and confirm the dates. If they are as old as is maintained, this could be of great benefit in raising the profile of Gobustan's rock art.