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Armenian Archeological sites

Posted by lahar9jhadav on December 26, 2012

ARTASHAT – was the capital of Armenia in 180 BC-339 AD. It is situated on the bank of the Arax river, on the hills in the environs of Khorvirap. The territory had been inhabited since the mid-5th millennium BC. The city was built under king Artashes I (180 BC) and was a crossroads of international trade in the Ancient World. In its prime period, it occupied a territory of 3,000 hectares and had 150,000 inhabitants. Armenian and foreign historians spoke of Artashat in admiration.

The excavations confirm that the city was walled and had a flexible defence system. It had a palace-administrative, worship, craftsmen’s and other quarters. The objects excavated from Artashat represent marble, terracotta and alabaster statues of gods, unique coins, seals and stamps that confirm the relations with different countries, art pieces, locally produced and imported pottery, glass vessels, weapons, ornaments of precious metals, architectural fragments and various objects of everyday use.

Excavations started in the 1970s under the guidance of B. Arakelian and Z. Khachatrian, and have continued until present.

ARMAVIR – the archeological site, is located in the Ararat valley, on the left bank of the Arax river. It was a large economic, cultural and worship centre. Greek geographer Ptolemy (90-168) mentions it as a city. Movses Khorenatsi attributes the foundation of Armavir to Aramayis, the grandson of Hayk Nahapet (Forefather Hayk). It was Armenia’s capital under the Yervandids until the end of the 4th century BC. The Citadel of Armavir was built at the height of 76 m, and city quarters spread around it

The Citadel walls and main walls of buildings, Hellenestic period pottery – flasks, cups, phials, karas-vessels, glass vessels, weapons, ornaments and other objects, were discovered during excavations.

Armavir was excavated from 1962 under the guidance of B. Arakelian and G. Tiratsian.

LORI-BERD – the archeological site, is a monument of the 22nd-6th centuries BC, with several archeological and cultural layers. The settlement and the burial mounds embrace a part of the town of Stepanavan and the entire village of Lori-Berd.

Various objects of material culture acquired from the mounds represent objects of adornment made of precious metals and semi-precious stones, bronze weapons, ornaments, tools, highly artistic statuettes, utensils, diverse clay vessels and other objects.

The monument has been excavated since 1969 under the guidance of S. Devedjian.

ARTIK – burial mounds (15th-9th centuries BC) are located in the tufa quarries between the town of Artik and the village of Harich. About 640 Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age tombs of catacomb burials with rich archeological materials were excavated in the burial mounds. The collection comprises various clay vessels, bronze weapons, ornaments, statuettes of birds and chamois, seals, adornments of semi-precious stones and other objects. The materials discovered during Artik excavations are kept in the archeological funds of the Museum.

The monument has been excavated since 1960 under the guidance of T. Khachatrian.

KARASHAMB – burial mound (22nd-21st centuries BC) is a Mid-Bronze Age monument. It is situated in the mid-stream of the Hrazdan river, near the village of Karashamb. The burial mound (diameter – 30 m, height – 1.5 m) belonged to a chief. Ornaments made of precious metals and bronze, weapons, symbols of power, utensils and clay objects were discovered there. Of exceptional scientific and cultural interest in the collection is the silver inlaid goblet, whose belts sculptured with narrative scenes contain great information for the study of the spiritual and material culture of Armenia of the Middle Bronze Age. It was excavated in 1987 under the guidance of V. Hovhannisian.

VANADZOR – burial mound (17th-16th centuries BC) is an important monument of the Middle Bronze Age in Armenia. The burial mound covers 30 square metres and is 3 m deep. It had a log-covered on-ground segment. Some of the significant objects excavated there include jewellery examples (vessels, ornaments), bronze weapons, tools and ornamented clay vessels. One of the unique examples of the art of jewellery of Armenia in the Middle Bornze Age, the gold goblet chased with the images of lions, stands out among the findings. The burial mound was excavated in 1948 under the guidance of B. Piotrovsky.

SHENGAVIT – settlement (4th-3rd millennia BC), an Early Bronze Age monument, is situated on a hill on the right bank of Yerevan Lake. It occupies a territory of more than 6 hectares and is surrounded by mighty Cyclopian walls with towers and an underground path.

The settlement has four cultural layers, the lowest of which is of Chalcolithic period. Round habitations and adjoining square multi-dwelling structures were excavated in the three early Christian layers. Ritual hearths, household pits, sumptuous karas vessels filled with wheat, moulds for metal-casting, tools, diverse clay vessels and other objects were discovered in the centre of round habitations.

The Shengavit burial mounds were opened outside the wall, to the south-east and south-west of the settlement. Oldest examples of jewellery were found in these burial mounds.

The excavations of Shengavit started in 1936 under the guidance of E. Bayburdian and continue until present.The monument is a classical example of the Kuro-Arax culture; in specialized literature, it is also known under the name of “Shengavit” culture.

MOKHRABLUR – settlement (4th-3rd millennia BC) is an Early Bronze Age monument with numerous constructive horizons. It is situated 4 km south of Echmiadzin, on an artificial hillside, and embraces about 3.5 hectares of land.

Numerous ornamented clay vessels, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic clay statuettes, tools and other objects were discovered at the monument. These materials have a great significance for the study of the Early Bronze Age plain and valley culture. One of the oldest monumental temples with an enormous altar was discovered in this settlement.

The first investigatory excavations in this settlement started in 1935 under the guidance of E. Bayburdian. In 1970-1985, the archeological expedition of the Armenological Centre at Yerevan State University carried out systematic excavations under the guidance of G. Areshian.

KARNUT – ettlement (4th-3rd millennia BC) is an Early Bronze Age monument. It is situated on a hill, near the village of Karnut in Shirak. Dwelling and worship structures were opened during excavations. Among the objects found at Karnut, of importance are black-polished ritual karas-vessels with ornamentation in reliefs and concavities, movable hearths with anthropomorphic figures and other samples that are unique findings of Early Bronze Age pottery in Armenia.

The monument of topographic characteristics comes close to the Early Bronze Age monument of Harich.

ARATASHEN – (Քա. VI-V հազ.) settlement (6th-5th millennia BC) is a Neolithic-Chalcolithic habitation. It is situated 5 km south-west of Echmiadzin, on the bank of the Kasagh river. A large number of tools made of obsidian, stone, bone and everyday objects were found during the excavations. Knife-like blades and diverse axes of obsidian and pyramid-shaped nucleuses comprise an important group. Aratashen with its exceptional findings is of utmost importance for the periodization and study of the Neoithic-Chalcolithic culture in Armenia.

ANI – was one of the capitals of medieval Armenia. It is located on a high triangular rocky plateau, on the right bank of the Akhurian river, in the historic province of Shirak (now in Turkey).

In Armenian literature, Ani was first mentioned as a fortress in the 5th century. The Bagratids proclaimed Ani the capital of Armenia in 961.

In its prime, the 9th-13th centuries, Ani became the most important city in Armenia, where city-building and construction, arts, crafts and trade, science and culture reached an unprecedented development. The excavations of the city revealed the remains of majestic secular and worship structures and numerous examples of material culture. From the end of the 19th century to 1917, an expedition guided by outstanding expert in Oriental studies N. Marr, with the participation of famous Armenian scholars T. Toramanian, H. Orbeli and others, carried out excavations in Ani.

Part of the collection rescued from the World War I and photographs of the monuments have fortunately been preserved and are now kept at the Museum.

DVIN – is a multi-layered monument 30 km south of Yerevan, in Artashat sub-region of the Ararat province. With the villages of Aygestan, Nerkin Dvin, Hnaberd and others, the monument occupies a territory of 400 hectares and has been inhabited continously since the 3rd millennium BC. It was the capital of Armenia from the 330s to 885, and the See of the Armenian church in 484-931. Dvin was destroyed in the 13th century during the Seljuk and Mongol invasions.

In the centre of the monument is the citadel of the medieval city with mighty walls and more than 40 semi-circular towers, around which large business and dwelling quarters stretched. A partial study of Dvin was carried out as far back as the second half of the 19th century. Owing to systematic excavations that started in 1936 and continued until present, citadel and residential areas from different periods, architectural structures of secular and worship nature, production complexes were unearthed, the city’s chronological picture was outlined, borders were identified and the life and daily routine of different layers of the society were studied. Numerous examples of craftsmanship were discovered – ritual vessels, altar-pieces, sculptures from the 3rd-1st millennia BC, objects of applied arts from the Hellenistic period, decorated clay and faïence vessels of medieval local production and import, samples of glassware and metalware, ornaments, coins and other objects.

HARICH is a multi-layered monument of the 26th century BC- 10th century AD on the southern part of the village of Harich in Shirak. It is located on the slopes of Aragats Mountain on a high tufa plateau surrounded by deep gorges on the three sides. The Bronze Age settlement with its three terraces stretches from the west to the east and occupies 12 hectares of land. The terraces are separated from each other by Cyclopian walls. A burial mound of 3 square kilometers is located near the settlement. In the Early Bronze Age layer of the monument, dwelling houses, square in plan, with fireplaces made of stone and movable hearths decorated with anthropomorphic figures, were unearthed. Ritual clay statuettes of animals and people, black-polished pottery, metal-casting objects, tools to cultivate wheat, bronze ornaments and other objects were found here.

OSHAKAN the archeological site, is located on the bank of the Kasagh river, 5 km from the town of Ashtarak. The village is rich in archeological monuments of the 3rd-1st millennia BC. On the hill called “Didi-Kond”, ruins of an Urartian fortress (7th-6th centuries BC) with a citadel, palace and temple complexes were excavated. Burial mounds of the 11th-2nd centuries with Early Iron Age, Urartian and Antique tombs are scattered around the fortress and on the slopes of the hill. The Oshakan collection kept in the Museum is represented by a bronze statuette of a lion, original examples of coloured pottery, stone idols devoted to the worship of ancestors, various ornaments, tools and other objects.

GARNI the archeological monument, is situated on the right bank of the Azat river, including the village of Garni and its environs. It was continuously inhabited from the 3rd millennium BC until the Late Middle Ages. It is called the Land of Guiarniani in the Urartian cuneiform inscriptions. The fortress of Garni is thought to have been founded in the 2nd century BC, and the Temple devoted to Mihr – in the 1st century AD. Garni was a military post and a royal summer residence. The Early Bronze Age settlement, Middle and Late Bronze Age and Hellenistic tombs, as well as the fortress with Hellenistic and medieval structures were excavated. The discovered findings present the products of pottery, jewellery, metalware and glassware, coins and the art of building.

EREBUNI is an Urartian fortress-city of the 8th-7th centuries BC. It was the seat of the Achaemenid governor in the 6th-5th centuries BC. It is located in the south-eastern part of the city of Yerevan. The fortress was founded in 782 by king Argishti. The name of the capital Yerevan comes from Erebuni. Cuneiform inscriptions enable us to follow the whole course of the city’s history. The Citadel was built on the hill of Arin-Berd and is enclosed into mighty walls. The excavations unearthed palace buildings, halls, temple complexes, military barracks, industrial and economic buildings. The basalt stone with a cuneiform inscription about the foundation of the fortress discovered in Erebuni, fragments of frescoes from the palace, seals, stone cups and diverse clay objects are kept in the Museum.

KARMIR BLUR with the Urartian fortress-city of Teishebaini of the 7th-6th centuries BC is located in the south-eastern part of the city of Yerevan, on the left bank of the Hrazdan river. It was built under Rusa II (685-640 BC), and treasures of the Erebuni fortress were transferred there. There was a vast settlement of the Early Bronze Age on the territory of the city. The Citadel of Teishebaini was built on a hill and was surrounded with walls. The excavations unearthed pre-Urartian, 13th-9th century BC residential quarters, Urartian palace buildings, halls, temple complexes, military barracks, industrial and economic structures. Cuneiform clay tablets with business correspondence, inscriptions about construction work, seals and highly artistic specimens of sculpture, jewellery, armoury, decorative-applied arts and pottery are kept in the Museum.

LCHASHEN the archeological site, is located on the banks of Lake Sevan, near the village of Lchashen. The site includes monument complexes of the 3rd-1st millennia BC – a Cyclopian fortress, habitations, the cuneiform inscription of king Arguishti I on a lakeside cliff, etc. On the land formerly covered by the waters of Lake Sevan, burial mounds, tombs, cromlechs and stone-box burials of all Bronze Age stages were excavated. The Lchashen collection is of diverse nature: it includes unique wooden four-wheeled and two-wheeled carts, bronze sculptural groups representing hunting scenes, statuettes of birds and animals, weapons with artistic decoration and symbols of power. Original pieces of art are various objects of worship, ritual and everyday use, ornaments of precious metals and stones, coloured and engraved pottery.

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