November 17, 2005

Large Bronze Age settlement discovered in Armenia

YEREVAN, 16.11.05. On the western slopes of Aragats, near the village of Tsakhkasar, archaeologists got on the tracks of an ancient settlement of the Early Bronze Age (the fourth millenium BC) referring the Archaeological Culture Kur-Araks. Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, Aram Kalantaryan, told ARMINFO. The monument is unique for its unprecedented scale of an ancient settlement. It occupies a territory of about 100 ha, while the Kur Araks lowland towns are known to occupy not more than 10 ha. The settlement was surrounded with cyclopean fortress. Archaeologists have excavated a 300 sq/m ancient cultural layer so far and found a unique bronze reaping-hook. Unfortunately, irrigation canals were laid there yet in 1930, which has partially damaged the monument.

Kalantaryan said that an Armenian-American joint expedition near the village of Gegharot, on the northern slope of Aragats, found another unique monument of the Late Bronze Age - a sanctuary of the 15th-12th centuries BC. He called the find `a real fount of the ancient material culture of Armenia`. The sanctuary is unique for the latest such complex found by archaeologists in the village of Metsamor belonged to later period. Archaeologists found a woman`s breast bronze decoration and semiprecious stones, including a cut rock crystal.

Kalantaryan also informed ARMINFO of another find, an ancient pagan temple of Antic Age on the bank of the Araks near the ancient town of Artashat. Archaeologists suppose it was the very temple the Armenian chroniclers Movses Khorenatsi and Agatangeghos wrote about in their works on Grigor Lusavorich. Kalantaryan expressed satisfaction that for the first time since the independence of Armenia the state budget for 2006 envisages funds for archaeological excavations. While, the present season was partially financed from the governmental reserve fund.
Interestingly, the Kura-Arax culture is implicated in Gamkrelidze and Ivanov's theory of Indo-European origins.

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