Massive Urartian Cemetery Discovered Beneath Yerevan, Armenia

Massive Urartian Cemetery Discovered Beneath Yerevan, Armenia A massive cemetery discovered in the ancient Karmir Blur site in Yerevan is of huge scientific significance, said the head of the expedition and Director of the Historical Cultural Heritage research center of the Ministry of Culture Hakob Simonyan.  

Simonyan said that the archaeological materials found at Karmir Blur could give answers to a number of questions regarding the ancient residents of the area, their perceptions of afterlife, and their burial rituals.

As many as 5,000 artifacts could be discovered at the site. But where they will be stored is a whole another issue. In this regard, scholars are certain that it is the time for Armenia as a country with rich cultural heritage to establish Anthropological and Urartian Centers.

Karmir Blur or Teishebaini presently located near the city of Yerevan, Armenia, has been a provincial capital of the Kingdom of Van (more known as Urartu). According to Simonyan, the Kingdom of Van has always been of great interest to scientists. But surprisingly, the graveyard was only found after the commencement of construction works of a highway bypassing Yerevan, which could only pass through Karmir Blur.

After three months of research, experts found densely positioned tombs. About 500 tombs have been located just under the road being constructed.

The kings of the ancient Kingdom of Van regarded the Ararat Valley as a granary, where the finest wines were produced. Simonyan said that approximately half a million liters of wine have been stored in the pantries of Karmir Blur. Besides, vast reserves of grain have been kept in the city.

Among the most remarkable artifacts discovered at Karmir Blur were the “four idols” – tuff tiles with eye-shaped holes. Scholars argue that those idols protected the peace of the dead. At the moment, it is unclear whether or not the people buried in the cemetery were from the same family or nationality. This question will be answered after a DNA analysis, which is to be conducted in Copenhagen.

Hakob Simonyan said that both the Eurasian Bank and Yerevan City Hall have promised that no historic monument will be destroyed and the road will be constructed only after the full investigation of the area.

Structure of the Teishebaini fortress wall
Section of the floor of the fortress, cleared during archaeological excavations

Basalt foundation of Teishebaini fortress walls
Basalt foundation of Teishebaini fortress walls
Basalt foundation of Teishebaini fortress walls
One of the 97 bronze bowls from the wine pantry
Clay pot decorated with the heads of bulls
Bronze shield of the warrior
Bronze helmet with inscription Sarduri II
General view of the illegal mound


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