Fortress Solak 1, the Legacy of Argishti I ? – Recent Excavations in Armenia

Fortress Solak 1, the Legacy of Argishti IDuring the excavations of an Urartian monument, Solak 1, in the vicinity of the Solak village, Kotayk Province, Armenia, archaeologists discovered the ashes of a burnt wooden roof.

The analysis of the ashes revealed that the monument dates back at the 8th-5th centuries BC. But despite those traces of destruction, the area is known to be still populated afterwards, said the head of the expeditionary group Artur Petrosyan.

The analysis also showed that the roof was definitely wooden, either chestnut or oak. It was supposedly two-layer, like the roof of the Musasir Temple. At least, it should have been that way due to the cold and snowy winters in the region. The roof burned down, and the falling beams broke the pottery inside, the fragments of which the experts are now discovering.

This monument is remarkable for its structure. It is a classic Urartian building, although it was built with local masonry techniques and materials.

The structure (seemingly, either a fortress or a castle) now examined by an Armenian-Italian team features square form measuring 27 x 27 meters. According to the head of the Italian team Roberto Dan, the structure is separated in half by a corridor.

In its turn, the eastern side is separated into four rooms connected to the main corridor. These quarters were mainly used for food storage.

The western half is comprised of three rooms, but only the first one is connected to the corridor. They were supposedly used for social activities.

Roberto Dan clarifies that after the group had unveiled the Urartian origins of the structure, archaeologists attempted to include it in the system of already known Urartian monuments.

Solak 1 is approximately located right between other fortresses of the same period – 20 km south of it are the Aramus and Dovry fortresses, and 20 km north is the Lchashen fortress. Generally, Solak 1 was erected on the route from the Ararat Plain to Sevan Lake.

As Urartian cuneiform inscriptions tell us, the first king to cross the Araks River was Argishti. Solak 1 was probably built in the years of his rule, when the whole region had already been under Urartu’s control.

The excavations at the Solak 1 site are carried out in the scopes of an Armenian-Italian reconnaissance project called “Kotayk”, aimed at the investigation of archaeological monuments in the Kotayk Province, Armenia, as well as creating a database with the artifacts’ descriptions and GPS coordinates.

With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, the Institute for the Research of Mediterranean and Eastern Countries of Italy and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences participate in the project.

Սոլակ 1՝ ուրարտական ամրոց Արարատյան դաշտավայրից Սեւան տանող ճանապարհին


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