The Shengavit Settlement (Armenian: Շենգավիթ հնավայր, Shengavit’ hənavayr) is an archaeological site in present-day Yerevan, Armenia located on a hill south-east of Yerevan Lake. It was inhabited during a series of settlement phases from approximately 3200 BC cal to 2500 BC cal in the Kura Araxes (Shengavitian) Period of the Early Bronze Age and irregularly re-used in the Middle Bronze Age until 2200 BC cal.
The town occupied an area of six hectares. It appears that Shengavit was a societal center for the areas surrounding the town due to its unusual size, evidence of surplus production of grains, and metallurgy, as well as its monumental 4 meter wide stone wall. Three smaller village sites of Moukhannat Tepe, Khorumbulagh, and Tairov have been identified and were located outside the walls of Shengavit. Its pottery makes it a type site of the Kura-Araxes or Early Transcaucasian Period and the Shengavitian culture area.
The area of modern day Shengavit has been populated since at least 3200 BC, during the period of Kura–Araxes culture of the Early Bronze Age. Excavations at the Shengavit historical site started in 1936 and lasted until 1938 under the guidance of archaeologist Yevgeny Bayburdyan who dug a trial trench at the hill which in turn led to further archaeological work to be done at the site. Archaeologist Sandro Sardarian resumed the excavations between 1958 and 1983,but his work was poorly documented. He left insufficient records to pinpoint exact locations where artifacts were found.
In 2000, extensive excavation process was launched under the guidance of archaeologist Hakop Simonyan, who dug stratigraphic trenches at the edges of the old trenches excavated by Bayburdian and Sardarian.
Foundations of Teishebaini within the Shengvait district
In 2009, Simonyan was joined by professor Mitchell S. Rothman from Widener University of Pennsylvania. Together they conducted three series of excavations in 2009, 2010, and 2012 respectively. During the process, a full stratigraphic column to bedrock was reached, showing there to be 8 or 9 distinct stratigraphic levels.
These levels cover a time between 3200 BC and 2500 BC. Evidences of later use of the site (until 2200 BC) were also found. The excavation process revealed a series of large buildings, round buildings with square adjoining rooms and simple round buildings. Particularly notable are a series of ritual installations discovered in 2010 and 2012.
In July 2010, Simonyan announced that horse bones were found at the site. German paleo-zoologist Hans-Peter Uerpmann stated that many of these bones were from disturbed contexts, however, and the earliest clearly provenanced horse bone’s come from Simonyan’s Middle Bronze excavations at Nerkin Naver.
Excavations have revealed:
Gold items (ili heads, arrows, plows, needles, cards, etc.), copper items.
Small and large containers of high quality were excavated: pottery, pottery, cups, pots, bowls, vases, strainers, etc. The color of the vessel was related to burning and painting. The excavated pottery has a number of options, both in terms of snow and patterns. The patterns of pottery found are varied. The pottery was mainly polished, had geometric patterns: triangles, diagonals, spirals, parallel lines, etc.
Hearths: The hearths had a protective significance. Very often they symbolized the resurrection and prosperity of the dynasty. The types of homes found in the area are diverse.
Grain wells: 3-4 m. depth, 1 meter wide flour barn.
Work tools – many tools have been excavated from lightning, obsidian and solid rocks. These include hammers, axes, razors, mortars, sanders, saws, knives, arrows, hook inserts, stone grinders. Small sander sizes were used to crush seeds and roots.
Statues. Statues of goats, horses and bulls were also found. It can be assumed that the horse was used among the settlements to maintain a permanent connection, and the bull was the object of worship throughout Central Asia.
Animal bones. The bones of a dog, bull, boar, rabbit, goat and other animals were found. The remains of the fish found (trout, Sudak, etc.) testify to the importance of fishing.
A number of ancestral burials have been excavated, belonging to a large family community.
Found in Cornelian cherry kernels, etc.
Reasons for the decline of the settlemen
The reasons for the decline of the settlement remain among the specialists under discussion today. Most of them believe that the reasons for the disappearance may be the following three factors:
The process of salting started as a result of ecological changes closed economic relations ethnic movements and intrusions
As a result of all this, Shengavit settlement was abandoned at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE