Armenia – Center of Metallurgy of the Ancient World

Golden plates – Metsamor

The Armenian Highlands, a region rich in diverse mineral resources, played a pivotal role as a metallurgical hub in the ancient world. From the fifth to the fourth millennium BC, this region was engaged in the extraction and processing of a vast array of minerals including copper, tin, gold, silver, iron, lead, zinc, magnesium, antimony, arsenic, quartz, and salt. These processed materials were then exported, contributing significantly to the region’s wealth and economic growth.

The techniques and technology developed and applied in these regions for metal casting, a complex and demanding process even in today’s context, were groundbreaking for that period. They had a profound influence on the civilizations of this time, shaping everything from weaponry to everyday household items and jewelry.

Historical evidence suggests that the wealth of this region didn’t go unnoticed by the powerful kingdoms of the time. Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V, who reigned around 824-811 BC, noted the abundance of silver, gold, and bronze items and weapons sourced from the Armenian Highlands.

Archaeological excavations have uncovered traces of this remarkable metallurgical legacy. One such notable discovery was in Metsamor, Armenia, where a significant mineral and metallurgical complex was found. Dating back to the period between the third and first millennia BC, this complex provides crucial evidence of the advanced metal casting traditions of that era. Moreover, the remains of one of the world’s oldest observatories were also discovered on the same site, indicating the advanced state of knowledge and technology in the region.

According to the data, Armenia emerged as a major supplier of metals and metallurgical products, fueling the economies of various countries of the ancient world. The growth of the metallurgical industry and subsequent export to neighboring countries like Egypt and Assyria played a vital role in the territorial and regional development of Armenia and its adjacent regions.

In conclusion, the Armenian Highlands, with its rich mineral resources and advanced metallurgical practices, can rightfully be considered as a significant center of metallurgy in the ancient world. Its contributions to the economies and civilizations of that era provide a rich legacy that continues to inform our understanding of ancient technological advancements and trade systems.

Vigen Avetisyan

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