Metsamor A Home of Ancient Metallurgy – 3rd Millennium BC
The largest metallurgy complex of the 3dr-1st millennia BC was recently reopened in Metsamor in the 1970-80s. The ancient settlement of Metsamor located on the Ararat Plain has been a trade, industrial, scientific, and religious center of Armenia.
The head of the historical-archaeological museum-reserve “Metsamor” Artavazd Zakyan remarks that the uniqueness of Metsamor lies within the fact that its region houses tenfold more metal and tin artifacts than Western Asia. Overall, the number of artifacts discovered here exceeds 22,000.
“People here used to smelt tin, copper, and receive bronze, which then would be exported to Egypt and Babylon. Recent studies have demonstrated that there haven’t been any tin mines in Western Asia, and tin has been brought here from the British Isles, Spain, Bohemia, and Afghanistan. We can thus conclude that Metsamor has been engaged in trade with other ancient cities,” said Zakyan.
The museum-reserve established in 1968 now testifies to the past glory of Metsamor. The showpieces displayed there allow the visitors of the museum to view the chronology of the town’s development starting from Bronze Age and ending with Middle Ages and the 17th century.
Interestingly, the royal tombs of Metsamor featured unique and rare items, including the symbols of the power of Egypt and Babylon. Among the artifacts also stands out a unique agate statuette of a frog with a cuneiform inscription containing the name of a 16th-century BC Babylonian king Ulamburiash.
Another notable artifact is a 3,700 years old carnelian stamp of cylindrical form. On it, Egyptian hieroglyphs evidence that the stamp belonged to Babylonian king Kurigalzu. In addition, two Egyptian scarabs are displayed in the museum.
Zakyan recounts that in the 16th-15th centuries BC, Egypt and Babylon fought against the Hittites and sought to ally with Armenia, which could provide them with bronze.
“The leaders of Babylon and Egypt presented Armenian kings with various items symbolizing their power. Armenia was able to support them in their war against the Hittites by supplying them with bronze and possibly horses,” says Zakyan.
Items from the Golden Fund occupy a special place among the artifacts of the museum. An ancient 4,700 years old golden hairpin is maybe the most notable among them all. According to Zakyan, the hairpin was found in a grave of a child near his temple.
“Also unique are the golden ornaments of lions on a silver belt. The rear of the animals features a swastika, the symbol of the sun. Besides, crescent-shaped, 75-76% gold adornments have been only discovered in Metsamor,” stresses Zakyan.