Valuable Archaeological And Ethnographic Materials Found In The Armenian Village Of Tsaghkunk

During a cleaning preceding the restoration work of one of the buildings of the village of Tsaghkunk in Gegharkunik, materials of architectural and archaeological value were discovered. These materials testify to an earlier origin of this building, as well as the village.

As “Armenpress” reports, the coordinator of the cleaning works, teacher at the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, and restoration architect David Nahatakyan said that during the cleaning and research inside one of the buildings in Tsaghkunk village in July – August and October 2019, the group had to remove the layer of earth accumulated on the floor and on the roof to avoid collapse.

The coordinator of the works was David Davtyan, researcher at the medieval department of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the NAS of Armenia.

“The purpose of the restoration of this earthen structure was the implementation of one of the projects of the Dar Foundation aimed at the development of archaeological tourism and other areas in the community. After cleaning the layer of soil, various materials of ethnographic value aged over 200 years appeared, including glazed ceramics from the 12th-15th centuries. The discovered materials are being studied at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography.”

Nahatakyan and Davtyan carried out preliminary research, and this spring, in all likelihood, excavations will be carried out both around the house and in other places of the community of interest. Valuable cross-stones from the 9-16 centuries are also preserved in the area.

But what do the revealed materials show so far? Well, they show that the old buildings preserved in Tsaghkunk and other settlements of Gegharkunik were not built in 1830, which was after the historical relocation when refugees from Maku, Bayazet, Alashkert, and Diadin settled in the Sevan basin. They had been built earlier.

At the same time, residential complexes in rural areas throughout the Armenian Highlands have had the same architectural style. From the 4th to 3rd millennium BC and until the 20th century, this style has almost invariably passed down from generation to generation. Greek geographer and commander Xenophon’s records about the structure of Armenian rural houses have reached our days.

According to Xenophon, light came into the houses through the chimney. The houses had no windows, had earthen floors and earthen walls, and were heated with a tonir. Living rooms were separated from bakeries and barns.

Our nomadic neighbors that over the centuries have repeatedly conquered our country and settled here did not have such a developed housing art and often lived in homes taken from Armenians. Our findings prove once again that Western Armenian refugees settled here in 1830, primarily in old houses built much earlier.

Of course, next to these old houses, the settlers built new dwellings which now are also of archaeological and ethnographic value. Such structures often collapse and from now on will be treated better in terms of tourism development.

I think that archaeological excavations in Tsaghkunk will shed new light on the history of this settlement and province, as well as will reveal new valuable information about the rich historical and cultural heritage created by our people.

By the way, the example of the Dar Foundation should be contagious for many. It should interest government agencies, foundations, organizations, and communities in preserving or re-exploring the historical, architectural, and archaeological heritage. Besides, the foundation should identify new ethnographic and archaeological values and thereby stimulate the development of tourism in the Republic of Armenia.

On the part of the state, a co-financing of such programs would be a positive step. Aside from that, those historical and cultural values that remain buried and are being damaged every day by the hands of indifferent or incompetent people would be preserved, exhibited, and glorified, David Nahatakyan thinks.

Khosrov Khlgatyan,

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