Birds in Antique Armenia

Birds in Antique ArmeniaDepicting birds has long been an art of its own in the Armenian culture. Birds seem to appear everywhere in ancient Armenia starting from pottery and ending with the flags of Armenian dynasties.

Bowls and jugs dating at the 11th-13th centuries AD feature images of such birds as eagles, storks, doves, wild ducks, and other species. While stylistic in their form, those images are concise in their expression. They are thought to have served as the prototypes for the bronze statuettes of waterfowl, which were typical in Late Bronze Age. Over millennia, the Lchashen bird statuettes maintained their faunal diversity. Either direct and indirect human impact has threatened many bird species, which are as a result in need of urgent attention.

The birds’ ability to fly, their beauty, and rich coloration have attracted human attention since times immemorial. The best testimony to this are images of birds seen on rocks, pottery, stamps, coins, as well as mosaic art. However, only those images cannot provide enough data on the species diversity and the birds’ specific use by humans in prehistoric times. This is instead done through the investigation of archaeological remains. The work of DAL (1952), which is based on archaeological material gathered in the medieval town of Dvin, is especially notable because of its primary focus on the analysis of bird remains.

A variety of archaeological publications over the years have reported on the plethora of bird figures in the form of petroglyphs, which occur in the mountains of Gegham, Syunik, and Vardenis. Apart from that, bird images have been found on prehistoric monuments such as vishaps, temples, bronze pottery, and other objects. Thus, this subject has received quite a lot of attention from archaeologists.

This text consists of excerpts from the study “The birds of ancient Armenia”

Zwartnots ruins of Armenian cathedral built by order of the Catholicos Nerses the Builder from 641-653.
Vishapak’ar, “Dragon Stone,” ca. 1200 B.C., found on Mt. Gegham Armenia, Sardarapat Museum.

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