Excavations near the village of Gegharot are conducted in the scopes of the cooperative Armenian-American project ArAGATS, Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies. Co-directors of the project are archaeologists Ruben Badalyan and his American colleague Adam Smith, a professor at Cornell University.
At the end of 2017, the results of the “Project of the year and construction – 2017” has been summarized. In the nomination “Restoration and renovation of cultural-archaeological monuments”, the winner became Lilit Ter-Minasyan, the granddaughter of architect Mikayel Mazmanyan and an employee of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. She received a diploma for her project of restoration and preservation of a burial mound on the territory of the Gegharot-4 ancient monument.
Within the framework of the project ArAGATS, ancient monuments in the vicinity of Mount Aragats are being investigated. For instance, experts have discovered three 3300 years old temples in a hill fortress, which had supposedly been used for divination. Each of the sanctuaries consists of a room with a clay pool filled with ashes and pottery. In addition, archaeologists found a variety of artifacts, including horned clay idols, stamps, censers, and large quantities of marked animal bones.
In regard to burial mounds, they are located not too far from the Aparan – Spitak highway. At the moment, there are 6 such mounds discovered. Lilit Ter-Minasyan said, “They feature unique architectural composition. In the middle of the mounds is a burial chamber covered by a stone shell. The fourth mound housed 12 units of pottery, as well as a human jawbone. The project of reconstruction intends to cover the mound with toughened glass and restore the initial shape of the stone shell.”
In the future, it is planned to establish a museum-reserve and build parking places and souvenir stores in Gegharot. Ter-Minasyan thinks that the Gegharot monument may become one of the most popular sights among the tourists in Armenia.
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