Unique 8th-7th-Millennium Settlement Discovered in Armenia

Unique 8th-7th-Millennium Settlement Discovered in ArmeniaIn 2017, a total of 39 archaeological expeditions, including 16 international expeditions, were conducted in the provinces of Armenia, said Pavel Avetisyan, the Director of Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of Armenia on January 12, 2018.

According to Avetisyan, the most remarkable result of the expedition is the monument Lernagog 1 in the Armavir Province. Lernagog 1 is an ancient habitat dating back to the 8-7th millennia BC: it is the oldest known habitat in the region. Until just recently, the most ancient site of habitat known in Armenia was dated at the first quarter of the 6th millennium BC (Aknashen, Masis).

It should be noted that Armenian and Japanese experts were engaged in the archaeological excavations at the site of Lernagog 1.

Another goal of the Institute is to gather data about early agricultural societies of the 7th-4th millennia BC, said Avetisyan.

In 2017, circular, wheel-like monuments near the village of Arteni were examined by an Armenian-French group. The purpose of those structures is yet unknown, but the group actively carries out research to uncover the mystery of the Arteni monuments.

The monument of Arteni.

As Avetisyan explained, the investigation of similar monuments in Armenia commenced only 3 years ago. Such structures typically consist of two parts: the so-called kite and jellyfish. The kite features two long walls that are connected to each other with round buildings with towers. Supposedly, the walls have been used to trap prey during hunting.

Next to those kite-traps usually are small settlements of circular form. The settlements are radially divided into separate blocks. From above, the blocky structure resembles jellyfish or some kind of a wheel.

In Armenia, there are over 80 kites and tens of jellyfish settlements discovered on the slopes of Mount Aragats as well as the Gegham Mountains. One of them is located near the village of Arteni in the Aragatsotn Province.

Avetisyan added, “There is one important fact. In these areas of the Armenian Highlands, particularly, in the basin of the Aras River (called Araks in Armenia), we have hundreds of ancient cemeteries dated between late 3rd millennium and first quarter of the 2nd millennium BC, but we don’t have any settlements.” He argues that maybe those jellyfish have been some kind of temporary settlements, in which ancient people lived as long as the local lands satisfied their needs.

“The Ministry of Culture needs to protect these sites as at the moment, any tractor driver could damage them. Significant financial resources have been invested in the excavations, and the government now needs to only guard the sites,” noted Avetisyan.

The subject of the research was the connection and mutual influence between the Kur-Aras and Uruk cultures. In addition, the archaeologists “saved” the monuments that would be otherwise buried under the to-be-built North-South highway.

“We can say that there are no monuments between Tain and Lanjik that could be left beneath the road. These are very good results,” said Avetisyan.

In 2018, the excavations will continue. The establishment of summer schools is currently planned, particularly, the Institute will host a summer school in Masis in cooperation with the University of Los Angeles.

Անիվ կոչվող վաղ բրոնզեդարյան բնակատեղի Արտենիում. Կադրեր դրոնով

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