National Academy of Sciences of Republic of Armenia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography
ARCHAEOLOGY OF ARMENIA
IN REGIONAL CONTEXT
Proceedings of the International Conference dedicated
to the 50th Anniversary of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography
Held on September 15-17, 2009 in Yerevan
Pavel Avetisyan and Arsen Bobokhyan
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context:
Achievements and perspectives
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan 7
The Hrazdan gorge Palaeolithic project, 2008-2009
Daniel S. Adler, Benik Yeritsyan, Keith Wilkinson, Ron Pinhasi, Guy Bar-Oz,
Samvel Nahapetyan, Carolina Mallol, Francesco Berna, Richard Bailey,
Beverly A. Schmidt, Phil Glauberman, Nathan Wales, Boris Gasparyan 22
Middle Palaeolithic occupation at Hovk-1, Armenia
Ron Pinhasi, Boris Gasparyan, Samvel Nahapetyan, Guy Bar-Oz,
Lior Weissobrod, Angela Bruch, Roman Hovsepyan, Keith Wilkinson 39
From the Late Upper Palaeolithic to the Neolithic
in north-western Armenia: Preliminary results
Christine Chataigner, Boris Gasparyan, Ciril Montoya, Makoto Arimura,
Varduhi Melikyan, Jeremie Liagre, Arthur Petrosyan, Robert Ghukasyan,
David Colonge, Christophe Fourloubey, Dmitri Arakelyan, Laurence Astruc,
Samvel Nahapetyan, Roman Hovsepyan, Adrian Balasescu,
Carine Tomé, Valentin Radu 52
Activities of the Armenian-Italian archaeological expedition
in the Sevan Lake Basin, 1994-2009
Raffaele Biscione, Simon Hmayakyan, Hayk Hakobyan, Neda Parmegiani 64
A comparative technological study of Kura-Araxes ceramics
and their derivatives: Project design and first results
Rafﬁ Greenberg, Mark Iserlis 70
Re-evaluation of the ceramics of Karaz Höyük, Erzurum
Mehmet Işıklı 76
Archaeological investigations in Trialeti
Goderdzi Narimanishvili 88
A new indication for the specific dating of Trialeti culture
Konstantin Pitskhelauri, Rolan Kiladze 106
Recent methodological and technical advances
in the archaeology of Late Bronze Age residential complexes,
Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia
Ian Lindsay 110
Excavations of the cemetery of Aghavnatun: Preliminary results
Levon Petrosyan, Firdus Muradyan 126
The Iron Age fortress of Aramus, Armenia: Archaeological evidence
of the East and North Forts
Sandra Heinsch, Walter Kuntner, Hayk Avetisyan 133
The surroundings of the Khaldi temple: Preliminary results
of a new program of research on the Urartian fortress of Erebuni
Stephane Deschamps, François Fichet de Clairefontaine, Justo Traina,
Vincenzo Mutarelli, Gurgen Davtian 148
Rattling and clapping Urartian girls: Idiophones in Urartu
Ursula Seidl 163
The silver rhyta from Erebuni revisited
David Stronach 170
Archaeological research at Yervandashat, 2005-2008
Felix Ter-Martirosov 185
Beniamin (5-4th centuries BC): A palace and its dependencies
during the Achaemenid period
Felix Ter-Martirosov, Stephane Deschamps,
François Fichet de Clairfontaine, Vincenzo Mutarelli 197
Armenians depicted on Achaemenid monuments
Michael Roaf 208
Ancient Armenian sites in Armenia and north-western Iran:
Stephan Kroll 219
The discovery and first results of archaeological investigation
of Tigranakert in Artsakh, 2005-2009
Hamlet Petrosyan, Lyuba Kirakosyan, Vardges Safaryan, Aghavni Zhamkochyan,
Ruben Vardanyan, Inessa Karapetyan, Tatyana Vardanesova 223
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context:
Achievements and perspectives
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenia
Modern Armenia, a volcanic mountainous landscape with continental climate, is situated in the northern
part of the geographic unit known as Armenian Highland, and is characterized by its rich cultural heritage
among which archaeological remains have a special signiﬁ cance. Although the territory of Armenia has
been investigating archaeologically for more than a century, we are only at the beginning of understanding
of our heritage. During last ﬁ fty years the main mission of development of archaeology in Armenia falls
on the Armenian Academy of Sciences to be represented by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography.
Below we shall try to discuss the development process of Armenian archaeology presenting its achieve-
ments in the past and possible perspectives in the future - considering these questions in the frameworks
of a unique international conference held in Yerevan, 2009 and dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography.
Both geographically and culturally Armenia is a typical contact zone where during the whole history of the
region various cultural inﬂ uences were circulating, which, together with local traits, made up its common
cultural image. Such conditions turned Armenia with its surroundings into a kind of cross-road of world
developments in ancient times - evolving special characters for the local populations (cf. Kant 1899, 250;
Hegel 1956, 239).
A widely discussed question is which cultural world Armenia belonged to in antiquity. Different
authors used to speak about Armenia and surrounding Caucasian regions as belonging to “Anatolian-
Transcaucasian province” (Frankfort 1932, 34), “Mediterranean cultural world” (Kuftin 1941), “Irani-
an-Mesopotamian-Caucasian world” (Kushnareva, Chubinishvili 1970, 123), “Caspian-Aegean world”
(Areshyan 2008), “Circumpontic cultural province” (Chernykh 1992) or “Eurasian world” (Kohl 2007).
Today is clear that to seek for an absolute answer to this question is impossible. Different cultural traits are
present here, perhaps with prevalence of the Near Eastern ones in early antiquity, among which the using
of cuneiform script since the beginning of the 1st millennium BC and some other important peculiarities
should be mentioned (cf. Grosby 1997). However in more precise terms, modern Armenia was a real part
of the mountainous region between the Caucasus and Taurus, around the lakes Van, Sevan and Urmia (=
southern Georgia, western Azerbaijan, eastern Turkey and north-western Iran). This landscape, to be often
mythologized in the Near Eastern and later Greek sources (cf. Lipiński 1971), represented a particular
cultural world which is deﬁ ned ﬁ rst of all as a community of bearers of similar value systems and interde-
Hence the archaeology of modern Armenia can be perceived only in the regional context and in collabo-
ration with specialists dealing with the mentioned cultural region. During Soviet times there existed very
close connections between Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian archaeologists, however the contacts with
the Western and Turkish or Iranian specialists were almost absent. Today the situation has been changed. After
the collapse of the Soviet Union and opening of borders the archaeologists of the region came into a direct
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
contact with European and American colleagues. Some recent publications on various international meetings
(Marro, Hauptmann 2000; Smith, Rubinson 2003; Sagona 2005; 2010; Helwing, Özfırat 2005; Lyonnet
2007; Rubinson, Sagona 2008; Hansen et al. 2010; Kroll et al. 2012) as well as exhibitions (Heublein 1995;
Santrot 1996; Gam ba schidze et al. 2001; Fichet de Clairfontaine 2007; Sintes, Grigorian 2007; Donabédian,
Mutaﬁ an 2010) contributed to the open dialogue between the specialists from the mentioned countries.
According to the modern archaeological evidence (cf. Fig.1,2), the territory of Armenia has been po-
pulated since the Palaeolithic (among the important sites are Artin, Arzni, Lusakert, Erevan, etc.). As a
northern part of Fertile Crescent, Armenia became one of the regions of establishment of productive way
of life since the Neolithic (10000-5200 BC) and Chalcolithic (5200-3500 BC) (Aratashen, Aknashen,
Teghut, Areni). Especially noteworthy is in Armenia the Early Bronze Age (3500-2500 BC) to be known
by its Kura-Araxes culture which spread in the territories of the whole Fertile Crescent and represented a
peculiar cultural system existing more than 1000 years (Shengavit, Mokhrablur, Harich, Karnut). The next
Middle Bronze Age (2400-1500 BC) is characterized by existence of four different cultural groups - Tria-
leti-Vanadsor, Sevan-Artsakh, Karmir-Berd, Karmir-Vank and by domination of semi-pastoralist economy
(Karashamb, Karmir-Berd, Uzerlik-Tepe, Verin-Naver). The Late Bronze (1500-1200 BC) and Early Iron
Age (1200-900 BC) societies with their Lchashen-Metsamor culture already demonstrate clear traits of
complex societies and state formations (Lchashen, Metsamor, Lori-Berd, Gegharot), which during the
Middle and Late Iron Ages (900-600 BC) result in crea tion of the Urartian state of Ancient Near Eastern
nature using cuneiform script (Erebuni, Karmir-Blur, Oshakan, Aramus). During the Classical (600 BC-
450 AD) as well as Medieval (450-1700 AD) periods the territory of Armenia is clearly known by the traits
of Armenian culture (Armavir, Artashat, Dvin, Garni).
This summarizing picture is a result of hundred years archaeological work in Armenia, the main de-
velopment stages of which we shall try to present brieﬂ y below.1
Stage I: Archaeology as a discipline was formed during the 19th century. This was a time when Arme-
nia was divided between Russian and Ottoman empires. First reﬂ ections on ancient sites situated in both
parts of Armenia are present in the works of Armenian (Y. Shahkhatuneants, S. Jalaleants, M. Smbateants,
G. Alishan) and European (F. Schulz, E. Huntington, C. Lehmann-Haupt, H. Lynch) intellectuals and tra-
ve lers of that century.
Developments of archaeological tradition on the state level are discernable since the mid 19th century
mainly within the Russian part. So the Russian Imperial Archaeological Society and the Imperial Archaeo-
logical Commission, founded during 1850s, undertook the ﬁ rst works in the Caucasian region. In 1852,
the Russian Imperial Geographic Society opened a Caucasian department in Tbilisi, which was closed in
1864 and its collections became the foundation for the Museum of the Caucasus (Tbilisi, 1867). A regional
branch of the Commission was established in Tbilisi during the 1880s which published the ﬁ rst archaeo-
logical journal in Russia - Archaeological Commission Reports.
1 The problems of development and periodization of Armenian archaeology have been reﬂ ected in some publications (Gha-
fadaryan 1948; 1970; Arakelyan, Martirosyan 1967; Arakelyan 1984; Areshyan 1987; Bobokhyan 2001). For the context
of Russian imperial and Soviet archaeology cf. Esayan 1977; Field, Price 1947; Miller 1956; Genning 1975; Bulkin et al.
1982; Trigger 1989, 207-243; Klein 1993. For Post-Soviet archaeological developments in Armenia cf. Kalantaryan, Mel-
konyan 2005; Kalantaryan 2006; Sintes, Grigorian 2007, 15-22. Among noteworthy summarizing reﬂ ections towards the
question by the side of international scholars should be especially mentioned Smith 2005; Lindsay, Smith 2006 and Smith
et al. 2009, 10-20. Cf. also Kohl, Tsetskhladze 1995 and Shnirellman 2001, who try to decipher “primordialistic” traits in
Caucasian among which also Armenian archaeological thought! Towards the bibliography of Armenian archaeology of
Post-Soviet period cf. Kalantaryan, Melkonyan 2005, 130-137; Kalantaryan I. 2006. For comparison with development
stages of South Caucasian archaeology cf. Akhvlediani 2010; Sagona 2010, 143-149.
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context 9
First archaeological works in Armenia were cemetery excavations in northern part of the country -
1871 at Akner by E. Yeritsyan, 1879 at Redkin-Lager by F. Bayern, 1887 in the Debed river basin by J. de
Morgan. The 5th Archaeological Congress taken place at Tbilisi was especially important for development
of archaeology in the Caucasus and Armenia. R. Virchow’s 1882 report on this conference in Berlin intro-
duced the archaeology of the Caucasus for European scientists.
Stage II: The next stage of development of Armenian archaeology is connected with the name of
N. Marr. His investigations at the medieval Armenian capital Ani (1892-1893, 1904-1917) brought new
and advanced methodologies (cf. Marr 1934). So, N. Marr introduced interdisciplinary approaches in ar-
chaeological research, combined excavations with regional survey. He managed to develop at Ani also a
school which included many young scholars who became later the leading specialists in different spheres
(T.Toramanyan, H.Orbeli, A. Kalantar, G.Kapantsyan, N.Tokarsky).
Stage III: After the World War I, with establishment of statehood and peace in Armenia, precondi-
tions were appeared for development of scientiﬁ c institutions, museums and other cultural and research
organizations, which should demonstrate ofﬁ cial approach towards the protection and investigation of
spiritual and material values of the land.
With creation of the Armenian Republic in 1918, two new institutions were founded: Yerevan State
University and Yerevan State Museum. In 1919 the archaeologist A. Kalantar became one of the founders
of the new university in Yerevan and published in 1923 the ﬁ rst handbook of archaeology (Kalantar 1923).
With the coming of Soviet rule in Armenia the museum and the university were reshaped. Alongside these
institutions, a new Commission for the Preservation of Antiquities was founded in Yerevan in 1923 as part
of the Peoples Kommissariat of Education. In 1924 the Armenian Institute of Science and Art was estab-
lished, which was renamed the Institute of the Material Culture of Armenia in 1926 and was reorganized in
1937 when the Armenian branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences was founded. In 1930, a department
of archaeology was founded within the university and A. Kalantar became its ﬁ rst head.
These were not easy times for the intellectuals in Armenia. Among many archaeologists to be sent to
exile in Siberia were A.Kalantar, S.Barkhudaryan and E.Baiburtyan, the last well known by his high qua-
lity excavations at Shengavit and Mukhanattapa in Yerevan by which he deﬁ ned for the ﬁ rst time the Shen-
gavit or Kura-Araxes culture. E. Baiburtyan can be considered as the founder of prehistoric archaeology in
Armenia, whose important work towards periodization of Armenian archaeology has been published only
recently - after seventy years (Baiburtyan 2011).
Three archaeological schools played essential role for formation of a new generation of archaeolo-
gists in Armenia: Excavations at medieval fortress Anberd by H. Orbeli in 1930s (with participation of K.
Ghafadaryan, B.Piotrovskii, E.Baiburtyan), excavations at Urartian site Karmir-Blur by B. Piotrovskii in
1930-1940s (with participation of H.Martirosyan, S.Esayan) and excavations at Garni by B.Arakelyan in
1940-1950s (with participation of G.Tiratsyan, Z.Khachatryan, E.Khanzadyan).
Stage IV: In 1959 the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography was established, having been sepa-
rated from the Institute of History (founded in 1943) and B. Arakelyan became its ﬁ rst director (later direc-
tors are G. Tiratsyan, A. Kalantaryan and P. Avetisyan). This was an important event signifying the birth
of an organized Armenian archaeological school. Beginning with the ﬁ rst days of its establishment the
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography became the main institution investigating the cultural heritage
By the efforts of the Departments of Ancient, Old and Medieval Archaeology of the institute and
also collaborating organizations many settlements and cemeteries were studied. Targets of such investiga-
tions were the Ararat valley (H.Martirosyan, E. Khanzadyan, G. Tiratsyan, R.Torosyan, A.Kalantaryan,
Z.Khachatryan, G.Areshyan, H.Israelyan), Tavush (S.Esayan), Lori (I. Gharibyan, S. Devejyan), Shirak
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
(T.Khachatryan, R. Badalyan), Sevan basin (H. Mnatsakanyan, A.Piliposyan, L.Petrosyan, S.Hmayakyan,
N.Engibaryan), Eghegnadsor (H.Melkonyan), Syunik (O.Khnkikyan), Aragatsotn (P.Avetisyan, H.Ave-
tisyan, G.Tumanyan, F.Muradyan, H.Simonyan), Hrazdan river valley (V.Hovhannisyan, L.Biyagov),
etc. In particular sites were excavated such as Dvin (S.Ter-Avetisyan, K.Ghafadaryan, A.Kalantaryan),
Artashat (B.Arakelyan, Z.Khachatryan), Argishtihinili-Armavir (B.Arakelyan, G. Tira tsyan, H.Mar ti-
rosyan, I.Karapetyan), Shengavit (S.Sardaryan, H.Simonyan), Erebuni (K.Hovhannisyan, F.Ter-Mar-
tirosov, A.Piliposyan), Teghut (R.Torosyan), Aygevan (S.Esayan), Metsamor (E. Khanzadyan), Harich
(T.Khachatryan), Mokhrablur (G. Areshyan), Lori -Berd (S. Devejyan), Oshakan (S.Esayan, A.Kalanta-
ryan), Lchashen (H.Mnatsakanyan, L.Petrosyan), Nerkin Getashen (A.Piliposyan), Aparan (F.Muradyan),
Karnut (R.Badalyan), Talin (P.Avetisyan), Agarak (P.Avetisyan), Karashamb (E.Khanzadyan, A.Ge-
vor gyan, V.Hovhannisyan, F.Muradyan), Jrvezh (G. Tumanyan), Aramus (H.Avetisyan), Verin Naver
(H.Simonyan), Hoghmik (H.Hakobyan), Erevan cave (B.Eritsyan), etc.
In the common context of site investigations also separate problems have been explored dur-
ing this stage, among which especially worth mentioning are works towards rock-carvings of Arme-
nia (H.Martirosyan, G.Karakhanyan). Since the 1970s increased the scientiﬁ c contribution towards ar-
chaeology of Armenia: Among such investigations should be mentioned metallurgical spectral analyses
(A.Gevorgyan, S.Mandrikyan), physical anthropological (R.Mkrtchyan, N.Kochar), palaeozoological
(S.Mezhlumyan, N.Manaserova) and palaeobotanical (M.Tumanyan, R. Hovsepyan) studies.
The 1980s were a border in approaches. If before 1980s the main excavations were concentrated on
central sites, then after the 1980s a new generation of students chose smaller sites in peripheries for their
investigations. If before 1980s the scholars were concentrated on reconstruction of provincial archaeolo-
gies e.g. that of Shirak (T.Khachatryan 1975), Ararat (E. Khanzadyan 1985), Tavush (S.Esayan 1976) and
Syunik (O.Khnkikyan 2002), then after 1980s the revision of chrono logies and periodization systems be-
came the most central ﬁ eld of discussions (G.Areshyan, P. Avetisyan, R.Badalyan: cf. Areshyan et al. 1990).
Stage V: With the establishment of the independent Armenian state in 1991 a new stage began in the
history of Armenian archaeology, in the outcome of which working methods were wholly changed, inter-
disciplinary investigations began to be used more widely. In the context of new radiocarbon data, former
imaginations towards chronology, periodization and sequence of archaeological cultures were reconsi-
dered (cf. Avetisyan 2003; Smith et al. 2009).
During the last twenty years the possibilities of collaboration with advanced European and Ameri-
can centres increased which brought new perspectives for development of archaeology in Armenia. The
ﬁ rst of them was the International Program for Anthropological Research in the Caucasus founded by
P. Kohl, R.Badalyan and Z.Kikodze, which initiated excavations at Horom in the early 1990s. The pro-
ject was joined by other well known archaeologists such as D.Stronach and S. Kroll. Afterwards new
international research programs were developed, among which especially worth mentioning are works of
Armenian-American Project ArAGATS (directed by R.Badalyan and A.Smith), Armenian-Italian Project
investigating Sevan Lake basin (directed by S.Hmayakyan and R.Biscione), Armenian-French collabora-
tion in Syunik (directed by P.Avetisyan and C.Chataigner), Armenian-French and Armenian-American
collaboration at Erebuni (directed by F.Ter-Martirosov, D.Stronach and S.Deschamps), Armenian-French
collaboration in Beniamin (directed by F.Ter-Martirosov and S.Deschamps), Armenian-American Project
“Vorotan” in Syunik (directed by M.Zardaryan and J.Cherry), Armenian-Austrian collaboration in Kotayk
(directed by H.Avetisyan and W.Allinger-Csollich). Worth mentioning are different Stone Age projects
directed by B. Gasparyan and international collaborators (D.S.Adler, G.Bar-Oz, R.Pinhasi), which re-
sulted also in discovery of such unique archaeological sites as the cave of Areni with extraordinary good
preservation state of organic materials.
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context 11
Besides international projects, the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography organizes its own exca-
vations in many sites of Armenia and Artsakh. Among such undertakings is the recent discovery of the city
Tigranakert, to be founded by the Armenian king Tigran II in Artsakh during the 1st century BC.
As a result of the mentioned works thousands of investigations have been published in Armenia and
abroad - mainly in the special series of the Institute (Archaeological Excavations in Armenia, Archaeolo-
gical Sites of Armenia, Corpus of Armenian Epigraphics, Culture of Ancient Armenia) but also as separate
monographs. The main journals where archaeological articles have been published are Historical-Philolo-
gical Journal and Herald of Social Sciences of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia as well as Soviet
Archaeology and Herald of Ancient History of the Soviet Academy of Sciences centered at Moscow. In
recent times a new journal, published also by the Institute, came into existence - Aramazd: Armenian Jour-
nal of Near Eastern Studies, which presents archaeological articles in European langua ges. Also many
European and American peer-reviewed journals have accepted contributions of Armenian archaeologists
and their collaborators (among which especially worth mentioning are Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici,
Anatolian Studies, American Journal of Archaeology, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan,
etc.). Some of the joint projects have been already published as monographs (cf. Biscione et al. 2002;
Smith et al. 2009).
As a result of long lasted archaeological studies appeared investigations, which summarize achieve-
ments of Armenian archaeology - deﬁ ning culture-historical groups, their chronology and periodization,
the role of archaeological material in historical context (cf. Piotrovskii 1949; Arakelyan 1959-1964; Mar-
tirosyan 1964; Aghayan et al. 1971-1976; Tiratsyan 1988; Kushnareva, Markovin 1994; Kushnareva 1997;
Badalyan, Avetisyan 2007).
Despite great works conducted during the 20th century, Armenian archaeology is far from being perfect.
We would like to mention here only some questions and problems which the Armenian archaeology should
deal with in the near future.
During the last hundred years a great quantity of archaeological material has been accumulated. One
of the most important tasks of Armenian archaeology is to quantify the present materials, according to
modern computer based criteria.
An essential part of those materials in the museums remain to be published. Their publication should
be one of the most important strategies of our archaeology.
These materials need to be summarized for drawing essential conclusions. Hence summarizing inves-
tigations could be actual in the future. They will result in the creation of handbooks, bibliographies, etc.
Developing multidisciplinary scientiﬁ c works (using Geographic Information Systems, radiocarbon
dating and palaeoenvironmental investigations, etc.) should be particularly stressed for modernizing Ar-
Integrating academic activity in education system and creating a new generation of archaeologists
who are ready to work in the most modern methods is another task. In this respect, continuation of suc-
cessful collaboration with the Yerevan State University’s Department of Archaeology as well as with other
archaeological departments abroad seems to be very essential.
An important task for the archaeologists of Armenia should be publication of popular works to make
the academic archaeology as an important part of social life. Also active preservation and conservation of
archaeological sites could help in making them open for the wider masses.
During Soviet period Armenian archaeology was practically isolated from the main developments
of world archaeology. It was evolving in itself as a part of dogmatic Marxistic archaeology - far from
theoretical discourse between functional, structuralistic, processual, post-processual, cognitive and other
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
“archaeo logies” during Post-World War II times (cf. Trigger 1989, 289-369; Hodder 1991; Bernbeck 1997,
271-319). Western ideas beyond culture-historical thought began penetrating into the Soviet archaeologi-
cal reality from the end of 1970s and especially in 1980s in the form of short reﬂ ections (cf. Klein 1978)
or partial translations (cf. Gardin 1983). After the fall of the Soviet Union and opening of mental borders,
together with the colleagues from European countries and United States of America also ideas came, which
are still in the process of gradual implementation. However we need time to ﬁ ll the gap. In this respect
deepening the contacts with international archaeologists and managing exchange of experiences in me-
thods and materials, organizing joint expeditions and workshop/conferences is one of the most essential
tasks for Armenian archaeology today. Hence we are very open for collaboration with international col-
leagues who are interested in constructive dialogue.
With its rich heritage and human resources the archaeology in Armenia has a great potential of deve-
lopment. Discoveries of such prominent sites as Lchashen, Karashamb, Lori-Berd, Areni, etc. deﬁ ne once
more the role of Armenia in the broader context of world archaeology and justify the importance of con-
tinuation of explorations of the region in the future on the background of modern methods and approaches.
First international meeting on Armenian archaeology
As mentioned above, organizing of conferences and workshops could be especially important for deve-
lopment of archaeology in Armenia, which would summarize the work done and raise new questions and
ideas for future perspective. During its existence the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography has orga-
nized many local and some international conferences, among which especially worth mentioning is the
1982 conference at Yerevan named “Cultural progress during the Bronze and Iron Ages” with participants
from different Soviet Republics. This was the last big archaeological conference in Armenia. In this res-
pect, it became necessary to organize a new international conference which would summarize the achieve-
ments of Armenian archaeology in the Post-Soviet period. As a background for such a conference turned
out to be the 50th anniversary of the Institute.
During September 15-17, 2009 an international meeting took place in Yerevan under the name
“Archaeology of Armenia in regional context: Achievements and perspectives”, which was unpre cedented
in its scale (Fig. 3-12). More than 50 archaeologists from Armenia and abroad took part in the conference.
Among international participants were 20 specialists from 11 countries (Georgia, Turkey, Italy, France,
Austria, Germany, Spain, Ireland, England, United States of America and Israel). Problems concerning
various periods from the Stone Age to Medieval times were discussed within three working days.
The ﬁ rst day of the conference began with the ofﬁ cial opening by the President of Armenian Acad-
emy of Sciences R. Martirosyan and the director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography P. Ave-
tisyan, who underlined the importance of archaeology in modern Armenian developments. Armenian and
international colleagues considered common problems of Armenian archaeology, as well as main results
of joint projects. Also the achievements of Stone Age archaeology were discussed. The following reports
were presented: Armenia and the global transformation of archaeology in the 21st century (A. Kalantaryan,
G. Areshyan, Ch. Stanish, R. Boytner), Main results of Stone Age studies in Armenia, 2001-2009 (B.
Gasparyan), Achievements of Armenian medieval archaeology (A. Kalantaryan, H. Melkonyan), Activi-
ties of the Armenian-Italian archaeological expedition in the Sevan Lake basin, 1994-2009 (R. Biscione,
S. Hmayakyan, H. Hakobyan, N. Parmegiani), Main results of investigations of the project “Vorotan” in
Syunik, 2005-2007 (M. Zardaryan, S. Melkonyan), Azokh cave: Results of excavations in 2002-2008 (Y.
Fernandez-Jalvo, T. King, P. Andrews, L. Yepiskoposyan, N. Moloney, J. Murray, P. Dominguez-Alonso,
L. Asryan, P. Ditchﬁ eld, J. van der Made, T. Torres, P. Sevilla, M. Nieto, I. Caceres, E. Allue, D. Marin,
T. Sanz), The Hrazdan river gorge Palaeolithic project, 2008-2009 (D.S.Adler, B. Yeritsyan, K. Wilkinson,
R. Pinhasi, G. Bar-Oz, S. Nahapetyan, C. Mallol, F. Berna, R. Bailey, B. Schmidt, P. Glauberman, N.
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context 13
Wales, B. Gasparyan), Middle Palaeolithic occupation at Hovk-1, Armenia (R. Pinhasi, B. Gasparian, K.
Wilkinson, S. Nahapetyan, R. Hovsepyan, G. Bar-Oz, R. Bailey, A. Bruch, D. Hoffmann, D.S. Adler, A. Pike,
M. Stephens), From the Epi-Palaeolithic to the Chalcolithic in north-western Armenia: Preliminary results
(C. Chataigner, B. Gasparyan, C.Montoya, M. Arimura, V. Melikyan, J.Liagre, A.Petrosyan, R. Ghukasyan,
D.Colonge, C.Fourloubey, D.Arakelyan, L. Astruc, S.Nahapetyan, R. Hovsepyan, A.Balasescu, C. Tomé,
V.Radu), Looking for the Neolithic in the Ararat valley: French-Armenian excavations at Aratashen
(P. Lombard, R. Badalyan), Areni-1: New light on the earliest civilizations of the Armenian Highland
(G. Areshyan, B. Gasparyan, P. Avetisyan, R. Pinhasi), Excavation results of Godedsor, 2005-2008
(J. Palumbi, C. Chataigner, P. Avetisyan).
The second day of the conference was dedicated to the problems of Bronze and Iron Age archaeo-
logy. In particular questions dealing with distribution, periodization, dating, ceramic techno logy of Ku-
ra-Araxes culture were considered. The Georgian colleagues presented latest discoveries of Georgian
archaeology and especially on the basis of excavations in Trialeti. Also achievements of Urartian and
Achaemenid period archaeology of Armenia were touched upon. The following topics were discussed:
Periodization and absolute chronology of Kura-Araxes materials of Armenia in the light of new data (R.
Badalyan), Re-evaluating pottery from Karaz Höyük, Erzurum (M. Işıklı), Early Bronze Age tombs in
Joghaz (G. Areshyan, H. Simonyan), Preliminary results of the 2009 excavations at Shengavit (H. Si-
monyan, M. Rothman, D. Rahimi), Towards a comparative technology of Kura-Araxes pottery and its de-
rivatives (R. Greenberg, M. Iserlis), Early Bronze Age sanctuary of Mets Sepasar (L. Eganyan), A dwell-
ing complex of Kura-Araxes culture in Agarak (G. Tumanyan), New data for absolute dating of Trialeti
culture (K. Pizkhelauri, R. Kiladze), New archaeological investigations in Trialeti (G. Narimanishvili),
Excavations of the cemetery of Aghavnatun: Preliminary results (L. Petrosyan, F. Muradyan), Recent
methodological and technical advances in the archaeology of Late Bronze Age residential complexes,
Tsaghkahovit plain (I. Lindsay), Excavations of the Kanagegh cemetery, 1999-2004 (A. Piliposyan, R.
Mkrtchyan), Three silver rhyta from Erebuni: New light on Armenian metallwork of Achaemenid period
(D. Stronach), The Iron Age fortress of Aramus: Archaeological evidence of the East and North Forts (W.
Kuntner, S. Heinsch, H. Avetisyan), Erebuni - The edge of the Temple of Khaldi: Preliminary results (S.
Deschamps, F. Fichet de Clairfontaine, G. Traina, V. Mutarelli, G. Davtian), Dance and music in Urartu
(U. Seidl), Reﬂ ections of Urartian and Achaemenid cultural elements in the materials of Lori-Berd tombs
During the last day the problems of Classical and Medieval archaeo logy were stressed. There were
presented results of recent excavations of such sites as Tigranakert, Artashat, Hoghmik, Beniamin, Yer-
vandashat, Ani. The Hellenistic settlements of Armenia were considered in the context of similar sites in
north-western Iran. Reports towards depictions of Armenians in Achaemenid art, the new found Mongo-
lian grave and eparchies of Armenian Church were also noteworthy. The following reports were presented:
Armenians depicted on Achaemenid monuments (M. Roaf), Beniamin: New data on the palaces and the
Achaemenid habitat (F. Ter-Martirosov, S. Deschamps, F. Fichet de Clairfontaine, E. Mutarelli), The ex-
cavations of Yervandashat, 2005-2008 (F. Ter-Martirosov), Ancient Armenian sites in Armenia and north-
western Iran: Hellenistic period (S. Kroll), The discovery and ﬁ rst results of archaeological investigation
of Tigranakert in Artsakh, 2005-2009 (H. Petrosyan, L. Kirakosyan, V. Safaryan, A. Zhamkochyan, R.
Vardanyan, I. Karapetyan, T. Vardanesova), The results of excavations at Artashat, 2003-2009 (Z. Kha-
chatryan), The problems and results of investigations of the pagan temple at Hoghmik, 2006-2008 (H.
Hakobyan), Epigraphic attestations of eparchies of the Armenian Church (G. Sargsyan), A newly found
Mongolian tomb in Armenia (H. Melkonyan, D. Mirijanyan), Excavations of caves in the suburbs of Ani
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
A great deal of information towards the material culture of ancient Armenia and surrounding regions
were considered during the conference. For the ﬁ rst time in Armenia the archaeologists of different tradi-
tions came together to create a constructive dialogue towards common scientiﬁ c problems. We hope that
similar meetings will be more often both in Armenia and surrounding countries which will contribute to
more profound understanding of our cultural heritage and to creating of universal scientiﬁ c terminology.
The present publication of selected materials of the conference should be a modest contribution to this
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Archaeology of Armenia in regional context 17
Fig. 1. The main archaeological sites investigated in the Republic of Armenia, 1991-2009.
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
Ages/Periods Inner divisions Chronologies, ca. Culture-historical
distributions Key sites Important events
Lower 2000000-300/250000 BP Oldowan, Acheulean Haghtanak-3, Aghavna-
tun-1, Nor Geghi-1 First inhabitants - Homo Erectus
Middle 300/250000-40/35000 BP Mousterian Bagratashen-1, Hovk-1,
Yerevan-1, Lusakert-1, 2 Early hunters and gatherers-Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Archaic Modern
Upper 40/35000 BP-12000 BC Aurignacien, Epigravetian Aghitu-3, Kalavan-1 Expansion of Modern Humans (Homo sapiens sapiences), appearance of art
Epipalaeolithic 12000-10000 BC Trialetian, Zarzian Apnagyugh-8/Kmlo-2 Establishment of modern climatic conditions (Holocene), intensive hunter-gatherers
Prepottery 10000-6000 BC Apnagyugh (earlier stages)
and Aratashen (later stages)
Kuchak-1, Aratashen II Passing to productive life style, without pottery
Pottery 6000-5500/5200 BC Aratashen-Shulaveri-Sho-
mutepe tradition Aratashen I,
Aknashen II-V Establishing productive life style,
beginning of pottery production, ﬁ rst use of native copper
Early/Middle 5200-4300 BC Adablur-Sioni tradition Aratashen 0, Aknashen I
Artashat, Adablur Early agriculturists with relations to Syro-Mesopotamian world (Halaf and Ubaid),
beginning of long distance trade (Armenia as obsidian supplier)
Late 4300-3500 BC Areni, Godedzor tradition Areni, Teghut, Godedzor Early agriculturists with relations to Syro-Mesopotamian (Late Ubaid, Uruk) and
northern Cuacasian (Early Maikop) worlds, early extractive copper metallurgy
Early 3500-2400 BC Kura-Araxes culture Elar, Mokhrablur,
Shengavit, Gegharot Formation of big cultural world of red-black burnished pottery overlapping the region
of Fertile Crescent, early complex societies, mass production of arsenical bronze
Middle 2400-1500 BC Kurgan, Trialeti-Vanadsor,
and Kamir-Vank cultures
Cultural diversity, various sequential groups of black (early stage) and painted
(developed and late stages) pottery traditions, domination of nomadic life style, rela-
tions to Anatolia and the Aegean, use of tin bronze
Late 1500-1200 BC Lchashen-Metsamor culture Lchashen, Metsamor,
Gegharot, Artik Age of “Internationalism”, local kingdoms (Haiasa) with active relations to Hurrian,
Hittite and Mesopotamian centres, use of unalloyed tin, lead and antimony
Early 1200-900 BC Lchashen-Metsamor culture Metsamor, Lchashen,
Dvin, Nazrvan Militarization of society, “cyclopean fortresses”, cultural (“grooved ware” traditions)
and political (Nairi, Etiuni) uniﬁ cation of tribes of the Armenian Highland, use of iron
Middle 900-700 BC Lchashen-Metsamor and
Bianili/Van cultures Metsamor, Erebuni,
Birth of Ancient Near Eastern administration around Lake Van (= Biainili-Urartu)
and its spreading to the territory of modern Armenia (= Etiuni), using of cuneiform
and hieroglyphic script, wide use of iron
Late 700-600 BC Urartian Karmir-Blur,
Oshakan, Aramus Formation of a koiné through integration of the local (Lchashen-Metsamor/Etiuni)
and Bianili/Van cultures
Early 600-200 BC Yervandid Armavir, Beniamin,
Karchaghbyur Armenian state under the rule of Yervandid dynasty with inﬂ uences from
Achae menid Iran
Middle 200-1 BC Artashesid Artashat, Armavir,
Tigranakert Armenian centralized state under the rule of Artashesid dynasty with inﬂ uences from
Hellenistic world, ﬂ ourishing of urban life
Late 1-450 AD Arsacid Artashat, Garni, Dvin Armenian state under the rule of Arsacid dynasty with inﬂ uences from Rome and
Parthia, conversion to Christianity, creation of Armenian alphabet
Early 450-900 AD Marzpan and Arabian Dvin, Aruch, Talin Armenian autonomy (marzpanutiun) in Sassanid Iran, Arabian rule
Developed 900-1400 AD Bagratid, Zacharid,
Lusinian Ani, Lore, Eghegis Armenian states with dominance of Bagratid dynasty, Armenian principalities under
Zakharid dynasty, Armenian state in Cilicia, active cultural relations to Byzantium,
Georgia and Central Europe, ﬁ rst inﬁ ltrations of nomadic tribes (Seljuks, Mongols)
Late 1400-1700 AD Ottoman and Persian Yerevan, Lore, Ushi Turkmen, Ottoman and Persian rule in Armenia, Armenian principalities in moun-
tainous regions, decrease of urban life, migrations
Fig. 2. Schematic periodization of archaeology of Armenia based on radiocarbon (Palaeolithic-Early Iron) and comparative-historical (Middle Iron-Medieval) chronology.
For consulting we thank Boris Gasparyan (Palaeolithic-Chalcolithic), Ruben Badalyan (Neolithic-Early Bronze), Mkrtich Zardaryan (Classical), Husik Melkonyan (Medieval)
Archaeology of Armenia in regional context 19
Fig.3. During the conference: First row - J. Palumbi, C.
Chataigner, S. Melkonyan, P. Lombard, U. Seidl.
Fig. 4. During the conference: Discussion between
H. Khachatryan and F. Ter-Martirosov.
Fig. 5. During the conference: R. Badalyan,
H. Avetisyan, S. Devejyan, U. Seidl.
Fig. 6. M. Işıklı reporting on
Fig. 7. Conference participants visiting Noravank church.
Pavel Avetisyan, Arsen Bobokhyan
Fig. 12. Conference participants at Karashamb together with archaeology students of the Yerevan University.
Fig. 8. Within the church of Noravank: U. Seidl, M. Roaf,
D. Stronach, G. Areshyan.
Fig. 11. At Karashamb: V. Melikyan presenting
the results of her excavations.
Fig. 9. Conference participants
in the cave of Areni.
Fig. 10. In the cave of Areni: P. Avetisyan discussing
the stratigraphy with G. Narimanishvili and M. Zardaryan.