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EB Gegharot

The last few days on Gegharot’s West Citadel have brought a flurry of new information about the Early Bronze Age occupation of the site.  The complex stratigraphy is still being worked out but a series of superimposed floors, all with distinct hearth or hearth/oven features are helping us to put together a clearer picture.

Armine Harutyunyan and the 3 EB hearths of T30.

Armine Harutyunyan and the 3 EB hearths of T30.

The upper most hearth has the distinctive tri-lobed form of many Kura-Araxes hearths (mid-distance on the left and below).

The remains of a tri-lobed Kura-Araxes hearth from Gegharot Operation T31.

The remains of a tri-lobed Kura-Araxes hearth from Gegharot Operation T31.

In the middle layer, a round undecorated hearth on one side of the room (pedestaled at back of trench) operated alongside a sub-rectangular oven (near corner of room in photo).  In the adjacent operation, an even deeper layer (not visible) revealed another circular hearth.

But perhaps the most eye-catching remnant of Early Bronze Age Gegharot that we encountered today was the obsidian spear point pictured below.  The point is quite massive and similar to one we uncovered several years ago in T17.

Project ArAGATS co-founder Dr. Ruben Badalyan and an Early Bronze Age obsidian spear head found in operation T30.

Project ArAGATS co-founder Dr. Ruben Badalyan and an Early Bronze Age obsidian spear head found in operation T30.

Coming up: updates on kurgan excavations and continuing work at Tsaghkahovit.

New Views on Gegharot’s East Citadel

T34 Floor

Project Architect Lilit Ter-Minasyan and an assistant from the village of Gegharot map the features uncovered in Gegharot’s Operation T34

An unfinished operation on Gegharot’s East Citadel has already yielded interesting results.  In an area not far from the East Citadel shrine that we documented in 2011 we have opened a paved stone floor dating to the Late Bronze Age.  Adjacent to the floor were three surviving (and possibly two other unpreserved) curvilinear stone-lined features.   The floor and features were later covered during the site’s first destruction episode.  A new wall was then subsequently built atop the destruction debris.

Ethnographic analogies traditionally hold that narrow paved galleries such as the one we’ve uncovered served as pens for young animals.  The small adjacent basins would then make sense as feeding troughs.  What is perhaps most interesting about such a reconstruction is the room’s proximity to the shrine.  Did young animals figure prominently in the ritual practices of the shrine?  We are hoping that expanded excavations and faunal analysis might shed some light on the question.


2013 Excavations Underway

Today is the fourth day of fieldwork for the 2013 Project ArAGATS excavations.  We are working at three sites this year: Gegharot Fortress, the Gegharot Kurgans, and the town at Tsaghkahovit.  The Gegharot fortress excavations are off to a quick start thanks to an operation on the east citadel that we closed at the end of the 2011 season just as things were getting interesting.  As we suspected, after just a bit of cleaning, we appear to be moving into a well-preserved Late Bronze Age deposit reminiscent of other destruction levels that we have encountered on the site.  Here is our first small find from the operation–a fitting testament to destruction.

A Late Bronze Age Obsidian Arrowhead from Gegharot Operation T34

A Late Bronze Age Obsidian Arrowhead from Gegharot Operation T34

At the Gegharot Kurgans, we are cleaning a relatively large burial adjacent to the tomb we excavated in 2005.  These excavations will serve as pilot research for Hannah Chazin’s planned dissertation research on the circulation of animals in the Late Bronze Age regional political economy.

Tsagh 2013 Day 4

At Tsaghkahovit, work is concentrating this year in Precinct C in the shadow of the fortress hill.

We will continue to post updates on the progress of our work throughout the field season.

New Publication Alert


Now in press at the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology:
Lindsay, I. and A. Greene
2013  Sovereignty, mobility, and political cartographies in Late Bronze Age southern Caucasia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

ArAGATS 2013

PackingWe are packing up and getting ready for the new field season.  We will try to post regular updates on this site as the season progresses.  If you are in Armenia this summer, feel free to come visit.  In general, we will be in the field every day except Sundays from June 27-July 28.  You can find us in Gegharot, Tsaghkahovit, or Aparan by just asking for the archaeologists.

Project ArAGATS has a new US Home

As of  August 2011, Project ArAGATS has a new US home!  Adam T. Smith and Lori Khatchadourian have taken positions in the Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies Departments (respectively) at Cornell University.  For more information see the following links: LoriAdamAssemblages BlogLandscapes and Objects Laboratory.

In Armenia, Project ArAGATS is based at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography where co-director Ruben Badalyan heads the Bronze Age division.


…to the new home page of Project ArAGATS, the joint American-Armenian Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies.  Here you can find information on our ongoing research in Armenia, check on the progress of our analytical investigations, and learn how you can contribute to the mission of Project ArAGATS.  You can also find information on upcoming educational events and ongoing plans for conserving local heritage.

Note: this site remains in production so you may encounter broken links caused by our move to a new server.  We are working to repair these as soon as possible.