Project ArAGATS is a collaborative archaeological research program dedicated to the exploration of southern Caucasia’s rich past and the preservation of modern Armenia’s diverse cultural heritage. Our mission is to investigate critical anthropological and historical problems in the region from the earliest times through the modern era, utilizing cutting-edge techniques of field study and laboratory analysis. In order to do so, we are committed to educating and training a new generation of archaeologists in contemporary approaches to analysis, to presenting the results of work in both scholarly and popular fora, and to preserving the region’s sites and material culture for succeeding generations.
Founded in 1998 by Dr. Adam T. Smith (Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago) and Dr. Ruben S. Badalyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Yerevan), Project ArAGATS is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2008.
Drs. Badalyan and Smith at the site of Gegharot (2005)
To date, our investigations have been focused in the Tsaghkahovit Plain of Central Armenia which lies just under the northern slopes of Mt. Aragats.
Map of Southern Caucasia
In 1998 and 2000, we completed the first systematic intensive regional survey ever conducted in the South Caucasus. This work recorded a complex history of settlements, ranging from large Early Bronze Age (Kura-Araxes) villages, to stone-walled Late Bronze Age fortresses, to well-planned towns of the mid-first millennium B.C. But beyond the restricted confines of these settlements our survey recorded a landscape crowded with the cemeteries, irrigation canals, reservoirs, and corrals of millennial of occupation.