Kazakh Valley Archaeological Survey
The Kasakh Valley Archaeological Survey (KVAS), a sub-project of Project ArAGATS, conducted a fourth season of survey in the upper Kasakh River valley from 1 July – 9 August 2017. Survey participants in 2017 included Dr. Ian Lindsay (Purdue University), Dr. Alan Greene (New York University), Arshaluys Mkrtchyan (IAE, NAS, RA employee), Karen Azatyan (IAE, NAS, RA graduate student), Salpi Bocchieriyan (Cornell University, graduate student), Christopher Stevenson, and Gabrielle Borenstein (Cornell University, graduate student). This season marked the end of the initial phase of a multi-year systematic settlement survey of the upper Kasakh River valley to address questions about the changing dimensions of ancient fortified landscapes in the region. The project’s research goals are to study fortified landscapes in the upper Kasakh River Valley as a means to better understand the shifting role of militarism and warfare in political formations, settlement patterns, and social identity. In 2017, we covered a total of 6.5 sq km of systematic transects on the east side of the Kasakh River, combined with increased extensive survey activities that covered an additional 15 sq km. Our survey continued to employ drones to generate detailed, high-resolution aerial images of sites, and to facilitate photogrammetric analysis of archaeological landscapes via 3D modeling and orthomosaic images.
Excavations continued at Aparani Berd burial clusters in 2017 with the excavation of four additional tombs in order to better understand the temporal, spatial, and architectural construction history of the burial cluster (cemetery) at the site (Aparani Berd BC 03). The Burial Cluster team included Dr. Maureen Marshall (University of Illinois) and Levon Aghikyan (IAE). The results of the excavations extended our chronological understanding of the use history of the cemetery with an EB tomb, and early LB1 tomb, and an Iron Age 1 tomb. Preliminary analysis of human remains show that the excavated tombs contained multiple individuals, many of whom were sub-adults. Full analysis of human remains will be conducted in 2018. In addition, we worked with Ian Lindsay, Alan Greene, and Arshaluys Mkrtchyan to explore the use of drone facilitated thermal imaging for detecting architecture not visible from the surface, which promises to be productive in analyzing the multi-period architectural landscape of the Aparani Berd settlement and Burial Clusters.