Team Members

The Project ArAGATS team has grown since our initial season in 1998 to include countless friends, alumni, consultants, students, field crew, and colleagues.  Our work has been made possible by the hard work, generosity, and boundless energy of the communities of Gegharot, Tsaghkahovit, and Aparan, Armenia.  We owe endless thanks to our field crews.

ArAGATS Personnel:

Ruben Badalyan is a founder and the Armenian co-director of Project ArAGATS as well as head of the Bronze Age Division of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia. He is a Doctor of Historical Sciences in the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and a Senior Scientific Member of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Yerevan. His habilitation (2003) was entitled: Obsidian of the Caucasus: Sources and Distribution of the Raw Material during the Neolithic – Early Iron Age (on the results of Neutron Activation Analyses) and he continues to work on issues related to the distribution of obsidian and exploitation of sources in the ancient Near East. His Ph.D. dissertation (1986) was entitled: The Early Bronze Age Culture of the Shirak Plain (North-Western Armenia) and a great deal of his subsequent archaeological research has centered on issues relating to the Kura-Araxes phenomenon of the Early Bronze Age.  He has directed or co-directed field investigations at numerous archaeological sites in Armenia including Karnut, Horom, Aratashen, and Tagavoranist. In addition to his on-going work in the Tsaghkahovit Plain with Project ArAGATS, Badalyan is also the director of the ongoing excavations at the Neolithic site of Aknashen. He is the author of numerous papers and articles in several languages.

Adam T. Smith is a founder and the American co-director of Project ArAGATS.  He is currently Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, Faculty Associate in Anthropology the University of Chicago and Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU.  A former Guggenheim Fellow (2010-11), Smith holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s Department of Anthropology (1996) and an M.Phil. from the Social and Political Science Faculty at Cambridge University (1991). His research is currently focused on the emergence of complex societies in the South Caucasus and the materiality of political authority more broadly. He is the author of The Political Machine: Assembling Sovereignty in the Bronze Age Caucasus (Princeton, 2015), The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities (California, 2003) and co-editor of Archaeology in the Borderlands: Investigations in Caucasia and Beyond (with Karen S. Rubinson, Cotsen Institute, 2003), Beyond the Steppe and the Sown: Proceedings of the 2002 University of Chicago Conference on Eurasian Archaeology (with David Peterson and Laura Popova, Brill, 2006), Social Orders and Social Landscapes (with Laura Popova and Charles Hartley, CSP, 2007) and The Archaeology of Power and Politics in Eurasia: Regimes and Revolutions (with Charles Hartley and G. Bike Yazicioglu, Cambridge, 2012). He is co-author, with Ruben Badalyan and Pavel Avetisyan, of the book The Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies, volume I: Regional Investigations in the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia (Oriental Institute Press, 2009).

Lori Khatchadourian is a co-director of Project ArAGATS and Assistant Professor Milstein Sesquicentennial Fellow in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. She holds a PhD in classical archaeology from the University of Michigan (2008) and an MSc in government from the London School of Economics (1998). Her doctoral dissertation focused on the archaeology of the Armenian highlands during the period of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and is entitled “Social Logics Under Empire: The Armenian ‘Highland Satrapy’ and Achaemenid Rule, ca. 600-300 BC.” Dr. Khatchadourian has been conducting archaeological fieldwork with Project ArAGATS since 2003 with support from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Program. She spearheads Project ArAGATS’s investigations of the mid-first millennium BC on the Tsaghkahovit plain. Her research interests include the archaeology of empires, social archaeology, historiography, as well as Eurasia and the Near East in antiquity. Her publications have addressed theoretical issues of empire that focus on such themes as the archaeology of hegemony, memory, and landscape, as seen from the Armenian highlands. These publications appear in such volumes as Negotiating the Past in the Past (Arizona, 2007), Empires and Complexity (Cotsen, forthcoming), The Oxford Handbook of Anatolian Studies (Oxford, 2012), and Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Blackwell, 2012). She also published an article charting the intellectual history of archaeology in the Soviet South Caucasus in a 2008 issue of the American Journal of Archaeology. Prior to becoming an archaeologist, Dr. Khatchadourian worked in the field of international political development in the former Soviet Union under the auspices of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

Ian Lindsay is a co-director of Project ArAGATS and an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University.  He has worked in Armenia as a member of Project ArAGATS since 2000, where his archaeological interests focus on the relationship between ancient sovereignty, residential mobility, and political organization; landscapes as media for political authority; and ancient households and communities.  He received both his M.A. (2000) and Ph.D. (2006) from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In his dissertation, entitled “Late Bronze Age Power Dynamics in Southern Caucasia: A Community Perspective on Political Landscapes”, Lindsay foregrounds the place of local populations in the creation of new sociopolitical institutions on the Tsaghkahovit Plain during the mid-2nd millennium B.C. through investigations of a residential complex at the base of the Tsaghkahovit fortress site. Lindsay’s research has been funded by NSF, Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Results of his research have been published in Antiquity, Journal of Anthropological ArchaeologyJournal of Archaeological Science, Journal of Field Archaeology, Archaeological Prospection, and Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan, in addition to numerous chapters in proceedings and edited volumes in the US and the Caucasus.

Levon Aghikyan is a researcher in  the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia. His research ceneters on bioarchaeological investigations of the Bronze Age Caucasus, including the Early Bronze Age site of Karnut.

Karen Azatyan is a researcher in the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia. His research interests focus on lithic technology of the paleolithic.

Gabrielle Borenstein is a PhD student in the Anthropology Department at Cornell University.  She joined the Project ArAGATS team in 2015.  Her interests center on ritual life and the spatial production of Early Bronze Age mortuary landscapes.

Amy Cromartie is a PhD student in the Anthropology Department at Cornell University.  A member of Project ArAGATS since in 2015.  Her research is focused on paleobotanical analysis and diet.

Hannah Chazin recently completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.  Her research focuses on the role of animals in Late Bronze Age political life. Hannah’s dissertation project integrates zooarchaeological and stable isotope data from faunal remains from sites in the Tsaghkahovit Plain in order to understand the organization of pastoral practices in the Late Bronze Age and their relationship to the development of new political forms. She has been a member of Project ArAGATS since the 2010 field season and, in addition to excavating a kurgan (burial mound) near Gegharot for her dissertation, she has excavated several contexts on the lower terrace at Gegharot. Hannah holds an M.A. in Anthropology and a double bachelors in Anthropology and Biology from the University of Chicago.

Elizabeth Fagan received a dual PhD in history and anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2015. She has been a member of Project ArAGATS since the 2006 field season, excavating at both Gegharot and Tsaghkahovit while pursuing her own research into the Hellenistic- and Roman-period Armenian Highland. Elizabeth’s research examines the strategies of legitimation used by the Armenian dynasts of these periods to create and perpetuate their authority in the context of the shifting sociopolitical relations within Armenia and with its neighbors. Her research interrogates the processes of legitimation by investigating the rulers’ textual and material narratives on coins and inscriptions, and also their spatial practices and dialectical interaction with the landscape.

Alan Greene is an Associate Director of Project ArAGATS and postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Department of Anthropology and Stanford Archaeology Center. He has been a member of Project ArAGATS since the 2003 excavation season. Alan’s dissertation, completed at the University of Chicago in 2013, focused on the political economy established by the residents of the Late Bronze Age Tsaghkahovit Plain, using innovative material analyses to interrogate the links between political institutions and the material production, distribution, and consumption that characterized economic life between the 16th through 12th centuries B.C. This work incorporated materials from new excavations at the Tsaghkahovit Plain fortress of Aragatsi Berd, and comparative assemblages from Gegharot, Hnaberd, and Tsaghkahovit.

Armine Harutyunyan is a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Yerevan.  In addition to being a member of Project ArAGATS since 2002, she is also working at the Neolithic site of Aknashen and is conducting a close study of Neolithic era ceramics.

Roman Hovsepyan (Paleobotanist, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenia) has been a member of Project ArAGATS since 2005. As one of the Caucasus region’s leading specialist in the analysis of macrobotanical remains, Dr. Hovsepyan is examining ancient economies and subsistence practices at sites across Armenia, from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.

Arkady Karakhanian is the director of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Armenian Academy of Sciences.  He is a Doctor of Science in addition to holding a PhD from the Academy of Sciences.  As director of Georisk, a private scientific research and consulting company, he has worked from the Pacific to the Mediterranean on issues related to seismic and tectonic hazards, remote sensing evaluation, and geotechnical engineering.

Maureen E. Marshall recently completed her Ph.D. in the Anthropology Department at the University of Chicago, focusing on bioarchaeology and mortuary analysis. She has been a member of Project ArAGATS since the 2005 excavation season. Her research focuses on movement and social relationships in the Tsaghkahovit Plain during the Late Bronze Age (1500-1200 B.C.) by examining human remains and changing mortuary practices. This investigation includes analysis of demography, disease and health, diet, and residential movement through chemical analyses of strontium, oxygen, and carbon isotopes.

Belinda Monahan has been a member of Project ArAGATS since 2002.  Her research focuses on the paleozoology of the Bronze and Iron Ages.  She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

Chris Stevenson is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University and joined Project ArAGATS in 2017 as a member of the Kasakh Valley survey team. His research focuses on domestic archaeology and the anthropology of identity during the Early Bronze Age.  

Lilit Ter-Minasyan is Project ArAGATS’s architect, recording and interpreting the complex architectural remains uncovered by our excavations. She is a specialist of cutting-edge three-dimensional modelling technologies that allow for the visualization of reconstructed sites.

Consulting Scholars:

Pavel Avetisyan is the Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.  A member of Project ArAGATS since its founding in 1998, his consultant work focuses on matters related to the ceramic typologies of the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Jacques Chabot holds a joint Ph.D. from Laval University and the University of Lyon 2 (1998). Since 2002 he has been the coordinator of the Laboratories of Archaeology at the University Laval.  He is working with Project ArAGATS to help understand the Bronze and Iron Age lithic technologies of Gegharot and Tsaghkahovit.

Sturt Manning is Professor of Classics and Director of the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell University.  He is working with Project ArAGATS on refining regional chronologies on the Caucasus using dendrochronology, wiggle-matching, and traditional radiocarbon approaches.

Khachatur Meliksetyan is a geologist specializing in metal ore sources.  His work with Project ArAGATS focuses on ancient metal trade and technology.

Leah Minc is an assistant professor in Anthropology and the Radiation Center at Oregon State University.  She has been working with Project ArAGATS since 1998 on Instrumental Neutron Activation Studies.

Ernst Pernicka is Professor of Archaeometry at the University of Tübingen and director of the Curt-Engelhorn-Zentrum Archaeometry at the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim.  His work with Project ArAGATS focuses on Bronze Age metal artifacts.

ArAGATS Alumni:

Arsen Bobokyan, Ken Boden, Zoe Crossland, Kathryn Franklin, Cynthia Gosselen, Elizabeth Hardy, Samuel Haroutunian, Armine Hayrapetyan, Catherine Kearns, Jeffrey Leon, Thibaut Manoukian, Madeleine McLeester, Susanna Melkonyan, Jacob Nabel, Dmitri Narimanishvili, Jennifer Piro, Laura Popova, Jane Rempel, Marcia Rockman, Hasmik Sarkisyan, Ian Straughn, Tiffany Thompson, Varduhi Vardazaryan, Kathryn Weber, Conner Wiktorowicz.