Project ArAGATS is a collaborative archaeological research program dedicated to the exploration of southern Caucasia’s past, from the earliest times through the modern era. Our mission is to investigate critical anthropological and historical problems in the region through field study and laboratory analysis. In order to do so, we are invested in 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. We are committed to the integration of a wide array of methods, from excavation and systematic survey, to bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, GIS/remote sensing, and ethnography.


Drs. Ruben Badalyan & Adam T. Smith at the site of Gegharot

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Adam T. Smith (Department of Anthropology, Cornell University) and Dr. Ruben S. Badalyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Republic of Armenia), Project ArAGATS is one of the most enduring international archaeological programs in the region. Over the course of two decades, the project leadership has expanded to reflect the full range of our areas of expertise. Dr. Ian Lindsay (Purdue University) and Dr. Alan Greene (ISAW, NYU) are currently leading our survey investigations in the southern Kazakh River valley. Dr. Lori Khatchadourian (Cornell University) leads our investigations of early historic periods and spearheads a program of ethnographic research on socialist and post-socialist life. Dr. Maureen Marshall brings her bioarchaeological expertise to the project to advance the study of long-term patterns in human health, diet, funerary rituals, and social life. Other senior researchers include paleobotanist Dr. Roman Hovsepyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Republic of Armenia), zooarchaeologist Dr. Belinda Monahan, GIS and remote sensing specialist Arshaluys Mkrditchyan (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Republic of Armenia), and geologist Arkady Karakhanyan (Institute of Geology, Republic of Armenia).  Our work is made possible thanks to the efforts of a diverse community of scholars, including Armenian and American graduate students whose research interests range from the Paleolithic to the present day. Descriptions of various efforts can be found under the “field projects” link.  The work of Project ArAGATS has been funded by a number of institutions (see Acknowledgments sidebar) to whom we extend our gratitude.