Excavations in Yerevan proved that humanity was living here for millenniums. Succeeding each other many abodes have been built and then devastated.
All this tells us about the people who were living here, their skills, goodness, wars and the climate changes which occurred in this area. What do we call the city? And what is the history of our city?
How people were living here 3000, 600 years ago or in middle ages up to these days and how they were creating their environment?
The best witness of all this history is architecture with stone, clay, and macadam saved from the times of ancient people. Through this trace we will explore the stony history of Yerevan.
When Europe was finally being freed from the Ice people were already living in Yerevan.
They were living in valleys covered with a dense network of rivers. People were living in caves being adapted to cruel conditions of climate. Surroundings of river Hrazdan are the areas where started and went on the history of all humanity.
“Yerevan-1” cave – first cave excavations in Yerevan
In 1968 on the right coast of Yerevan lake a new cave was found with rich remnants from Iron Age. Responsibilities of excavations were given to young archaeologist Benik Yeritsyan.
In a recent interview, he told.”I was in Leningrad (now Sankt Petersburg) when I was told that for me a cave was found.
So that cave became the beginning of cave excavations in Yerevan and they are never investigated for any reason, they always contain the most ancient cultures. All the culture found there was solely from obsidian.
The volcanic glass exploded and people first time used it to create a culture and this culture is unique and was created in one place, in that cave. So the older is that culture the older are our origins”.
Detailed investigations of the cave gave the result of finding the other 120 caves dating back to different periods of humanity.
There were different things of 100000 years old in six of them, but the richest cave was the one trusted to Benik Yeritsyan, which was later named “Yerevan-1” and was inhabited with the people 80000 years ago and sheltered people for around 40 years.
People living in this cave were hunters as human and animal bones were found during the excavation.
The Ruins of ancient abode in Shengavit region of Yerevan
Centuries passed away and life had new challenges so people living in that area built city empowered by powerful protective walls on the other shore of the lake in the Bronze Age.
Before 1970, when a water reservoir called “Yerevan Lake” was built, the ancient city was surrounded by deep canyons with one of them filled with the waters of the Hrazdan River.
The abode had powerful fences made from raw stone and an underground tunnel made from tablets leading to the river.
Unfortunately, neither fences nor tunnel is visible now, but visitors can see the traces of the most ancient architectural buildings.
The abode had an architectural plan and was urban-type settlement major building of which were round lodgings and next to them auxiliary buildings as the minor ones.
Round lodgings had hood like roofs and were built on by building columns on smooth and flat stones, which would sustain the roof.
Next to the column was the hearth, where clan would gather for worshiping and other ceremonies. Lodgings were used as sleeping rooms for couples or were used as storage.
“Shengavit” archaeological site is one of the unique abodes of ancient people where they would live permanently without moving to other places for centuries.
Excavations in Yerevan started here in the 1930s. The last expedition was done in 2013 when the 4000 years old Temple of Fire was found. It is a simple building located underground (three steps).
On the right side are located two pools where the blood of sacrificed animals was being filled. On the left side, there was a horn which was used to kill the animal and in front of sacrifice altar, the eternal fire was located.
Before the 1960s museum included 6 hectares of territory, but without any reasons, the biggest part of the territory was constructed and most of the convex areas were left under the basements of the buildings (mostly the Hospital).
But a small part of the territory is a chain of Erebuni museum and is being protected from encroaches by 3 guards of the territory.
So this territory of international importance as an area telling much about all humanity is still not appreciated by the government of the Republic of Armenia, people living nearby and the entire world.
Heritage of Bronze Age was not properly studied and excavations in Yerevan are not sufficient in Armenia either in Soviet Union Era of the Republic of Armenia. As a result, many of them have been lost forever or partly destroyed.
There was an abode-fortress in the place of Mergelyan Institute, Berdadzor area (currently living area in Yerevan), on a hill called “Mukhanat Tapa” not far from Sasuntsi Davit station and the fortress located on the right bank of River Hrazdan called “Red Fortress” with a big necropolis with many hundred burials of 4-2 millenniums B.C. It is still unknown when people left the fortress.
Excavations at the Genocide Memorial
I won’t be mistaken if I say that just a few people know about this place in Yerevan. First artefacts were found here during the construction of the basement of Genocide Memorial.
Unfortunately, excavations did not continue because of lack of finances, until a problem was raised at the end of the 1990s, which would propel the excavations.
Well-wisher Hovnan Hovnatyan got permission to build a house on the breast of a hill not far from the Genocide Memorial.
During the construction, many artifacts were found about which the owner of the future house told the archaeologists and offered to finance the excavations.
So the group of archaeologists Ashot Piliposyan and Hayk Martirosyan started their work.
Excavations would continue just three weeks, during which archaeologists found a room dating back to the early period under the medieval layer.
This room was found under the terrace and contained a fireplace with an ancient flacon in it, which is identical to the culture in Armenia in the late period of Bronze Age and the early period of Iron Age.
The next stage of excavations would start 10 years later, which would result in finding an ancient castle and rooms of the Roman period.
In the second spot (not far from “Children railway”) two antique rooms were found, but after digging for more 1.5 meters other ancient rooms were found with a deity of 1 meter long again dating back to the Roman period.
So before 782 B.C. when Argishti made the basements of the city it was already inhabited with a big amount of people was already living in this area.
We hope that one day excavations in Yerevan would continue and will give us a better picture of ancient Armenians and their culture.
These facts prove the theory of Biblical origin of the Armenian nation and its history, as studies of Armenian language and genes prove the formation of the nation to the same period.