A large residence of the viceroy of the king of Urartu in Karmir Blur -Armenia is starting to emerge from the ground, revealing long lost secrets of an ancient Armenian kingdom.
In order to redirect traffic from the loaded roads of Armenia’s capitol, officials in Yerevan commissioned a construction of a highway near the territory of Karmir Blur. Before the construction could commence, experts were tasked to investigate the area and carry out several excavations. When in August archaeologists started to investigate the site, they discovered that Charbahe cemetery and the surrounding areas once served as a burial place during the Urartu period in the 9th century BC.
Nowadays the kingdom of Van that was known to the Babylonians as Urartu, is attracting attention from European, American, Russian, Iranian and Turkish scientists. Urartu is mentioned several times in the Bible as Ararat. On one occasion it is described as the country of Noah’s descend after the deluge. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite. Armenia, Urartu, Ararat and Herminuia are therefore synonymous.
Archaeologists leading the excavation discovered in recent months around 500 tombs, each containing at least 2 individuals. Some of which belonged to the upper class of the Ararat kingdom. During these excavations about 1,000 items were recovered, with many more yet to be extracted. These artifacts together with the human remains will help to reveal many secrets of the ancient Armenian kingdom.
The tombs resemble chambers, filled with earth, and the top covered with huge boulders plastered with lime. The knees of the discovered skeletons are bent, females lie on the left side while males on the right side. Buried with them were also servants, whose bones were divided into several parts. Aside the buried, idols were placed made of tuff tiles with holes in the shape of eyes. They were supposed to protect their owners from evil spirits in the afterlife. Among the finds, archaeologists recovered the skeleton of a very tall woman. She wore a chased belt and a copper bracelet on her ankle.
The researches also found a cellar and a horse stable. Barns were filled with large stocks of grain and a huge area which indicates that more than half a million liters of wine was kept there. Yet another section of the tombs, probably belonged to the workers of the ancient city.
The first stage of excavations is finished. The results have already sparked the interest of foreign scientists. Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky was in Yerevan during the excavation and could not hide his excitement and amazement of the findings.
These sensational discoveries have also sparked several questions in regards to where the artifacts, numbers of which exceeds five thousand, should be kept and where they should be displayed. Some have suggested that it is high time for Armenia to create Anthropological and Urartian Centers of their own.
These new findings will be a vital source of information on the origins, genetics and ethnicity of the people of kingdom of Van. From previous excavations of Karmir Blur we know to what civilization and culture citizens of Teishebaini belonged. These excavations will also provide comprehensive information about the funeral rites and the ancient´s representation of the afterlife.
It is worthy to note that previously no anthropological studies have been conducted in regards to the population of Kingdom of Van. Due to the large amount of discovered artifacts scientists are now able to formulate serious conclusions. Some samples from the graves are already sent to Copenhagen for DNA research. The analysis will shed light on ancient Armenian ethnos.
To be able to conduct such research domestically Armenian scientists consider it also necessary to create an anthropological laboratory in their own country. After all, Armenia is the heir of a huge archaeological, historical and cultural heritage. Secrets of which are gradually coming to light.
Images from the burial: