An ancient human footprint from the Iron Age kingdom of Van (also known as Urartu / Ararat) was recently discovered at a castle in the historic Armenian city of Van (today part of Turkey).
The footprint, measuring some 26 centimeters long and fitting a modern shoe size of 36, was found at Van Castle and belonged to a noble Anadolu Agency reports. The footprint is attributed to an adult women at a location where the nobles would live.
“At first we thought it belonged to a child, but as a result of an anthropologist’s preliminary examination, it turned out to be an adult woman of about the age of 30.”
Erkan Konyar, an ancient history professor at Istanbul University of History told the press.
Pointing out that in ancient Mesopotamia women were probably involved in mud brick production, Konyar concluded:
“This can actually be perceived as a trace left by a laboring woman during the Urartu period, a trail that has been left behind in the traditional mudbrick production… We decided to put it on display at the Van Museum in talks with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and now everyone in the Van Museum will be able to see the 3,000-year-old footprint that will create different emotions in many people. “
Van once was the center of the Armenian kingdom of Ararat from mid-9th century BC, afterwards of the Satrapy of Armina, Kingdom of Greater Armenia, and the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. Its name “Van” is one of the ancient Armenian words for “town” which is still reflected in many Armenian toponyms such as Nakhichevan (meaning: “place/town of descend”), Stepananvan (meaning: “town of Stepan”), Vanadzor (meaning: “valley of Van” ), Sevan, and even the capitol city of Armenia; Yerevan.
Lake Van and its adjacent town also named Van is today part of Turkey, however its historic Armenian traces are still visible. At the very center of this lake there is an island called Akhtamar that still holds a thousand year old Armenian church; the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Along with Lake Sevan in today’s Armenia and Lake Urmia in today’s Iran, Lake Van was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom, referred to as the seas of Armenia.
Armenians have lived in Van up until the early 20th century when Armenians were prosecuted by the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide. One of the last stands of the Armenian people known as the Resistance of Van, where over 55.000 Armenian civilians were massacred by Ottoman militias and bandits, was extensively discussed in newspapers of that time around the world. The resistance occupies a significant place in Armenian national identity because it symbolizes the Armenians’ will to resist annihilation at the very heartland of the Armenian people.