A surprising second temple built by the Urartian king Menua has recently been discovered by Turkish archaeologists in the ancient Armenian province of Van (modern-day Turkey). Next to the temple, an intriguing royal tomb has been discovered, as well as pottery fragments and metal artifacts. The site is currently called “Körzüt Castle” after a nearby village of the same name (Korsot, Armenian Gashot). According to an inscription, the fortress was built by King Menua in the 9th/8th century BC.
Evidence of Armenian presence at the site comes from pictures published by Turkish Archaeological news sources. There, we can clearly see an Armenian cross carved on a rock among the excavated ruins. The castle, which dates back to the 8th century BCE, was discovered in the region of ancient Armenia and was likely still in use during the Middle Ages. This discovery is significant because it provides further evidence of the continuity of Armenian culture and history throughout the centuries.
Turkish researcher Sabahattin Erdoğan said:
During the excavations, we unearthed the second temple, which we think was built by King Menua. We came across an important tomb right next to it. A large number of Urartian pottery was unearthed in the area. This is an important place for excavations. There is also pottery from the Middle Ages. We see that these pottery were reused. There is also a necropolis outside the castle, which we consider very important. We encountered various types of tombs here. The most important of these are stone-knitted tombs. We identified one of the stone-knitted chamber tombs known from the region. We also found a stone-knitted tomb without a cover stone. “It is a novelty. It is also an important tomb with its variety of finds. Along with many ceramics from the Urartian period, there are pottery, shirts, metal artifacts, and objects of deceased individuals.”
The excavations have been during the winter and will proceed next year.
Evidently, the Urartian era castle continued to be in use during the Middle Ages by the Armenians. King Menua was also known to medieval Armenian historian Khorenatsi, who mentioned that Menua/Manavaz was a brother of King Aramaneak. In classical Armenian, the sound “u” was often replaced with “v” (e.g. Samuel became Samvel).
The lands around Manzikert belonged to the Manavazyans, an Armenian nakharar (feudal lord’s) family that claimed descent from Manavaz, until 333 AD, when King Khosrov III Arshakuni ordered all members of the family to be put to the sword.