A preliminary report on the 2008, 2010, and 2011 investigations of Project ArAGATS on the Tsaghkahovit plain, Republic of Armenia

Ruben Badalyan, Adam T. Smith, Ian Lindsay, Armine Harutyunyan, Alan Greene, Maureen Marshall, Belinda Monahan, Roman Hovsepyan, Khachatur Meliksetian, Ernst Pernicka, Samuel Haroutunian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This report presents the results of the collaborative archaeological field investigations undertaken between 2008 and 2011 under the auspices of the joint Armenian-American Project for the Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies (Project ArAGATS). Here we focus our discussions on investigations into the Bronze Age communities of the Tsaghkahovit Plain of central Armenia. In particular, we detail here the results of excavations at the Bronze Age complexes at the sites of Gegharot, Aragatsi Berd, and Tsaghkahovit. At the settlements of Gegharot and Aragatsi Berd, investigations uncovered wellpreserved occupations of the Early Bronze Age (Kura-Araxes culture) and the Late Bronze Age. At Tsaghkahovit, where excavations explored both settlement and mortuary contexts, our research was focused on the remains of the Late Bronze Age community. Study of the Early Bronze Age levels at Gegharot revealed stratified layers of occupation representing discrete phases of the Kura-Araxes horizon defined by unique ceramic complexes. The Early Bronze Age occupations at Gegharot indicate an agro-pastoral village organized around a generally egalitarian and minimally differentiated social order. Late Bronze levels at Gegharot have uncovered three contemporary shrines, dating to the late 14th through first half of the 13th centuries B.C. In contrast, investigations at the base of Tsaghkahovit indicate a residential complex, perhaps representing seasonal occupations around the fortress. Excavations at sites across the region have documented episodes of dramatic conflagration during the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. Taken together, the collective research of Project ArAGATS reported here provides detailed new understandings of life and death during the Bronze Age in the South Caucasus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-222
Number of pages74
JournalArchaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan
StatePublished - 2014


  • Aragatsi Berd
  • Armenia
  • Early Bronze Age
  • Gegharot
  • Kura-Araxes
  • Late Bronze Age
  • Tsaghkahovit
  • Tsaghkahovit Plain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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