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 Thursday, March 2 2023 11:28
Alexandr Avanesov

Polish-Armenian team discovers 3.2 thousand-year-old "golden tomb" in  Armenia`s Metsamor

Polish-Armenian team discovers 3.2 thousand-year-old "golden tomb" in  Armenia`s Metsamor

ArmInfo. The grave of two people, probably a couple - a man and a woman, in which the remains of three gold necklaces were discovered, was examined in Metsamor in  Armenia by a Polish-Armenian team of archaeologists. It comes from  the times when Ramesses II ruled Egypt.

Metsamor is one of the most famous archaeological sites in Armenia,  located several dozen kilometers west of Yerevan.

It was a box grave. This means that the two skeletons were found in  chambers sunk into the ground and framed by large stones. Researchers  also found the remains of a wooden burial bed.

Archaeologists described that the bones were well preserved. Both  skeletons had slightly shrunken legs.  Preliminary estimates show  that the couple died at the age of 30-40.

"The death of these people is a mystery to us, we do not know the  cause, but everything indicates that they died simultaneously,  because there are no traces of the reopening of the tomb" - told PAP  the head of the research, Prof. Krzysztof Jakubiak from the Faculty  of Archeology of the University of Warsaw. It is a joint project of  the Center of Mediterranean Archeology of the University of Warsaw  and the Department of Antiquities and Protection of National Heritage  of Armenia. On the Armenian side, the project is headed by prof.  Ashot Piliposian.

Prof. Jakubiak believes that this is a unique find, because the grave  has not been robbed and is very richly equipped.

The tomb dates from the late Late Bronze Age (1300-1200 BC). It was  around this time that the famous pharaoh Ramesses II the Great ruled  in Egypt. Inside the tomb, archaeologists found over a hundred beads  and gold pendants. Some of them look a bit like Celtic crosses. There  were also dozens of carnelian pendants.

"Probably all these elements made up three necklaces" - believes  Prof. Jacob.

The grave also contained a dozen or so complete ceramic vessels and a  unique faience flask. However, it is not of local production. It was  brought from the Syrian-Mesopotamian borderland, scientists have  determined.

Prof. Jakubiak said that so far about 100 graves have been examined  in the huge necropolis, which is probably about 100 hectares, but  only a few of them have not been looted.

According to scientists, the graves in this cemetery had the form of  burial mounds - stone boxes were covered with a large amount of  earth. However, almost no trace of the embankments has survived to  our times.

Archaeologists do not know who at that time - in the second half of  the 2nd millennium - lived in Metsamor. The people who inhabited the  large, fortified settlement there were not literate, so they left no  texts. This makes it difficult for scientists to identify it.

"But it was a great settlement. Even fortifications made of huge  stone blocks have survived to our times, encircling the so-called the  citadel. At the end of the 2nd millennium BC, there was no settlement  in the region that could be compared in terms of rank and size" -  believes Prof. Jacob.

Metsamor is a protected archaeological site with the status of an  archaeological reserve. Excavations in its area have been carried out  since 1965.

In its heyday from the 4th to the 2nd millennium BC, the settlement  occupied over 10 hectares and was surrounded by cyclopean walls.  During the early Iron Age from the 11th to 9th centuries, Metsamor  grew to nearly 100 hectares. The central part in the form of a  fortress was surrounded by temple complexes with seven sanctuaries.  At that time, it was one of the most important cultural and political  centers in the Araks valley. The place was continuously inhabited  until the 17th century.

From the 8th century BC, Metsamor was part of the kingdom of Urarat -  the biblical kingdom of Ararat.  The conquest was made by King  Argishti I. It was during his reign that the borders of the state  were extended to Transcaucasia, to the area of today's Yerevan.  Polish archaeologists discovered the damage from this period in  previous years.

The last research season took place in September and October 2022.  Poles have been excavating in Metsamor since 2013 under an agreement  with the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of  Armenia and the Ministry of Culture of Armenia.

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