Erebuni: Undisclosed Fortress

Erebuni: Undisclosed Fortress

The pride of any nation is its historical past. Armenia, which has a rich historical and cultural past, is of great interest to the whole world. It is no secret that every Armenian visiting the Erebuni Museum feels a sense of pride and excitement, and at the same time, there are a number of questions that the director of the Museum-Reserve Mikael Badalyan did not manage to answer during our first interview.

- Mr. Badalyan, are there any new discoveries during the excavations of recent years that the public does not yet know about?
- Yes, there are. Under this soil there is a square basalt basin built in the Urartian period. Can you imagine what a wave of interest this will cause if we open a pool and a recently discovered sewer with basalt pipes?
During the joint Armenian-French excavations of 2014-2016, the foundations of the temple, which belong to an earlier period, were discovered under the columned hall. Besides, during excavations, terass-shaped structures were discovered, which were again covered with soil… Since the Urartian temples had square layouts, we assume that this is a temple, because it has a very solid foundation. We intend to continue the excavations in summer … The excavations also showed that an earthquake happened here during the Urartian period. At least two earthquakes were recorded here, the first of which dates back to the first half of the 7th century B.C. when the ancient city of Karmir Blur or Teishebaini was built. And there in Karmir blur shields and pedestals were found, on which it is written Erebuni. That is why we assume that the earthquake could be one of the reasons that at some point these items were moved from here to Karmir Blur.
In 2010, together with the German archeologists, we conducted geomagnetic studies on a hill in the territory of reserve. The studies showed, that underground there is a building 120m long and 60m wide, with large and small rooms. In 2019 together with the French group we scanned the same part with the help of Lidar scanner, and our assumption was confirmed.
- How do you see the solution to the problem of the fortress maintenance?
- I think the emergency sites need to be reinforced first. The second stage is the preservation and reconstruction of the excavations in the volume in which they exist. I am talking about the Urartian Street, the columned hall, the temple, the drainage system, the pottery hall, which we dug up, and again covered with soil. So these are sites, which are of great interest to the visitors.
The Erebuni fortress is a complex structure, since during excavations, buildings of different eras are discovered, one erected on the other, which gives rise to scientific debates. For example, the columned hall dates to the post-Urartian period of the kingdom Yervanduni, and the Susi temple - the amphora hall of King Argishti I, most likely belongs to a different era. We plan to use the land sifted from the excavations this fall at the Land Art Festival dedicated to one of the founders of the world land art, Marcos Grigorian. The participants of the festival will be well-known artists Narek Avetisyan and Arthur Oshakantsi, as well as specialists from Iran.
Recently, our guest was the choreographer Rudolf Kharatyan. After the tour, we had an interesting idea to organize the staging of the Urartu ritual in the Erebuni fortress this fall.