Karmir Blur: The Ancient Hill Continues to Surprise

Karmir Blur: The Ancient Hill Continues to Surprise

Ancient architectural, construction and cultural findings have always fascinated and continue to amaze us. The director of historical and archaeological museum-reserve “Erebuni” Mikael Badalyan told us about the recent excavations near the ancient hill Karmir Blur.

- We are closely cooperating with the construction company building the North-South highway on the matter of the site connecting Shirak street with Argavand highway, where fragments of clay utensils were found. As a result, construction work on this site was suspended and we began control preventive excavations, as a result of which we were able to fix archaeological layers, containing different ceramics, where in the same context the “Urartian elite” and the local, so-called “polished” ceramics are combined. Besides, another structure was excavated with regular rows, parallel to each other, made of crushed stone, filled with river pebbles … This can be a wall or part of a tomb, or a platform … Also we found in the layer the bottom of a clay amphora. Obviously, they made a hole to place this amphora in the layer of river pebbles … The amphora may have been intended for cremation or other purposes. The main thing is that we have discovered a layer of human activity of the 7th-6th centuries BC on the outskirts of Karmir Blur.

- And how many layers are there on the territory of Karmir Blur?
- There are layers of pre-Urartian and Urartian periods, as well as structures of the late Bronze and early Iron ages, with semicircular and square layouts, on which the people of Urartu used to build their houses in the 7th century BC. In 2019, together with Armenian-Austrian expedition, we managed to fix also a post-Urartian layer, which I consider to be a very important achievement … In addition, there is a fairly rich medieval layer. In the upper part of Karmir Blur there was a chapel, that did not persist. Most likely, it was a medieval chapel. Initially, Karmir Blur - as a monument of the Urartian period, was known for this chapel... And I would not be surprised if it turns out that this chapel was built on the base of the Urartian Susi temple, as we found the cuneiform cornerstones of the Susi temple in Karmir Blur. In addition, coins of Georgian Queen Tamara and medieval ceramics were discovered. The interesting fact is, that few years ago we decided to plant cedars in front of the museum building. Digging the holes, we came across pottery and stopped digging. It turned out that it was a pottery of Kura-Araxes period, dating back to the 3rd millennium BC.

- Could the find during excavations be the basis for changing this part of the North-South project?
- Yes, it could, if we found a serious monumental structure… This could be a tomb, palace, castle, some piece from prehistoric period. After all, Yerevan is a mosaic that is not fully known to us.
… In general, very few excavations have been carried out on the territory of Yerevan. Mostly these are accidental discoveries. For example, ancient Urartian tomb near Yerevan-mole was discovered in 1984, when during the construction of auto parts factory the builders found several slabs. Another accidental discovery is Dzoraberd fortress next to Mergelyan Institute.