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Shengavit: One Of Armenia’s Most Prominent Historical Sites Inhabited Since At Least 3200 BC

A. Sutherland – AncientPages.com – The Shengavit settlement, which is located just beyond the suburbs of the city of Yerevan, Armenia, is one of the most prominent historical sites of Kura Araxes (Uraxes) culture dated to early Bronze Age.

The area of modern day Shengavit has been inhabited since at least 3200 BC, probably, late Neolithic 3500-3000 BC).

The site was excavated and relatively well studied by archaeologists who revealed findings, attributed to many cultures that existed during the very long period of time from 4,000 to 2,000 BC. People had developed ranching, cattle breeding industry, agriculture, reprocessed crops and had equipment for corn milling. The city had unique food storage and depository of wheat, housing 4 tons of crops.

People also worked as craftsmen creating pottery and skilled metalworkers. It is believed that copper smelting may have taken place in ancient Shengavit.

The settlement had highly developed architecture that included defensive, economic, administrative, residential and spiritual buildings.

One example can be a rectangular semi-subterranean temple-like building (probably a temple with a low altar with a hole that may have held a wooden figurine, and terracotta hearths and a place for keeping the sacred fire during rituals.

The city area is about 6 ha and its ruins are located on an irregular-oval platform, built on a slope.

It is still surrounded by a wall with cyclopean towers, constructed of huge and uncut stones from basalt without mortar. Under the northern part of the wall, is an underground passage leading directly to the river Hrazdan and on the south side, there are traces of filled moat.

At the time when Shengavit was flourishing center, it had the best defensive system.

People lived in round (sometimes, also rectangular) dwellings about 6 to meters in diameter and were built at a distance of 7.3 meters from each other, but they were connected with the last wall of the adjacent buildings.

Their walls had stone base, on which raw brickwork increased. A round, decorated clay fireplace (ojax) was located usually in the center of the house had an important – both economic and ritual role. Its appearance symbolized status and the success of family.

The walls of both round dwellings and rectangular buildings from inside and outside were plastered with clay. The round dwellings – covered with rubbles – had a corridor-entrance opened from east side.

Shengavit ancient burial places were found outside the walls of the city. Each unearthed tomb had place for 10-12 people, sacrificed animals, burial property, tools, goods, black clay pots, flint and obsidian, cupper armlets, earrings and beads.

According to one theory, Shengavit’s burial area was once inside the walled city, Later, for some unknown reasons, Shengavit became confined to a smaller place within the walls and the abandoned area became a burial place, which was built in the 3,000 BC.

Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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