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Excavations and valuable findings

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The excavations revealed dwellings and buildings without a definite plan, with mixed arrangements and irregular and crooked alleys.  The residents of Shengavit lived in round and quadrangular dwellings measuring between 6 and 8 metres in diameter.  The walls of the round dwellings featured a stone base topped with raw bricks.  A round, mobile clay stove with three cavities was present in the center of the dwelling, with a highly-decorated surface. In the center of the dwelling, there was a stone column anchor, on which the roof – made from rakes and cane – rested.  It is worth remembering that, specific to Armenia, the remains of these archaic quadrangular dwellings possibly had smooth roofs.  The inner part of the rooms, meanwhile, was tiled with cobblestones.

In addition, granaries have been opened, and a necropolis was excavated.  These discoveries are now exhibited in the Historical & Archaeological Culture-Preserve located on the site.  Of particular note are the debris of rough straw-mixed clay vessels, obsidian and flint shavings, blades, pear-shaped cutters and flint inserts for sickles which excavations have turned up.

A large number of lace needles and picks made of bones of goat and sheep have also been found,  giving evidence of a developed agriculture.  These findings prove that the inhabitants of Shengavit had a settled way of life, occupied with agriculture, especially with a grain cultivation culture.  Likewise, carbonized remains of wheat have been found, and worth noting in this context are the basalt mills and stone mortars and pestle used for seed grinding.  The discovered stone clubs were used for protection during hunting.

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Copper jewelry was considered to be especially valuable.  Using moulds in the shape of axes, daggers and lances, the people in the settlement were able to make tools which were better quality than those made from stone.  Copper, being a very soft metal, wasn’t very usable, so bronze was introduced as a replacement.  Bronze jewelry, such as ear-rings, bracelets, pins and needles, have also been found in tombs.

The pottery of Shengavit is striking in its high quality. Excavations revealed jars, jugs, bowls, cups and strainers in red, grey and orange colours.  These polished potteries carried geometrical decorations and images of animals, including birds, goats, horses and deer.

Moreover, religious objects, such as sacrificial altars, supports, lamps and fish statuettes (dedicated to the fishing deity and used as a talisman) have also been found in Shengavit, showing that rituals connected with nature, death and rebirth were not alien to the residents.  Individual statuettes of a woman, man, bird, ram and bull are of great historical interest.  Clay ram-headed fireplaces were used as ritual objects.

Archaeological explorations realised in the Shengavit settlement will help provide new and valuable information about the history and culture of this unique site.