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Shengavit Archaeological Site

A unique Early Bronze Age ancient site-monument in the south-western part of Yerevan on the eastern cape of Lake Yerevanian.

Shengavit, a significant monument of the Early Bronze Age in the Armenian Highlands, is situated in Yerevan. The excavations carried out during various periods, such as 1936-1938, 1956-1983, and 2000-2012, have provided valuable insights into its history. Shengavit was established around the 4th millennium and thrived for over a thousand years.

The settlement was given the name Shengavit after the Yerevan district where it is located since its original native name remains unknown. Although its borders were once broader, much of the area has been developed, leaving only the preserved hill.

Shengavit offered favorable conditions for human habitation, being close to the fertile Ararat Valley and the Hrazdan River, which provided abundant water and food resources. The people of Shengavit were skilled agriculturists who efficiently irrigated vast lands with Hrazdan's waters, resulting in bountiful grain harvests. The excavation revealed a wealth of agricultural tools, indicating the advanced agricultural economy of the time.

The defense system of Shengavit stands as a classic example of ancient Eastern fortifications. The construction of the stone wall, a significant public structure, was achieved through communal efforts under centralized governance.

The city's houses were closely packed together, a common feature of Ancient East cities, and the excavation unearthed a coppersmith's workshop with around 10 pottery fragments. Notably, the "Yerevan treasure," consisting of 22 copper weapons and tools weighing several tens of kilograms, was found just 15 km away from Shengavit.

The excavations also revealed rectangular halls in the upper layers of Shengavit, believed to be spaces for rituals or family prayer areas, supported by the discovery of various cult objects.

One of the most impressive findings was a large house covering an area of approximately 150 square meters. This dwelling could accommodate several families of a patriarchal community, living together.

The abundance of hearths discovered in the upper horizon of Shengavit indicates that the site served not only as an administrative, economic, and cultural center but also as a religious hub—a sacred city featuring multiple temples dedicated to various deities. The presence of numerous hearths suggests the existence of complex religious systems and the establishment of a priestly class within Shengavit.

Through excavations and stratigraphic observations, it has been revealed that the Middle Bronze Age culture of Armenia originated in the Early Bronze Age within the foundation of the Shengavit culture. Over time, this culture gradually spread across the entire Eurasian Caucasus, reaching as far as the great Caucasian mountain range.

Following the downfall of the Shengavit culture, the ancient site transformed into a burial ground where neighboring communities laid their deceased compatriots to rest.

Presently, the remnants of the ancient site feature dwellings with round or quadrangular bases interconnected by narrow, sloping streets, reflecting the layout and structure of the settlement during its heyday.