Armenia, cradle of Indo-European civilization

Armenia, cradle of Indo-European civilization

Recent discoveries of Armenian archeologists could lead to rewriting history of the Ancient World in the near future.

In the study of ancient civilizations Armenia often remained on the sidelines, as if she had not been involved in major historical turnovers. The researchers’ interest was almost always confined to the territory of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. But, naturally the “factor” of Armenia could not be excluded in the formation of ancient civilizations. There is much evidence to prove it. Nevertheless, for one reason or another Armenia, yet, was left out from the list of possible leaders.

PanARMENIAN.Net - There are, of course, scholars who claim that cultural achievements on the Armenian Plateau in such fields as metallurgy, architecture, military science, and winemaking penetrated into Assyria, Palestine, Egypt and the North Caucasus. For example, according to British orientalist and archaeologist G. Childe, in its impressive antiquity and values the culture of the Armenian Plateau can compete with the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley.

Reaching after the truth, scientists have always faced many fundamental questions. The first - where did the ancient civilizations get their unique knowledge from? The second - development of sciences and arts is not recorded in the annals of ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Iran, etc.). Technological revolution seems “instantaneous”. But technological advance is a long-term development, which should be reflected in the evolution of applied technologies. The process of phased development should be reflected in the cultural layers of this or that civilization. It must have been shown on artifacts, which would affirm the “copyright” of these civilizations on the “know-how” ancient inventions. The third - in early years, objects reflecting the advanced state of Mesopotamia, Egypt and other regions were often imported. It has been proved by laboratory studies, using the methods of exact sciences (spectral and radiocarbon tests, etc.). It seems that the known so far advanced civilizations lived on some unknown source that provided them with cultural and technical growth. Historians have always wrestled with the question where this amazing knowledge was obtained from.

The latest facts of Armenian archaeology fill this gap.

On the southern slopes of Mount Aragats in the territory which has been called Naver since the earliest times, ancient necropolis (Nerkin Naver - lower graves and Verin Naver – upper graves) was discovered still back in 1975. This finding immediately attracted the archaeologists’ attention. Soon it was clear where the name of this place came from. In many ancient European languages “Nav” or “Nef” not only meant a ship, but also a grave. Apparently, in ancient times this concept was associated not only with sea voyages. It also had a sacred meaning: ships carried the souls of the dead to the netherworld. The whole “flotilla” of these “ships” revealed to the world such an abundance of unknown facts that the researchers were just stunned. Burial mounds date back to the 3000-2000 B.C. This was proved by a series of radiocarbon analyses of artifacts held in laboratories of Germany and the USA. These data wonderfully confirm the written information given by ancient Armenian historians, in particular, Movses Khorenatsi (“History” 5th c.), who states that the son of Hayk (ancestor of the Armenian people), Aramanyak and his family settled down on the southern slopes of Aragats, near a river. It happened after the victory of Hayk over the Mesopotamian king - tyrant Bel. According to the chronology of the Armenian historian Ghevond Alishan (19th c.) it was in 2492 B.C.

Nerkin Naver was the burial place for high-ranking people. Verin was for peasants. In the upper graves there has been excavated an area of 7000 m2 and 70 burial mounds of common people are discovered, while in the lower graves there were excavated only 8 princely burial mounds.

“The collected material suggests that Armenia is the ancestral home of Indo-European civilization,” says Director of the Scientific and Research Institute of Historical and Cultural Heritage of the RA Ministry of Culture, candidate of historical sciences Hakob Simonyan. “This is the most ancient burial site, where information about the Aryan way of life and Aryan thinking is recorded. Here we find evidence of goods production, which was unique for those times. The findings provide a new interpretation of the development of civilizations,” Simonyan says.

In the burial site there were also found lots of gold decorations, weapons, bones of revered animals, well-ornamented black- and red-glossed pitchers. This was a “traditional” set typical for the graves of that period. However, the sensational findings mark out his necropolis from others of this kind. This message canned in centuries gives a fair idea about the role and significance of the ancient Armenian civilization.

“Here we find all types of Indo-European burials: cremation (for VIPs), gnawing of corpses by specially trained dogs (for retinue of the king) and the simple burials (for peasants). The latter were buried on their side: men on the right and women on the left,” continues Simonyan. “And in every royal grave we usually find bones of two sacrificed horses. But the most striking thing that we found here is the iron bits, whose composition, according to chemical analysis, is similar to the oldest metal products from Dorak and Alagja-Uyuk (Asia Minor, the end of 3000 B.C.). In fact, this is the third such discovery in the world, dating back to the 23c. B.C. In the burial mound N2 there has been discovered a black hydria (a large jar), on the “shoulders” of which there are depicted six pairs of chariot wheels. The wheels have 4 spokes. It is typical of the earliest chariot wheels. Another startling discovery is the red-glossed pitcher. It shows a herd of thoroughbred domesticated horses. An eloquent proof of it is their hair-cut manes and braided tails. An image of a herd of such antiquity is unique in the whole Near East. This information is a weighty argument in favor of the fact that Armenia, among other things, is the home of horse breeding. Excavations revealed also fine pieces of jewelry and beads of colored glass. Some products are made of quartz. However, it’s striking, taking into consideration that the melting temperature of quartz is 1700 °C. How our ancestors did it remains a mystery. Such quality of glass is exclusive throughout the ancient East of 3000 B.C.! Glass beads were also found in the ancient settlement of Shengavit (4000-3000 B.C.) and were over 1000 years older than these findings. Patterns on gold products are quite similar to the ornaments on ceramics. And because ceramics is of local production, it would be logical to assume that gold jewelry is the handiwork of the same local craftsmen.”

Many facts indicate that Armenia at that time was involved in international trade relations. Examples of this are Mesopotamian clam shells, agaltomelit beads (deposits of this stone are found only in Korea, China and Japan), lapis lazuli beads from Badahshan (Central Asia), imported goods from the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea, etc. Hence, it can be concluded that trade relations were already regulated by certain legal norms, such as purchase contracts, exchange contracts, etc.

Another finding of special importance is the rapier, which was the first professional military weapon. It dates back to the XXIII c. B.C. Spectral analysis showed that the found rapier is made of tin bronze. The content of tin in the rapier is 11-12%. It’s the classic formula. According to isotopic analysis, the copper ore is of Armenian origin. It was extracted from Alaverdi (Lori Region). The tin is imported (presumably from Central Asia). It should be noted that all these artifacts have something in common with the samples obtained from the ancient city of Shengavit. There is also observed rapid development of crafts and technology (pottery, metallurgy, wine-making).

In this regard, involved in the excavation works in Shengavit, Mitchell S. Rothman, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania declared that all these data suggest that approximately in 3000 B.C. the culture of ancient Armenia spread across the world. “Armenia is the missing piece of the mosaic of building civilizations of the ancient world. Shengavit and Naver have completed those missing “chains” that we faced while studying the ancient culture of Mesopotamia,” says Rothman.

The American scientist’s words overlap with ancient Mesopotamian information sources (such as the Epic of Gilgamesh 3000 B.C.), which states that from the knowledge of at least 5 branches: construction, metallurgy, grain cultivation, gardening, and wine making spread from Armenia to Mesopotamia (see Artak Movsisyan, “Armenia in 3000 B.C.”).

Considering all these latter-day facts, it can be assumed that in the near future the history of the Ancient World will have to be rewritten. However, there is a time for things.

Gayane Vasilyan / PanARMENIAN News
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