Shengavit

The Shengavit settlement is one of the most important archaeological monuments in Armenia from the early Bronze Age. It is located in the southwest of Yerevan, on the left bank of the Hrazdan. The hill covers an area of 6 hectares and the area is 30 meters above the river. Between 1936 and 1938, the archaeologist Yevgeny Bajburdyan observed and carried out excavations at the site for almost two decades. In 1958, under the direction of Sandro Sardaryan, archaeological observations and excavations began. Between 1958 and 1980 he dug out the central preserved part of the settlement. Since August 2000, further excavations have been carried out by a joint Armenian-American archaeological expedition led by archaeologist Hakob Simonyan. These archaeological excavations have shown that the settlement was surrounded by a high wall, which was built of rough stones, it had an underground, tiled tunnel to the river Hrazdan and graves, spread outside the wall.

The old Shengavit settlement is currently part of the primitive communal tribal society. The basic settlement consists of four archaeological and cultural layers, each four meters deep. These can be classified as follows:

First Layer: Late Neolithic (3500-3000 BC)

Second Layer: Early Copper Age (Eneolithic) (3000-2700 BC)

Third Layer: Middle Aeneolithic (2600-2300 BC)

Fourth Layer: Late Eneolithic (2300-2000 BC)

The pottery found in the first layer, dating back to the late Neolithic period, is roughly decorated on its white surface. Bowls, cups and plates were also explored side by side. The objects from the first layer mainly consisted of stone obsidian, flint and basalt. In addition, rough-hewn stone axes and tools made of bone were uncovered, such as needles, heads of spindles and arrowheads, which are the proof of a developed textile industry. The remains of large and small cattle indicate that livestock breeding was also developed here. The spindle heads unveiled in Shengavit are evidence of a sophisticated textile industry that has produced materials and garments. During the last excavation, the traces of pipe mats were excavated as well.

The reasons for the collapse of this early agricultural settlement are still the subject of discussions among professionals. The majority believes that three main factors contributed to the collapse of the settlement:

a) environmental changes in the last quarter of the third millennium BC;

b) economic conditions;

c) ethnic replacement and invasions.

As a result, the settlement was abandoned, until the last quarter of the third millennium BC. According to archaeological materials, in the late third millennium BC and in the first half of the second millennium BC, people used this abandoned site as the graveyard. Later, in the Middle Ages, a small village was also established on the site. On the basis of these excavation materials, the Shengavit Cultural Reserve was founded in 1968 as a branch of "Erebuni" Historical and Archaeological Cultural Reserve. In 2003, the museum was renamed the Shengavit Historical and Archaeological Preserve. Today, some of these items are exhibited in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan. The Shengavit branch of the Erebuni Historical and Archeological Heritage Reserve was established on May 24, 1968, under resolution 225, passed by the Government of the Republic of Armenia. The discoveries of the famous archaeological site of Shengavit, which comprises 18 collections, form an inseparable part of the museum's historical, archaeological and cultural reserve.