3 Dec 04

A group of archeologists from the Institute of Archeology within the
National Academy Sciences together with professors from Yerevan
Polytechnic Institute and Nagorno Karabakh state university carried
out excavations in the area of Handaberd monastery in Karabakh in
August of the current year. The undertaking was financed by the
Harutyunians from New Jersey, USA.

The major aim of the excavation was to prepare way for multifold
researches as well as to partially reconstruct the
monument. Historical documents inform that most of the buildings of
the monastery were built in 1276 AD by father Davit. Architectural
investigation indicates that the monastery was built around a
chapel. The monument differs from other classic Armenian churches with
construction methods and materials and allows the observers to
understand the architecture of 13-14th centuries.

As a result of the excavations there were found khachkars
(cross-stones), tombstones and documents dating back to 12-14
centuries. The found numerous pieces of inscriptions evidence that
literacy was widespread in Armenia. A khachkar with an engraved
horseman holding a spear in one hand and a goblet in the other is a
unique find. The examination of khachkars found in Artsakh show that
people of Artsakh always revered defenders of the motherland.

Stiffened pieces of stone found during the excavation were stated to
be flints after examinations carried out at the Archeological
Institute. The flint can be worked out only artificially and in high
temperatures. All the findings will be resting at the Archeological
till the end of the excavations and the construction of Karabakh's
would-be museum.

Prepared by Ruzan Poghosian