NOVEMBER 30, 2010

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 30, ARMENPRESS: Excavations of Tigranakert are
being carried out from 2006 in Artsakh. To sum up their results
"Armenpress" has interviewed Hamlet Petrosyan, head of the Artsakh
archeological expedition group, head of the Chair of Culture of
Yerevan State University.

-Summing up the results of the excavations carried out within 5 years,
what can we register?

-Our expedition group has specified in 2005 the concrete site of
Tigranakert, Artsakh, and in 2006-2008 we have carried out excavations
in different parts of the city and in its neighborhood, as a result of
which the structures of Mijnaberd, Basilica Church, etc have emerged.

The structures found out as a result of excavations conform that
Tigranakert was a spacious settlement with advanced architectural
plan and construction technique. Tigranakert, founded in the first
century B.C., was a white city rich in gardens.

-Mr. Petrosyan, Tigranakert, situated at the foot of a mountain,
has quite uncomfortable geographical position. How it happened that
till the 14th century it was considered one of the biggest cities of
the region, how did it attract people?

- Tigranakert was unequivocally a powerful building, and many found
items prove that. It is conditioned by fresh springs that the very
site was chosen for construction of the city, which had population
of at least several thousands.

-How are this year's excavations noteworthy?

-As a result of this year's excavations we have found out a district,
the approximate territory of which is 6-7 hectares. This year we have
also excavated one of the ancient graveyards of Tigranakert. Those
times property was buried with bodies. During excavations we have
found not only complete items, but Drams as well. We also managed to
clarify the Christian life of Tigranakert. Still in early Middle Age
Tigranakert kept its reputation of a big city. We have some sources
about that, but these excavations confirmed it.

-You described Tigranakert quite in detail. And why the model of the
city has not been designed up to now?

-There was a goal to design a model, but the results of the excavations
are not enough as of today. But some attempts have been made. Recently
a film has been screened about Tigranakert, where there is such an
experience, but they are not very scientific, and we cannot design
such a model. Instead, we have organized a number of exhibitions and
delivered lectures on the theme of Tigranakert abroad.

We have organized 3 exhibitions in Yerevan, 2 in Stepanakert, and have
come forth with a number of lectures and reports in the USA and Egypt.

We have been mainly invited by Armenian communities of the given

-Mr. Petrosyan, when will it be possible to get the distinct image
of the city, and how long will the excavations last?

-It is inadmissible to use larger tempo in excavations of Tigranakert.

The archeological material in Tigranakert is very rich, and
the expedition group must have time to work out those materials,
to restore and understand. Our goal is the research, and from that
viewpoint the expedition group works quite speedy. If we continue
the excavations of Tigranakert with this tempo, it will take 15-20
years to understand the main image of the city.

-What was the biggest revelation during the excavations, and where
do you keep the found items?

-The biggest revelation during the excavations was the basilic church.

A special reserve-museum is under construction in Stepanakert. Its
inner furnishing works will soon wrap up, and we will manage to keep
the found items there in special conditions. Now they are kept in the
laboratory of archeology of Yerevan State University. The artifacts,
for preservation of which no special conditions are necessary, are
exhibited at Tigranakert museum. From 300 to 800 items are found
every year as a result of excavations, and currently we have over
3000 exhibits.

-Is it only the NKR government that supports the excavations?

-Yes, and by the way, this year less money has been provided than
in the previous years -25 million AMD overall. The government funds
concrete excavations and a small sum of money is provided for the
needs of the expedition group, no money is extended for equipment
of corresponding engineering for implementation of excavations. The
majority of the engineering is obtained by private means.

From: A. Papazian