Surveying the Silk Road: Summer 2015 in Vayots Dzor (Part 1)

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The first field season of the Vayots Dzor Silk Road Survey (VDSRS) Project was a great success, taking us to the southwestern reaches of Armenia and up to the border of Azerbaijan.   We ( A. Babajanyan, K. Franklin and D. Davtyan) recorded medieval sites and remains from the western edge of Areni to the mountain slopes east of Agarakadzor, and had some adventures in the process!

Vayots Dzor is an amazing place to study archaeology– and medieval archaeology in particular.  History is thick on the ground in these valleys and canyons and on the slopes of the mountains, sometimes despite the best efforts of Soviet-era agriculture to bulldoze villages and cemeteries. The VDSRS Project gained a solid preliminary understanding of the network of sites which populated this region in the AD 13th-16th centuries.  We are busy processing our results, to share here, in publications, and in an open source map-form database which will be available very soon.

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The site of Ulgyur, a, 11th-century church (with associated village) accompanied by vishap-stones converted to khatchkars in the medieval period.  Ulgyur is famous as the burial site of the family of the late medieval architect Momik. 

All photographs courtesy of the authors.  

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