Historical and cultural reserve Agarak is located to the south of Mount Aragats, on the banks of River Amberd (photos are available here). If you cross the highway near the village of the same name, you immediately find yourself in another time.
At the first sight nothing special for the site, full of stones and no trees.
The almost flat relief, located right next to the highway, stands out a hill of tufa. Tufa is relatively a soft stone, and it is easy to curve it even with primitive tools by primitive sculptures. This can be verified with examining layers of tufa cleared by archaeologists.
Here and there, on the gentle slopes of the rock, shallow pits are scattered, some of which are almost perfectly circular in a horizontal cross section, next to them are impressive rectangular pits carved into the tufa. The stones hewn have lots of mysterious characters. No doubt, this is the work of an ancient man who crafted the stone primitive tools.
It is an ancient necropolis, next to which, in a large area, religious and residential buildings of different eras are scattered. Armenian News-NEWS.am took an interview from an expert Pavel Avetisyan for more detailed information.
It turns out that many things belong to the so-called cultural stratum Agarak-1, dating from the early Bronze Age, which in Armenia begun in 3400 BC. Although it is not excluded, if we dig a little deeper, we can find even more ancient traces of human habitat here. So the settlement is ‘older’ than the great Egyptian pyramids at Giza.
The complex Agarak is “multi-layered,” people lived and built it in different historical epochs. Urartian royal period artifacts have been found on the southern side of the rock. Agarak flourished from the IV to III BC to II to IV AD.
An interesting detail is that in the necropolis, dating from the II to III AD, long before the official adoption of Christianity as the state religion in Armenia, Christian burial, according to the ritual features, is found. However, there are problems for the reserve site. One of them is the construction of the road North-South, which will destruct much findings and even more ancient layers if the Bronze Age.
As a matter of fact, systematic archaeological researches in the territory of contemporary Armenia [historical Armenia occupies much larger territory, including some lands presently controlled by its neighboring counties] are of a strategic importance for the future of our nation.
By Albert Khachatryan