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YEREVAN. - The Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences considers the idea of the Culture Ministry to lease the world-renowned Areni 1 cave as absurd and illiterate.   

Earlier, the Ministry adopted a decision to lease the Magelan Cave, Birds Cave (Areni 1), Bear’s Cave, Mozrov Cave and Stone Doors Cave.

Director of the institute, Pavel Avetisyan, expressed his extremely negative stance on the matter, telling Armenian News – NEWS.am that unlike other caves, Areni 1 is not ready for tourist flow,

“If in case of other caves tourists’ visit can be allowed, no excavations being carried out and no layers being opened there, this is unacceptable in case of Areni 1. Excavations were carried out in the cave; the layers are open and serious work needs to be carried out there. Tourists can be considered here as only a small fragment in the general program. In its current form, the ministry’s initiative is rather aimed at the destruction of the monument,” Avetisyan stressed.

“This is a very unserious decision. It’s nonsense. People who made such a decision don’t understand the matter and expressed a devil-may–care attitude to the monument preservation,” the director concluded.

Areni 1 Cave is situated in Areni in Vayots Dzor Province, 105 km far from Yerevan (Armenia). The cavern is a collection of small caves with a total area of about 400-600 square meters. Based on the results of radiocarbon examination, samples taken from these layers) are traced back to late 5th- early 4th millennium BC. A more recent excavation uncovered evidence of wine production from the Chalcolithic period,which is one of the earliest known sites for wine fermentation in the world (4th millenium  BC). The oldest footwear of the world was found here, which is about 6000 years old. 

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