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YEREVAN. - The company, which wins the contest of leasing Areni 1 cave, must by all means ensure the excavations and scientific research in the future, Armenian Culture Minister Armen Amiryan told Armenian News - Wednesday.

Responding to the question on that many specialists have expressed concern about leasing Areni 1 cave, noting that this will destroy the historical monument, the minister said: “I don’t share this viewpoint at all, since after all we dictate the provisions of the agreement, the scientific work being much more important to us. A condition will be set before the winning company to mandatorily ensure excavations and scientific research in the cave in the future. Therefore, I think such formulations shouldn’t be given without knowing any facts.”

Currently, the minister is not aware of the facts either.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia has recently launched a contest of leasing four caves and a cave group for five years for the purpose of tourism. Among them is Areni 1 (Trchunneri (Birds') Cave), which is situated 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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