A New Golden Age of Archeology
310 pages

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310 pages

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This book uses both succinct, informative essays and beautiful, detailed photography to reveal how recent archeological discoveries in the ancient country of Armenia have transformed our understanding of the origins of human civilization and humanity itself. It also tells the story of a heroic team of Armenian archeologists who have singlehandedly created a new golden age of archeology in their country. Their work demonstrates that Armenia has hosted a continuous human presence for at least 2 million years. They have succeeded in documenting the evolution of humanity and human culture across this vast span of time in minute detail. Their discoveries include the oldest known winemaking complex, the recreation of the first wines, the oldest known work of art, the oldest shoe yet discovered, and one of the oldest known religious documents. This book chronicles their achievements in a manner that lets the reader become part of the process of exploration and feel the excitement of discovery.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 mai 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781680531916
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 58 Mo

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A New Golden Age of Archeology: Recent Discoveries in Armenia
Michael Gfoeller
Academica Press Washington~London
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Gfoeller, Michael (author)
Title: A new golden age of archeology : recent discoveries in armenia | Gfoeller, Michael.
Description: Washington : Academica Press, 2022.
Identifiers: LCCN 2022937012 | ISBN 9781680531916 (ebook)
Copyright 2022 Michael Gfoeller
A Map of Our Discoveries in Armenia
Contents Author’s Note 1. The Garden of Eden 2. Early Humans in the Armenian Highlands 3. Paradise of the Neanderthals 4. The Advent of Modern Humans 5. Mastering Nature 6. The Cave of Dionysus: The Cult of Wine and Resurrection 7. Sacred Cities 8. The Origins of Art 9. The Tombs of the Ancestors 10. The Ancient Gods
Author’s Note
Some 24 years ago, in April of 1998, I visited Armenia for the first time. Having studied the history of Eastern Europe and the Middle East to a certain degree, I thought I knew what to expect: a small, ancient country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, with a culture and history of some interest but no great historical significance.
How wrong I was! I found instead a nation with a vibrant tradition of civilization stretching back into the unexplored depths of history. I found a people for whom the ancient ideals of courage, honor, hospitality, and respect for learning and beauty were not revered memories but the foundation of their every day lives. Although I am not of Armenian heritage, I had the odd sensation of having returned home.
As I explored contemporary Armenia, visiting every corner of the country, I noticed something else: the omnipresence of the heroic past. Everywhere I went there were vast ruined monasteries, cathedrals, and fortresses, mysterious temples and sacred caves, lost cities more impressive than Pompeii or Herculaneum, and enigmatic signs of a still more distant past. Although I am not a scholar, I felt that merely by visiting these magical places I was immersing myself in the forgotten memory of humanity.
I had the great good fortune to make the acquaintance of several remarkable people, who in subsequent years have played heroic roles in the rediscovery of so much of the ancient history of Armenia and all of humanity. They were Dr. Boris Gasparyan, of the Armenian Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Dr. Dimitri Arakelyan, of the Armenian Institute of Geological Sciences, Mr. Suren Kesejyan, and Mr. Hovik Partevyan. Together we visited hundreds of ancient sites during the two years of my residence in Armenia.
After my return to the United States, I could not forget what I had seen. Moreover, I had become convinced that Armenia was one of the last truly great, but largely unexplored archeological territories in the world. I instinctively believed that hidden in its soil were answers to some of the fundamental questions regarding the origins of human civilization, and of humanity itself. Together with my brother Joachim Gfoeller and his associates David Mock and the late Jeffrey Gilfix, we decided to create a nonprofit foundation to support historical and archeological research in Armenia. Dr. Gasparyan, Dr. Arakelyan, Mr. Kesejyan, and Mr. Partevyan agreed to join us in establishing this new foundation. They were supported by Dr. Pavel Avetisyan, the distinguished archeologist who subsequently served as the director of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography.
At the very beginning we adopted the founding principle that all scientific decisions would be made by the Armenian members of the foundation. I believed from the beginning that they had the potential to make historic discoveries that would change our understanding of the past in fundamental ways. All we had to do was empower them. And so it turned out. Beginning with the excavation of the ancient city of Agarak, the Gfoeller Renaissance Foundation has made an amazing series of discoveries over the last two decades. Some, such as our discovery of the oldest known wine making complex or the oldest known shoe, became widely known. Others, such as our discovery of early human sites proving than humanity has been present in Armenia for 2 million years, are not yet well known beyond scientific circles but deserve to be.
And that is the purpose of this book. It has been conceived as a report on the most important discoveries our foundation has made over our first twenty years of operation. It consists of ten brief essays setting forth our discoveries and hundreds of photographs documenting them. Our ambition has been to involve the reader to the greatest possible extent in the hard work, adventure, and excitement of archeological discovery. Hence our preference for photographs over text, for a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
Throughout the last two decades we have benefited from the partnership and support of numerous institutes and universities. Without them we could have done little. We are particularly grateful to the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography and its legendary director, Dr. Pavel Avetisyan, who has led a golden age of archeology in Armenia.
I offer my deepest thanks to my teachers and comrades in our foundation, who have dedicated their lives and careers to searching for that most fragile and valuable of treasures, the truth about our common human origins. Realizing that we are a species suffering from amnesia, they have worked tirelessly to awaken us. Even in Armenia, a country in which courage is a common virtue, their heroism is remarkable. Their dedication has borne unique fruit. I salute them.
Our projects in Armenia were successful thanks to the support and cooperation of our numerous overseas partners, particularly the following institutions:
University of Connecticut (USA)
University of North Carolina at Greensboro (USA)
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA (USA)
Yale University (USA)
University of Winchester (UK)
University College Cork, Cork (Ireland)
Maison de l’ Orient et de la Mediterranee, Lyon (France)
University of Innsbruck (Austria)
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tübingen (Germany)
MONREPOS Archeological research Center, Neuwied, Rheinland-Pfalz (Germany)
ISMEO – The International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies, Rome (Italy)
Institute of Historical Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Pardubice (Czech Republic)
Tokai University, Hiratsuka, Kanagawa (Japan)
Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Haifa (Israel)
Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem (Israel)
Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (Russia)
Yerevan State University (Republic of Armenia)
Institute of Geological Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences (Republic of Armenia)
Scientific Research Center of Historical and Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, and many others.
We would like to offer special thanks to these scientists and scholars from our partner organizations:
Dr. Daniel S. Adler
Dr. Andrew W. Kandel
Dr. Ch. Chataigner
Dr. Ellery Frahm
Dr. Angela Bruch
Dr. Makoto Arimura
Dr. Jan Frolik
Dr. Ariel Malinsky-Buller
Dr. Hayk Avetisyan
C. Moraes, and many others
Dr. Guy Bar-Oz
Dr. Alexia Smith
Dr. Pavel Avetisyan
Dr. Samvel Nahapetyan
A. Khechoyan
J. Sindelar
Dr. Keith N. Wilkison
Dr. H.-P. Uerpmann
Dr. S. Samei
Dr. Phil J. Glauberman
Dr. Ron Pinhasi
Dr. D. Schäfer
Dr. Roberto Dan
Dr. Y. Raczynski-Henk
Dr. Dani Nadel
Dr. Kristine Martirosyan-Olshansky
Dr. Lisa Stapleton
K. Bayramyan
We would also like to thank the many institutions that provided generous financial support for our excavations and research. All of our projects were brought to life through funding sources available from the Government of Armenia (Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography) and different foreign state and private foundations including:
US Embassy to Armenia
French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
National Geographic Society
University of Connecticut (Norian Armenian Programs
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)
National Science Foundation
Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences
UK Natural Environment Research Council
Leakey Foundation
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Volkswagen foundation
Steinmetz Family Foundation
Chitjian Foundation, and many others.
1 The Garden of Eden

Armenia is one of the first and earliest homes of humanity. Archeological and paleontological excavations conducted over the last 25 years have demonstrated that it has hosted a continuous human presence for over 2 million years. Armenia is one of the few places in the world, along with East Africa, where all of the phases of human evolution over this vast period of time can be detected in the geological and archeological record.
Armenia seems to have provided an environment for our earliest ancestors comparable to the Garden of Eden. It possessed all of the qualities and characteristics needed for them to thrive. Among them were ample water resources in the form of pure springs and mountain streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes, including Lake Sevan, one of the largest alpine lakes in the world. Historic Armenia included two other major lakes: Lake Van, now in eastern Turkey, and Lake Urmia, now in northwestern Iran.
Thanks to its temperate climate and water resources, ancient Armenia provided early humans with abundant food supplies, in the form of animals, fresh water fish, fruit-bearing trees, and edible plants. Its pastures, forests, mountains, and valleys abounded in game of all kinds, including wild sheep, cattle, and antelope. Its pristine lakes and streams teemed with life, including trout and crayfish. It produced the earliest forms of such basic staples as wheat and wine grapes. Peach, pear, pomegranate, and apple trees grew wild.
Armenia provided early human populations with rich resources for making th

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