Areni 1

2007-2012 excavations uncovered layers of material culture dating to different periods of the Copper (Chalcolithic) Age.


Areni 1

Areni 1 Cave lies to the west of Areni village, overlooking the left bank of the Arpa River. Located in cliffs at the entrance to Noravank canyon, it is a three-room karst cavern made from limestone formations in the Arpa valley.

2007-2012 excavations uncovered layers of material culture dating to different periods of the Copper (Chalcolithic) Age.

Clay structures of different sizes and shapes were found in the first room. The complex includes various food storage pots, jars and barrels and a wine-press, with remnants of grapevines and seeds found nearby.

Based on examination results,  pots and pot fragments, metal and stone artifacts, fabric scraps and organic remnants are traced back to the last quarter of the 5th millennium and the first half of the 4th millennium BCE.  A 5,500-year-old leather shoe was uncovered during the 2008 excavations, the oldest piece of footwear known.

The cave had another use—as a ritual hall. Buried skulls of young women were discovered at the archeological site. These burials most probably reflect ancient ideas about fertility ritual.

Study of centuries-old winemaking in the area (Arpa valley) and Areni 1 cave archeological finds suggests that viticulture has at least a 6,000 year history.

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    How to reach The cavern is about 2 hours from Yerevan, depending on your vehicle and driver. To get there go south on the M2 highway 110 km and past Areni to the Noravank turn. The cavern is right above the ricer side café at the entrance to the canyon.

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