This contribution presents new evidence on a specific kind of prehistoric sacred landscape, a high-altitude monumental sanctuary characterized by the presence of megalithic stelae decorated with animal relief. The contribution is based on the case-study of Karmir Sar, a recently discovered Chalcolithic and Bronze Age site located on the south slope of Mount Aragats (Armenia), at 2850 m a.s.l. Archaeological investigations demonstrate that, in the ancient South Caucasus, vertical zonality in landscape use conditioned all cultural developments and constituted an integrated system—a chain, each link of which was dominant during particular periods. An important link in this chain were transhumant pastoralists, who each summer moved—as they still do—with their flocks from lowlands to high-altitude pastures. High-altitudes plateaus also functioned as ritual landscapes. Karmir Sar is an extraordinary example of such high-altitude sacred sites. the site is a vast meadow with at least ten monumental stelae (vishaps or ‘dragon stones’) scattered over an area of c. 40 ha, the highest thus far known concentration of such monuments at a single site. Its archaeological investigation adds important data to our knowledge about the early social processes in the region. This article discusses the site in its wider prehistoric context, and presents the results of the excavation at and around the vishap ‘Karmir Sar 10’. We also discuss the longue durée of the vishap phenomenon, taking into account a persisting ‘sacredness’ reflected in place names, medieval texts and local folk traditions.

Karmir Sar. New evidence on dragon-stones and ritual landscapes on Mount Aragats, Armenia.

GILIBERT, Alessandra
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2018

Abstract

This contribution presents new evidence on a specific kind of prehistoric sacred landscape, a high-altitude monumental sanctuary characterized by the presence of megalithic stelae decorated with animal relief. The contribution is based on the case-study of Karmir Sar, a recently discovered Chalcolithic and Bronze Age site located on the south slope of Mount Aragats (Armenia), at 2850 m a.s.l. Archaeological investigations demonstrate that, in the ancient South Caucasus, vertical zonality in landscape use conditioned all cultural developments and constituted an integrated system—a chain, each link of which was dominant during particular periods. An important link in this chain were transhumant pastoralists, who each summer moved—as they still do—with their flocks from lowlands to high-altitude pastures. High-altitudes plateaus also functioned as ritual landscapes. Karmir Sar is an extraordinary example of such high-altitude sacred sites. the site is a vast meadow with at least ten monumental stelae (vishaps or ‘dragon stones’) scattered over an area of c. 40 ha, the highest thus far known concentration of such monuments at a single site. Its archaeological investigation adds important data to our knowledge about the early social processes in the region. This article discusses the site in its wider prehistoric context, and presents the results of the excavation at and around the vishap ‘Karmir Sar 10’. We also discuss the longue durée of the vishap phenomenon, taking into account a persisting ‘sacredness’ reflected in place names, medieval texts and local folk traditions.
Context and Connection. Essays on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of Antonio Sagona.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
OLA268_Bobokhyan_Gilbert_Hnila_cropped.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Accesso gratuito (solo visione)
Dimensione 988.56 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
988.56 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in ARCA sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3686316
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact