“Dragon stones” are prehistoric basalt stelae carved with animal imagery found in Armenia and surrounding regions. These monuments have a complex history of use and reuse across millennia, and the original date of creation is still a matter of debate. In this article, we present a unique dragon stone context excavated at the site of Lchashen, Armenia, where a three-and-a-half-meter high basalt stela with an image of a sacrificed bovid was found above a burial dating to the 16th century BC. The burial stands out among hundreds from this site as the only one in connection with a “dragon stone”, and one of very few containing the remains of newborn babies. Furthermore, our analyses of ancient DNA extracted from the well-preserved skeletal remains of two 0–2-month-old individuals showed them to be second-degree related females with identical mitochondrial sequences of the haplogroup U5a1a1 lineage, thus indicating that the infants are closely related. Additionally, we assessed that the buried individuals displayed genetic ancestry profiles similar to other Bronze Age individuals from the region.

Burial of two closely related infants under a “dragon stone” from prehistoric Armenia

Bobokhyan, Arsen
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Mkrtchyan, Ruzan
Data Curation
;
Gilibert, Alessandra
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2024-01-01

Abstract

“Dragon stones” are prehistoric basalt stelae carved with animal imagery found in Armenia and surrounding regions. These monuments have a complex history of use and reuse across millennia, and the original date of creation is still a matter of debate. In this article, we present a unique dragon stone context excavated at the site of Lchashen, Armenia, where a three-and-a-half-meter high basalt stela with an image of a sacrificed bovid was found above a burial dating to the 16th century BC. The burial stands out among hundreds from this site as the only one in connection with a “dragon stone”, and one of very few containing the remains of newborn babies. Furthermore, our analyses of ancient DNA extracted from the well-preserved skeletal remains of two 0–2-month-old individuals showed them to be second-degree related females with identical mitochondrial sequences of the haplogroup U5a1a1 lineage, thus indicating that the infants are closely related. Additionally, we assessed that the buried individuals displayed genetic ancestry profiles similar to other Bronze Age individuals from the region.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
JASR_57_2024.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Accesso gratuito (solo visione)
Dimensione 12.2 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
12.2 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
JASR_57_2024_small.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Accesso gratuito (solo visione)
Dimensione 786.12 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
786.12 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/10278/5059961
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact