STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—Recent archaeological activities are yielding new and exciting finds in the ancient city of Dikranagerd, located in Artsakh.
Dikranagerd, the city built by Dikran the Great, was discovered in 2005. Since then, archaeologists have carried out excavations in various parts of the city and revealed such structures as the Mijnaberd Fortress and the Basilica Church, the director of the Atsakh Archaeological Expedition, Hamlet Petrosyan, told Armenpress.
Archaeologists now believe that Dikranagerd, founded in the first century B.C., was a large city with an advanced building plan and construction modes, many gardens, and a large population of several thousands.
In recent months, archaeologists have discovered a district with a territory of six to seven hectares. They also located a cemetery and upon, further excavations, discovered that the dead were buried with property, including coins, Petrosyan said.
The archaeological discoveries have been presented to communities in Yerevan, Stepanakert, the U.S., and Egypt.
“If we continue the excavations of Dikranagerd with this tempo, it will take 15-20 years to understand the blueprint of the city,” said Petrosyan, who is also the head of Yerevan State University’s department of cultural studies.
A museum and storage facility for the artifacts is under construction in Stepanakert. In the meantime, items that require special storage conditions are being kept at Yerevan State University’s archaeology lab. The rest, totaling over 3,000 items, are currently on exhibit at the Dikranagerd Museum. According to Petrosyan, between 300 and 800 artifacts are unearthed each year.
The government of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR) funds the excavation efforts. This year they earmarked 25 million AMD (less than $70,000) to the project—less than the sum allocated in previous years. “The government funds concrete excavations, and a small sum of money is provided for the needs of the expedition group,” said Petrosyan, adding that engineering-related costs, including equipment expenses, are funded through private sources.