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4 October 2008
Iron Age mausoleum discovered in Armenia

Archeologists at work in the Gogaran village of the Lori province have recently discovered a mausoleum unlike others that appeared in Armenia. The discovery announced in September is a novelty for the group of specialists of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia as it differs from other earlier known mausoleums in style and material it revealed. Unlike those in other finds, the mausoleum is made of hewn stone (instead of clay bricks). The structure is 14 meters in diameter, and is believed to have been prepared for a local prince from during the Iron Age (9th-7th century BCE). The mausoleum is surrounded with half-processed and semi-concaved large stones, rimmed with smaller ones.
     Excavators' attention has also been drawn by the flagstone shield of the mausoleum and the small grave pit rimmed with a small circle comprising articles typical of funeral rites. Hrachik Marukyan, researcher at the Lori provincial service for historic environment conservation of Armenia, says the age of the mausoleum is determined by the materials found there. The family of the ruler buried him in a special funeral rite, burying also his dagger, small and large ceramic vessels, a ceramic plate, and a necklace believed to be onyx, and also cattle and still unexamined species of animals. "Proof of its age is found in the blade of the dagger," Marukyan says.
     Marukyan points to the unique architectural structure of the mausoleum, the variety of geometric drawings on one of the large stones of the circle with a row of triangles, and the equal-winged cross inside the circle. "The cross indicates the four sides of the world and is the symbol of the Sun taken into the circle. It becomes a swastika, when turned, symbolizing the eternity of power over the world," Marukyan says. The findings are now moved to Yerevan for examination.

Source: Armenia Now (3 October 2008)

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