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VOLUME V, ISSUE 2 - 2010


Association for Near Eastern and Caucasian Studies Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography NAS RA, Institute of Oriental Studies NAS RA, German University of Armenia


(22-24 SEPTEMBER, 2009, YEREVAN) Edited by Aram Kosyan, Armen Petrosyan and Yervand Grekyan




ARTICLES SIMON HMAYAKYAN. The Study of Urartian Monuments in the Republic of Armenia (1992-2007)  9 STEPHAN KROLL. Urartu and Hasanlu  21 INESSA KARAPETYAN. The susi-Temple of Argitiinili-Armavir  36 ROBERTO DAN. An Hypothesis of Reconstruction of the susi-Temple at Karmir-Blur  44 CHRISTIAN KONRAD PILLER. Northern Iran in the Iron Age II and III: A Neighbour of Urartu?  53 SEDA DEVEDJYAN. Some Urartian Objects from the Tombs of Lori Berd  76 HUSIK MELKONYAN, INESSA KARAPETYAN, NORA YENGIBARYAN The Excavations of the Newly Found Urartian Fortress in Getap  90 DAVID STRONACH, Henrik Thrane, Clare Goff and Alan Farahani. Erebuni 2008-2010  99 NVARD TIRATSYAN. An Urartian Jar Burial from Nor Armavir  134 REZA HEIDARI. Hidden Aspects of the Mannean Rule in Northwestern Iran  147 REIHANE AFIFI. Urartian Engravings in Glazed Bricks Found during the Excavations of Rabat-Tepe, Sardasht, Iran  152 GAREGIN TUMANYAN. The Cimmerian-Scythian Sepulchres of the Armenian Highland  188 HAYK HAKOBYAN. Gregory the Illuminator in front of Pagan Temple  201 ARSEN BOBOKHYAN. Cultural Identity and Archaeology: An Ethnoarchaeological Case Study of Vakfl Village, Musa Ler  237 SUMMARIES  256 ABBREVIATIONS  280


Roberto Dan

The great Urartian1 fortress of Karmir-blur2, like the fortress of Arin-berd, has been progressively absorbed by the unrestrained urban expansion of the Armenian capital, Yerevan. Today the site is located in its western suburbs, in the Nerkin Charbakh quarter of the engavit district. The fortress is known as the red hill due to the reddish colour of the remains of the mud bricks, burnt during the fire that marked the end of the settlement.3 It was originally identified, thanks to its discovery in 1936 by the geologist A.P. Demechin,4 from the fragment of a stone slab bearing a cuneiform inscription5 mentioning the name of Rusa, son of Argiti (Rusa II, first half of the VII cent. B.C.).6 Karmir-blur, the City of Teieba was presumably the first great fortress founded by him, followed probably by those of Bastam, Kef Kalesi, Ayanis and Toprakkale.7 The site was then abandoned to looters and exploited by local villagers as a quarry up until 1939, when excavations conducted by Boris B. Piotrovskij and K. L. Oganesjan8 started, making the site of Karmir-blur the most extensive and longevous archaeological excavation of the whole Transcaucasia.9 The fortress is articulated in two nucleuses: the main part to the east consists of a large trapezoidal terrace reinforced by the presence of square corner towers and buttresses set at regular intervals along the bastions, while to the west there is a parade or drill ground surrounded by walls. West of this an inhabited area stretching for 40 hectares has been partially investigated.10
 or an historical outline of the kingdom of Urartu see in general Salvini 1995, and Salvini 2006: F 459-503. 2 Coordinates: 40 912.68N 44279.17E, altitude 920 m. 3 Many theories exist regarding who destroyed the fortress: according to Piotrovskij and Martirosyan  it was the invasion of the Cimmerians and the Scythes, according to Diakonoff they were the Medes, while Wiseman maintains that the Chaldean kings of Babylon were responsible. See Piotrovskij 1959; Martirosyan 1974; Diakonoff 1956; Wiseman 1956. 4 See Piotrovskij, introduction to Harutyunyan 1966: 5. 5 Piotrovskij 1950: 15 with drawing. It is a fragment belonging to section VIII of Rusas big temple  inscription (CTU 12-2); see CTU Vol. III p. 350-351. 6 All chronological references are taken from Salvini 2006: 502 and Salvini 2008: 23. 7 ilingirolu, Salvini 2001a: 23. 8 Hovhannisyan (Oganesjan) 1955. 9 Smith et al. 2009: 17. 10 Piotrovskij 1950: 13.

AJNES V/2, 2010, p. 44-52

The Susi-Temple at Karmir-blur

The terrace covered a considerable number of rooms or vaults - approximately 130 intended to offer ample storage space,1 whereas the use of some other rooms remains uncertain. These substructures of the fortress were accessible only from the building above trough of three flights of stairs (rooms A, B, C: Fig. 1). These rooms, whose walls were in some cases preserved up to a height of 8 metres, were made up of a base of large basalt blocks surmounted by mud bricks. They mostly have a rather elongated rectangular form in order to offer improved statics. In fact they bear the large beams which constitute the floor of the upper rooms. The thickness of the walls varied between 2.1 m (6 rows of bricks) and 3.5 m (10 rows of bricks). Among the numerous finds in these rooms many fragments of construction blocks present a great interest; eight of these bear cuneiform inscriptions2 which according form and content were immediately identified with the faade inscription of a characteristic susi3 temple and to which the fragment mentioned above also referred (Fig. 2). This type of tower temple consists of a mud brick construction of quadrangular design with square edge buttresses, resting on a two-faced basalt wall filled with earth and stone fragments which serve as foundation.4 The door, which presumably had a double frame, led to a square cella whose limited dimensions are caused by the thickness of the perimeter walls. The stone base and the substantial thickness of the walls were necessary to guarantee the stability of the considerable vertical development that such a structure required. The inscribed blocks, which constitute an exact duplicate of the inscription in the temple at Ayanis5 and which bear the ancient name of the fortress, City of the Storm god of the country of Aza, were found in a pit excavated during the Middle Ages6 located in correspondence with the southern area of the fortress, between rooms 97, 104-105, 113-116 (Fig. 1): they formed most certainly the platform which supported the temple7 and measured approximately 10 x 12 m. The most recent reconstruction stemming from the disposition of the inscription8 allows a constructive hypothesis as to the overall dimensions of the temple (Fig. 3, 5).
These are mostly storerooms containing large interred pithoi for wine, sesame oil and beer  (Piotrovskij 1970, Figs. 8-14), as well as granaries, storerooms for meat and dairy products, depositories for weapons and other iron tools, and ceramic vessels. 2 CTU A 12-2. 3 This type of structure is archaeologically certified in the sites of Toprakkale, Ayanis, Kayaldere,  Yukar Anzaf, Arin-berd, Altntepe, Bastam, Aznavurtepe at Patnos, avutepe, Krzt, Aa, Kevenli, Kef Kalesi at Adlcevaz, Davti-blur and perhaps at Yeilal, Verahram and Danalu. Although the city was dedicated to the storm god Teieba, the temple was dedicated to the cult of the god aldi, the highest divinity of the Urartian pantheon. 4 For the relationship between inscription and architectural structure see Salvini 1980: 249-269  (superseded by CTU A 12-2) and Salvini 2004: 245-275. 5 Ayanis: CTU A 12-1; Karmir-blur: CTU A 12-2. 6 It was approximately in this area of the hill that a few medieval farmhouses were found. Barnett,  Watson 1952: 132. 7 Piotrovskij 1970: 16, Fig. 18-19. 8 Salvini 2008: 570-571.


Roberto Dan

In particular, the four blocks of section II which refer to the left side of the faade, in the space between the corner buttress and the extreme edge of the threshold, measure 1.64 m. Comparing this measurement to the equivalent area in the temple of Ayanis, which measures 2.22 m1 and which is the best preserved Urartian temple, equally built by Rusa II, it can be deduced that the temple of Karmir-blur was slightly smaller. Simply comparing the proportions with the temple of Ayanis, a probable size of 2.66 x 2.66 m can be calculated for the corner buttress, while the doorway must have been approximately 1m large or little more. The left side of the temple therefore measured 4.30 m all-together: adding another 4.30m for the right hand side and a probable width of 1m for the doorway, it must be concluded that the temple had a faade measuring between 9.60 m and 10 m. At this point, remaining within the well known monuments of the Urartian architecture, a comparison can be also made with the dimensions of the older susi temple at avutepe, dedicated by Sarduri II to the god Irmuini, which measures 10 x 10 m. Further confirmation that the temple at Karmir-blur was indeed a classic example of the architectural concepts introduced by Rusa II lies also in the fact that several characteristic stone pillars2 were discovered, mistakenly interpreted by the excavators as decorative turrets3 (Fig. 4). These elements are typical of the modular architecture4 introduced in Urartu during the reign of Sarduri II (756-ca. 730 B.C.) and certified for the first time in the fortress at avutepe.5 Furthermore, they are present in the palace of Kef Kalesi/Adlcevaz6 as well as in the temenos and in a rear room of the temple at Ayanis.7 The reference module of this architecture was precisely the characteristic form of the temple-tower with edge buttresses which was repeated on a smaller scale in the pillars used to sustain palatine and temple porticos. At Karmir-blur these elements were uncovered at the southern end of room 28 (No. 57 in Fig. 1);8 the find consisted of five rectangular pillars made up of three rows in dry-stone
Salvini 2001: 255, Fig. 4.  he pillars from the site of avutepe are of similar dimensions. One of these, which the author measured T on 9 August 2009, is a rectangle of 274.5 x 204 cm. As far as the site at Ayanis is concerned, there is evident inconsistency between the data expressed in the text (ilingirolu 2001: 38, fig. 26.), which reports a square pillar measuring 2.50 x 2.50 m, and the evidence shown on the plan of the temple area where the pillars appear to be rectangular. The pillars in the temple of Kef Kalesi, also rectangular, measure 3 x 3.60 m. See Piotrovskij 1952: Pl. 10; Piotrovskij 1970: Fig. 7-8; Hovhannisyan (Oganesjan) 1955: 98, Fig. 58-59 on Karmir-blur; Bilgi, n 1967: 15, Pl. XV-XIIIb, on Kef Kalesi. 3 The misunderstanding concerning the ornamental turrets was solved already in 1964 thanks to the  excavations at Kef Kalesi: Bilgi, n 1964: 111. 4 The highest expression of Urartian modular architecture is to be found in the fortress structure  known as Ukale, at avutepe. 5 A room or hall with these pillars could be the work of Sarduri II, or possibly even that of Rusa  II himself, since building works are also attributed to him at avutepe. See Erzen 1988: 5, 12. 6 Two different types of pillars coexist on this site; along with those described there are ten or so  monolithic cubic blocks with a single line inscription (CTU A 12-10) and noteworthy figurative decorations on all four faces. 7 ilingirolu, Erdem 2007: 123-125. 8 These collapsed into storeroom 28, together with the dividing wall to rooms 30-31-32 (stairwell  B and rooms 59, 60 in fig. 1).
1 2


The Susi-Temple at Karmir-blur

of perfectly squared basalt blocks one upon the other with a stone core, measuring 155.4 cm high and with 2.60 x 2.10 m large sides.1 A sixth pillar was found in situ, and restored, on the top of a wall. Although all these pillars cannot be directly associated with the remains of the temple structure itself, but are probably pertaining to palatine rooms, it is legitimate to hypothesize that in the southern area, too, there may have been a structure with pillars in front of the temple. Such a hypothesis is reinforced by the particular disposition of the rooms adjacent to the quadrangular platform described previously (with specific reference to dividing and bearing walls between rooms 102-107 and 113-116) and which seem well suited to support such a structure as that visible in Fig. 6. Seemingly, this would have been characterised by the presence of a courtyard of 36 x 26 m in front of the temple, and where in all likelihood ten pillars would have guaranteed the possibility to construct permanent covering between them and the perimeter wall of the temenos. Only part of the underlying storage rooms could be accessed directly from the temple itself (rooms 113-116), while the others could only be reached via staircase C. In conclusion, the structure in question could well be a temple completely similar to the structure in Ayanis, erected according to an inventive criterion which involved the entire fortress. After all, due to stability reasons, the now lost structure of the upper floor had to correspond perfectly with the walls of the storage rooms below on which it rested. This particularity makes the tower temple of Karmir-blur the only Urartian temple structure to be built on an artificial podium2 rather than directly on the rocks as one would expect on the basis of a two hundred year architectural tradition. The general problem as to the height of the so-called tower temples remains open, and in particular so does that of stability. It is possible that the entire temple elevation was built with mud-bricks, for better lighten the structural weight of the building. Maybe only the inscriptions are made on the basalt stones. Moreover according to a practice not unusual in the Urartian architecture3, the external perimeter of the temple walls were plastered. Only the inscribed blocks were prepared to stay in sight, making impossible to know which type of material was used.
Roberto Dan Istituto di Studi sulle Civilt dell Egeo e del Vicino Oriente (CNR) Via Giano della Bella 18 00162 Roma, Italia roberto_dan@hotmail.it

Piotrovskij 1952: 28-30.  his element surely influenced the dimensions of the building which presumably anticipated less T vertical expansion compared to the others. 3 The inscription of Yukar Anzaf fortress (CTU A 5-42A), preserved in the Museum of Van, shows  a backward frame compared to the surface of the inscription, in order to be coated and partially incorporated by the plaster.
1 2


Roberto Dan

Barnett R. D., W. Watson 1952, Russian Excavations in Armenia, Iraq 14, 132-147. Bilgi E., B. n 1964, Excavation at Kef Kalesi of Adilcevaz (1964), Anadolu 8, 93-122. Bilgi E., B. n 1967, Second Season of Excavation at Kef Kalesi of Adilcevaz (1965), Anadolu 9, 11-19. ilingirolu A. 2001, Temple Area, in: ilingirolu, Salvini 2001, 37-65. ilingirolu A., A.. Erdem 2007, Ayanis Kalesi Kazlar, 2005, KST 28/1, 123-136. ilingirolu A., M. Salvini 2001a, The Historical Background of Ayanis, in: ilingirolu, Salvini 2001b, 15-24. ilingirolu A., M. Salvini 2001b (eds.), Ayanis I. Ten Years of Excavations at Rusainili Eiduru-kai 1989-1998, DocAs VI, Roma. de Martino S. 2006 (ed.), Storia dEuropa e del Mediterraneo, vol. II. Le civilt dellOriente mediterraneo, Roma. Diakonoff I.M. 1956, Istorija Midii, Leningrad. Erzen A. 1988, avutepe I, Urartian Architectural Monuments of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and a Necropolis of the Middle Age, Ankara. Harutyunyan (Arutjunjan) N.V. 1966, Novye urartskie nadpisi Karmir-blura, Yerevan. Hovhannisyan (Oganesjan) K.L. 1955, Karmir-Blur IV. Arxitektura Tejebaini, Yerevan (in Russ.). Martirosyan H. 1974, Argitixinili, Yerevan. Piotrovskij B.B. 1950, Karmir-blur I: Rezultaty raskopok. Arxeologieskie raskopki v Armenii, Yerevan. Piotrovskij B.B. 1952, Karmir-blur II, Rezultaty raskopok 1949-50 gg., Yerevan. Piotrovskij B.B. 1959, Vanskoe carstvo (Urartu), Moscow-Leningrad (Italian translation by M. Salvini. Il regno di Van (Urartu), InGr 12, Rome. 1966). Piotrovskij B.B. 1970, Karmir-blur, Albom, Leningrad. Sagona A. 2004 (ed.), A View from the Highlands: Trans-Caucasus, Eastern Anatolia and Northwestern Iran, Studies in Honour of C.A.Burney, Herent. Salvini M. 1980, Das susi-Heiligtum von Karmir-blur und der urartische Turmtempel, AMI 12, 249-269. Salvini M. 1995, Geschichte und Kultur der Urarter, Darmstadt. Salvini M. 2001, The Inscriptions of Ayanis (Rusainili Eiduru=kai). Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic, in: ilingirolu, Salvini 2001b, 251-319. Salvini M. 2004, Reconstruction of the susi Temple at Adilcevaz, on Lake Van, in: Sagona 2004, 245-275. Salvini M. 2006, Il regno di Urartu (Biainili), in: de Martino 2006 (ed.), 459-503. Salvini M. 2008, Corpus dei Testi Urartei (CTU), Vol. I-II-III, DocAs VIII, Rome. Smith A.T., R.S. Badalyan, P. Avetisyan 2009, The Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Trascaucasian Societies, vol. I: The Foundations of Research and Regional Survey in the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia, OIP 134, Chicago. Wiseman D.J. 1956, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings (626-556 B.C.) in the British Museum, London.


The Susi-Temple at Karmir-blur

Fig. 1. Plan of the fortress at Karmir-blur highlighting the area of reconstruction. From http://acc.spc.uchicago.edu/atsmith/CADI/html/karmfort/index.html


Roberto Dan

Fig. 2. Inscribed stones from the platform of the temple. From Piotrovskij 1970: Fig. 18.

Fig. 3. Reconstruction of the left side of the temple inscription (Sections I, II, III, [IV]). From Salvini 2008: vol. III, p. 349. 50

The Susi-Temple at Karmir-blur

Fig. 4. The stone pillar. From Piotrovskij 1970, Fig. 7.

Fig. 5 Reconstruction of the right side of the temple inscription (Sections [V, VI, VII] and VIII). From Salvini 2008: vol. III, p. 351. 51

Roberto Dan

Fig. 6. Reconstruction of the temple of Karmir-blur. Plan and cross-section.