Gogaran is a small Village in Lori region in northern Armenia.
The Village was not far from the epicenter of the Spitak Earthquake of 1988. The earthquake leveled the village, causing many deaths. International assistance poured in from around the world, reconstructing much of the village. The Land and Culture Organization began relief work in the village as well, and later on ended up reconstructing the long destroyed ruins of an ancient church in the middle of the village.
That village church is an early example of Christian architecture in Armenia. The Land and Culture Organization brought volunteers from around the world to work with a team of hired villagers to rebuild the church with Yerevan architect Stepan Nalbandyan in charge. The church was worked on through the mid 90s and reopened in the late 1990s.
Gogaran is also known because of an Iron Age mausoleum discovered in 2008 by the archeologists in the village.
The discovery was announced in September 2008, and it was 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 BC).
The mausoleum is surrounded with half-processed and semi-concaved large stones, rimmed with smaller ones.
Excavator’s attention has also been drawn by the flagstone shield of the mausoleum and the 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, said that 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, said Marukyan.
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 said.
Despite the decay of the remnants with only part of the little finger and several teeth remaining, there are no doubts the ruler belonged to Armenians, Marukyan insists, saying that despite the remains have not been exposed to genetic identification yet, the ancient monuments so far discovered on the territory of Lori belong to the Armenian culture.
Specialists said that the territory of the discovered monument can be referred to pre-Christian settlements and has been a residence of the princes of those times.
- Thaindian.com., October 4, 2008