Excavations at Tsakahovit Late Bronze Age
Excavations at Tsakahovit in 2003 continued to focus on two primary phases of settlement: the construction of the massive hilltop fortress in the Late Bronze Age and the reoccupation of the site during the Yervandid period of the mid-first millennium B.C.
During the mid-first millennium B.C., about the same time that the Urartian Empire was waning, settlers came again to Tsakahovit after an absence from the region that lasted almost 500 years. Why the Tsakahoviit Plain was abandoned during the Early Iron Age and Urartian period is a question that we are exploring. But when people returned to the region, Tsakahovit reemerged as a dynamic regional center. The new residents occupied both the base of the hill and the summit, leaving the terraces carved during the Late Bronze Age largely untouched.
The village at the base of the hill was briefly examiined in 1998 but will be the focus of more intensive excavations beginning in 2005. The Yervandid layers on the summit received considerable attention during the 2002 and 2003 field seasons. It appears that large segments of the LBA fortification wall were rebuilt during the Yervandid occupation, using a less cyclopean masonry. New structures, possibly residential, were constructed as well, in some places by digging into the LBA layers. The result is a complex stratigraphic situation that has in several places provided sequential occupation layers and in others destroyed much of the LBA strata.
The nature of the Yervandid occupation at Tsakahovit is difficult to assess at present. Few Yervandid settlements have been excavated in Armenia and we remain particularly unclear about the nature of life in small to mid-sized towns and villages. Continuing investigations will provide us with an entirely new view upon everyday life after the Urartian collapse.