Ancient Kingdom of Lydia Has Re-Appeared to Haunt Armenia

Lydian International and its Armenian subsidiary are making national headlines in Armenia regarding the highly controversial Amulsar gold mine, which is expected to resume operations after the government indicated it is giving a green light for the project.

However, hundreds if not thousands of environmentalists and others are protesting the move, arguing that it will destroy natural resources and contaminate waters, particularly the Jermuk springs and Lake Sevan.

The fact that Lydian International is registered in the tax-haven of Jersey makes opponents of the project wonder who the real shadowy owner of the company is.

But why is the company called Lydian anyway?

Ancient Kingdom of Lydia Has Re-Appeared to Haunt Armenia



Armenian Carpets: Past, Present, Future

It is still unknown when the carpets were used first, but some archeologists proved that they appeared in 2-1 millennium BC. Traditionally, since ancient times, the carpets and tufted rugs were used in Armenia to cover floors, decorate interior walls, sofas, chairs, beds and tables. Up to present the carpets often serve as entrance veils, decoration for church altars and vestry.

Starting to develop in Armenia as a part of everyday life, carpet weaving was a must in every Armenian family, with the carpet making and rug making being almost women’s occupation. They were considered a necessity in all traditional Armenian homes and were used to cover floors, decorate walls etc. Due to their popularity and high-quality, Armenian carpets were successfully exported and sold abroad.

Historians noted that Armenian carpets had exceptional quality because they were made from high-quality wool and were dyed with natural colors, especially with “vordan karmir”. It is a scale insect which was used to produce carmine dyestuff in Armenia and also in the Persian Empire.

Unfortunately, very few examples of the earliest period have survived. The oldest Armenian carpet, which has survived to this day, is the Pazyryk dating from the 5th to the 3rd century BC. It was found in Siberia and now is in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Some people claim that it is Persian, others say that is Armenian.


The Muslim Scholar Ibn Battuta

The title of “history’s most famous traveler” usually goes to Marco Polo, the great Venetian wayfarer who visited China in the 13th century. For sheer distance covered, however, Polo trails far behind the Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta.

Though little known outside the Islamic world, Battuta spent half his life tramping across vast swaths of the Eastern Hemisphere. Moving by sea, by camel caravan and on foot, he ventured into over 40 modern day nations, often putting himself in extreme danger just to satisfy his wanderlust. When he finally returned home after 29 years, he recorded his escapades in a hulking travelogue known as the Rihla.

Why Moroccan Scholar Ibn Battuta is the Greatest Explorer of all Time


Ancient Armenian Depiction of Dance

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Armenian Rock Art Research Academy – Local Sites

Ughtasar: The Petroglyphs of Armenia

Rock Carvings of Armenia

Armenian National Dances

Armenian National Dances

Rock-art in Armenia began in the Neolithic period, reaching its peak during the Bronze Age. Their role is important for revealing the historical realities of the Armenian Highland in VII-I millennium BC, to determine the origins of the Armenian people and demographic processes. Their great number, themes, style and variety testify the sacralized attitude of our ancestors to the rock-art sphere.

Rock-carvings have great cognitive value as a cultural source. As a specific form of expressing emotion and information, rock-carvings represent a medium of communication. And if then Rock-art had the functions of Recording, Storage and Conveying, for us now it has aesthetic and cognitive functions. These bases allow to designate petroglyphs as reliable sources and, therefore, means of revealing the past.

Armenian National Dances

Mata Hari once said, “The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.” From the beginning of their journey Armenians went through various difficulties and overcame them without losing their nationality. A great way to prove this is Armenian National Dances which are one of the oldest ones in the area of Caucasus.

They reflect the entire story of the country by making one the part of it. When watching these dances, you feel like reading a poem about the history of Armenia. By dancing them yourself, you feel what Armenians felt- all the struggles during wars, strong belief in God, enormous power, love toward the country and family and happiness of the victory.

Dancing has always had an important place in the life of the Armenians. The Armenians had a lot of types of ritual dances. There was even dancing during the funeral. But with the adoption of Christianity, the church forbaded ritual dances during the funeral. Anyway, Armenians dance the same way as they did in the ancient times.

When you dance shoulder to shoulder, men and women, you feel the energy and the power. They get energy and power from dances. That’s why before going to the battle field the soldiers start dancing and they are ready to die, with a smile. This tradition comes from the ancient times and has been kept until now.


Rock—carvings are a unique source for the study of ancient culture. One of Armenia’s least known and interesting attractions is to be found at the top of Ughatasar Mountain. Aside from the natural beauty of the mountaintop valley, the views and the small lake, there is an abundance of ancient petroglyphs.

Once you get up there, after traveling so far off the roads, and not seeing any signs of human habitation, you feel like you’re transported to the land before time…  and indeed, considering the age of these drawings, you pretty much have been. These caveman carvings etched into the stones show scenes of people, animals, hunting, dancing and other things you cannot even descipher.

The Ughtasar Petroglyphs are rock-carvings found on Mount Ughtasar (“Camel Mountain”), about 17.5 km northwest of the town of Sissian in Armenia’s southern province of Syunik. The site is reached only by four-wheel drive in good weather (the best time to visit is between mid July and the end of August).

The Ughtasar site is located by a small glacier lake nestled in a rim of an extinct volcano that blew itself out in the Pleistocene period. The lake can have ice floes year-round and patches of snow in the area never completely melt. The carvings are found on stones that surround the lake.

Although they attracted the attention of certain investigators at the beginning of the 20th century, they were not studied at that time. Interest in rock art monuments grew during the first decades of the 20th century, when A. Kalantar indulged himself in their study. Unfortunately, very little has been preserved from the rich material collected by him.

A. P. Deniyokhin also took part in the discovery of rock carvings in Armenia. During field studies the archaeologist S.H. Sardarian has discovered numerous rock carvings on the slopes of Aragats and the Gueghama mountains.

Over 2,000 decorated rock fragments extend to the foot of the Ughtasar mountain. Ughatasar Mountain has a crater on top that is filled with boulders covered in petroglyphs. These petroglyphs are images carved using stone tools onto dark brownish-black volcanic stones left behind by an extinct volcano.

Most images depict men in scenes of hunting and fighting, cultivating land, competing and dancing. Among the more complex carvings are what some say are among the earliest depictions of dance in the ancient world; scenes of ceremonial dance with two or more figures.

Others show figures performing, perhaps relating a famous fight or hunt, or depicting the figures as communal leaders. Other scenes are social in nature, depicting moments revolving around the central figure’s place in society, or performing ritual acts.

The number and development of the carvings suggest this field was used over thousands of years, beginning in the Paleolithic era (ca. 12,000 BCE). They are in the main considered memorials; commemorating the life and prowess of the dead. The rudimentary carvings are amazingly perceptive, recounting origin myths and tribal traditions, emotions, beliefs, defeats and victories of the ancestors.

Carvings include depictions of animals (wild and domesticated aurochs urus – wild ancestors of cattle – goats, mufflon, gazelles, deer, horses, boars, wolves, dogs, jackals, leopards, bears and tigers); hunters with lassoes, traps, bows and arrows, pikes, spears and shields; carts and sleds pulled by oxen (aurochs). Cattle breeding and sheep and goat herding predominate. Interestingly, birds do not figure prominently in the Ughtasar carvings.

There are numerous cosmic symbols, including one for the zodiacal sign Aries and rudimentary calendars carved like wheels for dividing time by using a cross and four circles for the seasons. Geographic elements are also featured: rivers, lakes, springs etc., followed by astronomical bodies and phenomena: the Sun, the Moon, stars, stellar constellations and starry sky, comet, and lightning.

Later Chalcolithic and Bronze Age cultures continued to create petroglyphs at the site. People from later eras (Chalcolithic and Bronze Age) continued to record their prowess and beliefs on the stones. The largest variety and number of carvings date to this period and the early Iron Age, before it was finally abandoned except for a few carvings made by lonely shepherds spending their summers on the mountain top.

Although the site was discovered in the early 20th century, it was not really studied until the 1920s and again in the late 1960s; it is still not fully understood today. Common among them is their altitude (3,000-3,300m), their iconography and their locations near glacial lakes – which were not nearly as cold as they are now.

Spanning hundreds of kilometers of territory, the carvings («itsagir» or «goat-letters» in popular lore) found on the slopes of Ughtasar can also be found on dozens of sites in Armenia; on mountains near Tsghuk (Mets Karakhach), the Vardenis Range, and at the sources of the Yeghegis (Mt. Vardenis), Arpa (Mt. Khachatsar) and Vorotan rivers (Mt. Davagioz) to name a few.

The carvings on the rock fragments are rich with flora and fauna imagery, and depict hunting scenes, a wide array of animals, circles, spirals, dots, lines, and other geometric and abstract forms, and even zodiac signs.

Research suggests that the area served as a temporary dwelling for nomadic cattle-herding tribes, and studies of the rock carvings indicate that they were in use for hundreds of years, with peoples of later eras adding their ownengravings to the stones.

According to the research of Hamlet Martirosyan, the pictograms of Ughtasar represent a writing system known as “goat writing” or “itsagir”. Many scholars believe that this was due to the large number of goats drawn on the stones, but according to Martirosyan it is because in the ancient Armenian language, the words “goat” and “writing” were homonyms.

They would use these homonyms to express concepts through pictures, thus the abstract concept of “writing” (which in ancient Armenian can be expressed with words like “shar” – arrange, “sarel” – compile, “tsir” – a line) found its reflection in the representation of a goat (“zar”), because the words for “writing” and “goat” sounded the same.

Goats are a prevalent theme on the stones, possibly because the word “dig” in ancient Armenian meant goat and was close enough to “diq,” the ancient word for gods. By combining abstract signs with the images of animals and people in horizontal or vertical rows, prehistoric engravers were able to convey specific messages.

Reproductions of the petroglyphs, or rock engravings, of Ughtasar can be found all over Yerevan; they are inscribed onto silver jewelry, painted onto coffee cups, traced into hand-made pottery, and they adorn the walls of cafes. Reaching the petroglyphs of Ughtasar can be challenging.


Kochari is a very well-known dance in Armenia. It is a category of dance, and each region dances it with its individual style (different moves and music). The word Kochari means “knee, come” (Koch- knee, ari-come).

John Blacking in one of his books mentioned: “Group dancing, when dancers imitate jumping goats, is known as kochari. Dancers stand abreast, holding each other’s hands, The tempo of the dance ranges from moderate to fast. Squatting and butting an imagined opponent are followed by high jumps.”


Martial dances are also very common in Armenia. One of the most popular ones is called Yarkhushta, originated from the highlands of the historical region of Sassoun in Western Armenia. It is from a category of Armenian “clap dances.”

Yarkhushta belongs to a wider category of Armenian “clap dances” (ծափ-պարեր, tsap parer). The dance is performed by men, who face each other in pairs. The key element of the dance is a forward movement when participants rapidly approach one another and vigorously clap onto the palms of hands of dancers in the opposite row.

The most important part of the dance is when dancers who are facing each other clap onto the palms of each other. Traditionally soldiers were dancing Yarkhushta before the war to feel more powerful and to awake the battle spirit in them.

Yarkhushta has traditionally been danced by Armenian soldiers before combat engagements, partly for ritualistic purposes, and partly in order to cast off fear and boost battle spirit for more effective hand-to-hand combat.

The tune of the dance is played intentionally very loudly by two zurna or p’ku (Armenian: պկու) hornpipes and one or more double-headed bass drums, each struck with a mallet and a stick from opposite sides of the drum’s cylinder.

It has been demonstrated that the combination of hornpipe’s high-frequency tone and the bass drums’ deep, low-frequency beat create a combination of sounds with wide peak-to-peak amplitude that is capable of placing the dancers in the state of euphoric trance.

This factor amplifies the effect of adrenaline/epinephrine rush that the dancing of yarkhushta usually produces. Traditionally soldiers were dancing Yarkhushta before the war to feel more powerful and to awake the battle spirit in them.

It is mentioned in the works of Movses Khorenatsi, Faustus of Byzantium, and Grigor Magistros. In modern-day Armenia, yarkhushta is popular in settlements populated by resettlers from Sassoun, especially in villages around the towns of Talin, Aparan, and Ashtarak.

The dance was popularized in the late 1930s by Srbuhi Lisitsian who taught at the Yerevan Dance College. In 1957, the dance underwent further choreographic refinement by folk culture enthusiast Vahram Aristakesian and performed by folk dance troupe from the village of Ashnak.

The dance was revived in the 1980s by the folk group Maratuk and, later, by the folk ensemble Karin. There are attempts to introduce yarkhushta into curriculum of dances and songs of the Armenian Army.

There are several poems and samples of visual art that touch on the theme of yarkhushta. Among them is the poem “Dance of Sassoun” («Սասունցիների պարը») by Gevorg Emin published in 1975. The feature films Men («Տղամարդիկ», 1972) and Yarkhushta (2004), produced by Gagik Harutyunyan.


Another well-known Armenian martial dance is called Berd. The dance originated from an old Armenian city called Vaspurakan. In the beginning, this was a game called Gmbetakhagh when people were making a fortress by standing on each other’s shoulders. After some time, the game transferred into a dance. The dancers are usually men who show the process of building a wall for the defense of territories during the battle.

Uzundara (Bride’s dance)

Uzundara or Bride’s dance is Armenian national, lyrical dance. It has originated in the valley between Agdam and Prishib villages in Karabagh. The dance reflects the fighting spirit of Armenian women and the fact that they are ready to fight with men to protect their country.

The word “Uzundara” means a long valley. It is very common to dance Uzundara during Armenian weddings, that is why very often people call it Bride’s dance. The bride either dances alone or with a group of other girls.

In the Uzundara dance, girls make various snakelike moves by using their hands and body. The reason for this is that in Armenian mythology it is said that there was a snake that had four heads each of which embodied a country.

One of his not venomous heads represented Armenia. The second one represented a friendly nation. The other two heads were poisonous and represented enemies. By making snakelike moves, women distracted the snake’s poisonous heads.


One of the most famous and energetic Armenian dances is called Shalakho. There are different versions of the dance, but the most spread one is where two men dance-fight to win the heart of their loved woman.

Nowadays, both men and women dance Shalakho during various events in Armenia. Women have slow and lyrical moves as in the most Armenian dances. Men’s moves are very different from women’s ones. They dance faster and more energetically.

Shavali (In-laws’ dance)

Shavali was a compulsory wedding dance in Armenia which was originated in Karno province. The dance was also called Dance of In-laws’ as either bride’s or groom’s parents danced it during the wedding.

Now the dancers of Shavali are both men and women of middle ages. If just women dance Shavali, the dance looks like “Uzundara.” The moves of the dance are exquisite and very tender.


Ververi or Ver-ver is an Armenian group dance. The dance consists of two parts. The beginning of the song has a slow tempo. After some time, the tempo changes and gets faster. The word “Ver” in Armenian means up, and the word “Ververi” means go up and up. Previously the dance was called “Vernapar” the meaning of which is “a dance to up.”

The dancers usually were young and strong men. They were jumping very high by teaching children they needed to grow up and to be strong to protect their country. Also, in Armenian mythology, it is said that this dance would change the entire way of living for all the existing species in the world (including human beings and animals).


In Memoriam: 28 Indigenous Rights Defenders Murdered in Latin America in 2019

As we enter 2020, Cultural Survival remembers 28 courageous Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders who were murdered in 2019 in the Latin American countries where we do our work. We invite you to take a moment to learn about and support the human rights and environmental defense work being carried out by these individuals that likely led to their targeting.

In Memoriam: 28 Indigenous Rights Defenders Murdered in Latin America in 2019


Return of the Caucasian Leopard

The Leopard: The Mystical Beauty of the Armenian Highlands Returned

The Persian leopard, also known as the Caucasian leopard is a leopard population in the Caucasus, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Persian leopard was previously considered a distinct subspecies, Panthera pardus saxicolor or Panthera pardus ciscaucasica,[2] but is now assigned to the subspecies Panthera pardus tulliana, which also includes the Anatolian leopard in Turkey.

The Persian leopard is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, as the population is estimated at fewer than 871–1,290 mature individuals and considered declining. The year 2019 was announced as “The Year of the Caucasian Leopard” by the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia.

In Armenia, people and leopards co-existed since early prehistoric times. By the mid-20th century leopards were relatively common in the country’s mountains. Today, there are around 10 individuals permanently inhabiting Armenia, while two decades ago there was no trace of the leopard. The mystical beauty, they say, has returned to breathe a new life into the Armenian highlands.

Regional Post met and talked with people who’re actively involved in the conservation processes of Leopard in Armenia. The article was brought in partnership with Ministry of Environment of Armenia, WWF Armenia, CNF – Caucasus Nature Fund, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

In 2009, a Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre was created in Sochi National Park, a national park in Western Caucasus, near the city of Sochi, in Southern Russia, where two male leopards from Turkmenistan are being kept since September 2009, and two females from Iran since May 2010. Their descendants are planned to be released into the wild in the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve.

In 2012, a pair of leopards was brought to the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre from Lisbon Zoo. Two cubs were born there in July 2013. It is planned to release them into the wild after they have learned survival skills.

The Leopard: The Mystical Beauty of the Armenian Highlands Returned


Manifest Destiny in the History of the US

Armenia will perhaps move closer to the US – not so much because of the Armenian government but because of the Armenian population – like all the rest of the world population many are looking up to the US like insects towards the light …

The Anglo-American culture has flood the world and English has become lingua franca … the US has managed to portray itself as the country of the free – even if that is far from the truth. The US is far from free – neither for the people living in the US or the world population.

Just like the American Dream was a dream for the few but a neighmare for the many the freedom valuated in the US is comforting the few rich and powerful while the rest live powerless in poverty.

The US has been turned into a police state just as the whole world is kept under the surveillance by the US, which function as some kind of world police. The US has been engaged in what has been called perpetual war for perpetual peace: A perpetual war for perpetual peace. War for peace. War has become business. Once again the rich benefit while the poor has to pay.

After WWII, the Old Right became the strongest force resisting a foreign policy of anti-communism that became the heart of the Cold War. One reason: They thought a Cold War would lead to imperialism abroad and totalitarianism at home, because power would need to be centralized in the executive branch.

The Truman Doctrine was the official beginning of an aggressive ’peacetime’ intervention during which America became the world’s policeman. ‘Friendly’ nations were often bought off by supporting cooperative but repressive leaders. Unfriendly ones often experienced economic sanctions and the arming of their domestic opponents.

The new face of America’s perpetual war has some cosmetic changes. The enemy is terrorism, not communism. The goal is liberation and democracy, not containment. The battleground is arid soil, not Asian jungle. The soldiers are not drafted but volunteers or mercenaries.

But it all seems oddly the same because the fundamentals are identical. Through unending war, America has utterly deserted any commitment to neutrality abroad. And the Old Right was correct; the domestic government has become a behemoth and power is centralized in the hands of the executive.

The elimination of the neutrality rights of nations is now so complete that neutrality can be challenged even when no declaration or act of war has occurred. Merely viewing a nation as a potential ally or enemy now warrants intervention, up to and including a military presence.

In 1821, John Quincy Adams declared that America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” America is now abroad. And she is the monster.

JERUSALEM – In response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Palestinian National Authority has announced that it will recognize Texas as a state of Mexico since it was violently annexed by the United States in the 1840s. Then what about California?

What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish Empire then claimed and conquered it.

In 1804 it was included in Alta California province, within Spanish New Spain Viceroyalty. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención Estadounidense en México (United States intervention in Mexico), was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848.

It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which was not formally recognized by the Mexican government, who disputed the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier.

In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked U.S. forces, the United States Congress declared war.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war and enforced the Mexican Cession of the northern territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. Mexico acknowledged the loss of what became the State of Texas and accepted the Rio Grande as its northern border with the U.S. The losses amounted to one-third of its original territory from its 1821 independence.

Before the secession of Texas, Mexico comprised almost 1,700,000 sq mi (4,400,000 km2), but by 1849 it was just under 800,000 square miles (2,100,000 km2). Another 30,000 square miles (78,000 km2) were sold to the U.S. in the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, so the total reduction of Mexican territory was more than 55%, or 900,000 square miles (2,300,000 km2).

In much of the United States, victory and the acquisition of new land brought a surge of patriotism. Victory seemed to fulfill Democrats’ belief in their country’s Manifest Destiny, a term used by Democrats in the 1840s to justify the war with Mexico and also used to divide half of Oregon with Great Britain.

Historian Frederick Merk says this concept was born out of “a sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example … generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”. Historians have emphasized that “manifest destiny” was a contested concept—Democrats endorsed the idea but many prominent Americans (such as Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and most Whigs) rejected it.

Historian Daniel Walker Howe writes, “American imperialism did not represent an American consensus; it provoked bitter dissent within the national polity … Whigs saw America’s moral mission as one of democratic example rather than one of conquest.”

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States policy which opposed European colonialism in the Americas. It began in 1823, however the term “Monroe Doctrine” itself was not coined until 1850. President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to the Congress.

The Doctrine was issued on December 2, at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved, or were at the point of gaining, independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires.

It stated that further efforts by various European states to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal affairs of European countries.

The doctrine asserted that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence. The separation intended to avoid situations that could make the New World a battleground for the Old World powers so that the U.S. could exert its influence undisturbed. Since the United States at the time was not known as a powerful country, the Doctrine was not internationally taken seriously, however, since Great Britain agreed with it no countries challenged it.

The term “America’s backyard” was then coined during this time as a reference to Latin America. The United States supported the Spanish colonies’ independence because they wanted to keep Spain and other European countries out of the Western Hemisphere, out of “America’s Backyard”.

America’s backyard is a concept often used in political science and international relations contexts to refer to the traditional area of influence of the United States, and major sphere of influence, which was Central and South America for a long time.

This manifested itself in the Louisiana Purchase (from France), Alaska Purchase (from Russia), 1812 War (against Britain), Spanish–American War etc. Big stick ideology, big stick diplomacy, or big stick policy, refers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy: “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

The term has recently been prominent in popular media with reference to threats to US national security (including Russian military exercises and Middle Eastern terrorism) used to contrast such threats at home with those on traditional fronts in Europe or the Middle East.

By the end of the 19th century, Monroe’s declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets. The intent and impact of the doctrine persisted more than a century, with only small variations, and would be invoked by many U.S. statesmen and several U.S. presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.


Matsun-Making In The Armenian Highlands Is 5000 Years Old

Milk churn

A 5,000-year-old milk – churn was found in Amasia in Western Armenia. The churn made 5000 years ago in the Bronze Age has a length of 30 cm. Rings for suspension ropes are also preserved. In addition to this churn, there are churns dating from the same periods from wood, clay and leather. This instance reveals the secrets of our past.

Thus, it is proven that at the time when agricultural settlements were just being created, 5000 BC, the art of making matsun (fermented milk product), a fermented milk product of Armenian origin, distributed in Armenia and Georgia, was already mastered on the Armenian Highlands in Historical Armenia.

Matsun-Making In The Armenian Highlands Is 5000 Years Old


Kashk is a range of dairy products used in cuisines of Iranian, Kurdish, Turkish, Mongolian, Central Asian, Transcaucasian and the Levantine peoples. Kashk is made from drained yogurt (in particular, drained qatiq) or drained sour milk by forming it and letting it dry. It can be made in a variety of forms, including rolled into balls, sliced into strips, and formed into chunks.

There are three main kinds of food products with this name: foods based on curdled milk products like yogurt or cheese; foods based on barley broth, bread, or flour; and foods based on cereals combined with curdled milk.


Churning of the ocean of milk, in Hinduism, one of the central events in the ever-continuing struggle between the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons, or titans). The gods, who had become weakened as a result of a curse by the irascible sage Durvasas, invited the asuras to help them recover the elixir of immortality, the amrita, from the depths of the cosmic ocean. Mount Mandara—a spur of Mount Meru, the world axis—was torn out to use as a churning stick and was steadied at the bottom of the ocean by Vishnu in his avatar (incarnation) as the tortoise Kurma.

The asuras held the head of the naga (half-human, half-cobra) Vasuki, who was procured for a churning rope, and the gods held his tail. When Vasuki’s head vomited forth poison that threatened to fall into the ocean and contaminate the amrita, the god Shiva took it and held it in his throat, a feat that turned his throat blue.


Denial is the Final and Ultimate Stage of Genocide

In the Obersalzberg Speech, a speech given by Adolf Hitler to Wehrmacht commanders at his Obersalzberg home on 22 August 1939, a week before the German invasion of Poland, Hitler asked: «Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?»

The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, because scholars point to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out. It is the second-most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.

As a response to continuing denial by the Turkish state, many activists from Armenian Diaspora communities have pushed for formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide from various governments around the world. As of 2019, governments and parliaments of 32 countries, including the United States, Russia, and Germany have recognized the events as a genocide.

The term “genocide”, created in 1943, was coined by Raphael Lemkin who was directly influenced by the massacres of Armenians during World War I. Lemkin was moved specifically by the annihilation of the Armenians to define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters and to coin the word genocide in 1943.

In 1996, Professor Gregory Stanton proposed a formula that seeks to identify the different elements that ultimately lead to the crime of genocide. Surprisingly, genocide is not the final and ultimate stage of his ten stage formula. Denial of genocide is. Denial by the perpetrators, whether by words or by taking active steps to cover their acts.

Denial of the Armenian genocide can be compared to similar negationist historical revisionisms such as Holocaust denial and Nanking Massacre denial. The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. Hopefully Israel will soon join those countries thas has recognized the genocide.

Specially when knowing that Ottoman Jews and the Zionists supported the Armenian genocide’s ‘architect before the Holocaust. They praised the empire even during the slaughter of its minority population, a murder which Israel continues to gloss over today.

At the same time there is an indelible link between the Holocaust and the current situation of the Palestinian people; to deny this simple fact exposes a deep-seated flaw in Zionist ideology. On Holocaust Memorial Day, remember too that the Nakba is an indelible part of Israel’s history.


Origin of the Indo-Europeans

According to the widely held Kurgan hypothesis, c.q. renewed Steppe hypothesis, the oldest branch were the Anatolian languages, which split from the earliest proto-Indo-European speech community (archaic PIE), which developed at the Volga basin.

The second-oldest branch, the Tocharian languages, were spoken in the Tarim Basin (present-day western China), and split-off from early PIE, which was spoken at the eastern Pontic steppe.

The bulk of the Indo-European languages developed from late PIE, which was spoken at the Yamnaya horizon, and other related cultures in the Pontic–Caspian steppe, around 4000 BCE. The Yamnaya culture is identified with the late Proto-Indo-Europeans, and is the strongest candidate for the urheimat (original homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language.

Several genetic studies performed since 2015 have given support to the Kurgan theory of Marija Gimbutas regarding the Indo-European Urheimat – that Indo-European languages spread throughout Europe from the Eurasian steppes and that the Yamnaya culture were Proto-Indo-Europeans.

The people of the Yamnaya culture were likely the result of a genetic admixture between the descendants of Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers and people related to hunter-gatherers from the Caucasus.

Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic probably developed in and spread from Central Europe into western Europe after Yamnaya migrations into the Danube Valley, while Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic may have developed east of the Carpathian mountains, in present-day Ukraine, moving north and spreading with the Corded Ware culture in Middle Europe (third millennium BCE).

Alternatively, a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed “North-west Indo-European” and associated with the Beaker culture, may have been ancestral to not only Celtic and Italic, but also to Germanic and Balto-Slavic.

The Indo-Iranian language and culture probably emerged within the Sintashta culture (circa 2100–1800 BCE), at the eastern border of the Yamnaya horizon and the Corded Ware culture, growing into the Andronovo culture (ca. 1900-800 BCE) which two first phases are Fedorovo Andronovo culture (ca. 1900–1400 BCE) and Alakul Andronovo culture (ca. 1800–1500 BCE).

Indo-Aryans moved into the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (ca. 2400–1600 BCE) and spread to the Levant (Mitanni), northern India (Vedic people, ca. 1500 BCE), and China (Wusun). The Iranian languages spread throughout the steppes with the Scyths and into Iran with the Medes, Parthians and Persians from ca. 800 BCE.

A number of alternative theories have been proposed. Renfrew’s Anatolian hypothesis suggests a much earlier date for the Indo-European languages, proposing an origin in Anatolia and an initial spread with the earliest farmers who migrated to Europe. It has been the only serious alternative for the steppe-theory, but suffers from a lack of explanatory power.

The Anatolian hypothesis also led to some support for the Armenian hypothesis, which proposes that the urheimat of Proto-Indo-European was spoken during the 5th–4th millennia BC in eastern Anatolia, the southern Caucasus, and northern Mesopotamia. While the Armenian hypothesis has been criticized on archeological and chronological grounds, recent genetic research has led to a renewed interest.

Recent DNA-research has led to renewed suggestions of a Caucasian homeland for a ‘pre-proto-Indo-European’. It also lends support to the Indo-Hittite hypothesis, according to which both proto-Anatolian and proto-Indo-European split-off from a common mother language “no later than the 4th millennium BCE.”

The Anatolian languages, including Hittite, split off before 4000 BCE, and migrated into Anatolia at around 2000 BCE. Around 4000 BCE, the proto-Indo-European community split into Greek-Armenian-Indo-Iranians, Celto-Italo-Tocharians, and Balto-Slavo-Germanics.

At around 3000–2500 BCE, Greek moved to the west, while the Indo-Aryans, the Celto-Italo-Tocharians and the Balto-Slavo-Germanics moved east, and then northwards along the eastern slope of the Caspian Sea.

The Tocharians split from the Italo-Celtics before 2000 BCE and moved further east, while the Italo-Celtics and the Balto-Slavo-Germanics turned west again towards the northern slopes of the Black Sea. From there, they expanded further into Europe between around 2000 and 1000 BCE.

The phonological peculiarities of the consonants proposed in the glottalic theory would be best preserved in Armenian and the Germanic languages. Proto-Greek would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek from the 17th century BC and closely associate Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (the Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).

The hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (without Anatolian), roughly a millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. In this respect, it represents an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective suggested Urheimat by diverging from the timeframe suggested there by approximately 3000 years.

Haak et al. (2015) states that “the Armenian plateau hypothesis gains in plausibility” since the Yamnaya partly descended from a Near Eastern population, which resembles present-day Armenians. Yet, they also state that “the question of what languages were spoken by the ‘Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers’ and the southern, Armenian-like, ancestral population remains open.”

David Reich, in his 2018 publication Who We Are and How We Got Here, noting the presence of some Indo-European languages (such as Hittite) in parts of ancient Anatolia, states that “the most likely location of the population that first spoke an Indo-European language was south of the Caucasus Mountains, perhaps in present-day Iran or Armenia, because ancient DNA from people who lived there matches what we would expect for a source population both for the Yamnaya and for ancient Anatolians.”

Yet, Reich also notes that “…the evidence here is circumstantial as no ancient DNA from the Hittites themselves has yet been published.” Nevertheless, Reich also states that some, if not most, of the Indo-European languages were spread by the Yamnaya people.

According to Kroonen et al. (2018), Damgaard et al. (2018) aDNA studies in Anatolia “show no indication of a large-scale intrusion of a steppe population”, but do “fit the recently developed consensus among linguists and historians that the speakers of the Anatolian languages established themselves in Anatolia by gradual infiltration and cultural assimilation.”

They further note that this lends support to the Indo-Hittite hypothesis, according to which both proto-Anatolian and proto-Indo-European split-off from a common mother language “no later than the 4th millennium BCE.”

Wang et al. (2018) note that the Caucasus served as a corridor for gene flow between the steppe and cultures south of the Caucasus during the Eneolithic and the Bronze Age, stating that this “opens up the possibility of a homeland of PIE south of the Caucasus.” However, Wang et al. also acknowledge that the latest genetic evidence supports an origin of proto-Indo-Europeans in the steppe, noting:

latest ancient DNA results from South Asia suggest an LMBA spread via the steppe belt. Irrespective of the early branching pattern, the spread of some or all of the PIE branches would have been possible via the North Pontic/Caucasus region and from there, along with pastoralist expansions, to the heart of Europe.

This scenario finds support from the well attested and widely documented ‘steppe ancestry’ in European populations and the postulate of increasingly patrilinear societies in the wake of these expansions.

Kristian Kristiansen, in an interview with Der Spiegel in may 2018, stated that the Yamnaya culture may have had a predecessor at the Caucasus, where “proto-proto-Indo-European” was spoken.

Robert Drews says that “most of the chronological and historical arguments seem fragile at best, and of those that I am able to judge, some are evidently wrong”. However, he argues that it is far more powerful as a linguistic model, providing insights into the relationship between the Indo-European and the Semitic and Kartvelian languages.

J. Grepin wrote in a review in the Times Literary Supplement the model of linguistic relationships is “the most complex, far reaching and fully supported of this century”.

David Anthony in a 2019 analysis criticizes the “southern” or Armenian hypothesis (citing Reich, Kristaiansen, and Wang). He finds that the Yamnaya derived mainly from Eastern European hunter-gatherers (EHG) and Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG), and suggests a genetic and linguistic origin of proto-Indo-Europeans (the Yamnaya) in the Eastern European steppe north of the Caucasus, from a mixture of these two groups.

He suggests that proto-Indo-European formed mainly from a base of languages spoken by Eastern European hunter-gatherers, with some influences from the languages of Caucasus hunter-gatherers.

According to Anthony, hunting-fishing camps from the lower Volga, dated 6200-4500 BCE, could be the remains of people who contributed the CHG-component, migrating from the south-east Caucasus, who mixed with EHG-people from the north Volga steppes. The resulting culture contributed to the Sredny Stog culture, a predecessor of the Yamnaya culture.

Anthony cites evidence from ancient DNA, that the Bronze Age Maykop people of the Caucasus (previously proposed as a possible southern source of language and genetics at the root of Indo-European), had little genetic impact on the Yamnaya (whose paternal lineages differ from those found in Maykop remains, but are instead related to those of pre-Yamnaya Eastern European steppe hunter-gatherers).

In addition, the Maykop (and other contemporary Caucasus samples), along with CHG, had significant Anatolian Farmer ancestry “which had spread into the Caucasus from the west after about 5000 BC”, but is little detected in the Yamnaya. Partly for these reasons, Anthony concludes that Bronze Age Caucasus groups such as the Maykop “played only a minor role, if any, in the formation of Yamnaya ancestry.”

According to Anthony, this, the absence of evidence of significant admixture (including of paternal genetic influence, often associated with language shift) from the south on the Yamnaya suggests that the roots of Proto-Indo-European (archaic or proto-proto-Indo-European) were mainly in the steppe rather than the south. Anthony considers it likely that the Maykop spoke a Northern Caucasian language not ancestral to Indo-European.

Although Armenians were known to history much earlier (for example, they were mentioned in the 6th century BC Behistun Inscription and in Xenophon’s 4th century BC history (The Anabasis), the oldest surviving Armenian-language text is the 5th century AD Bible translation of Mesrop Mashtots, who created the Armenian alphabet in 405, at which time it had 36 letters. He is also credited by some with the creation of the Caucasian Albanian alphabet.

Armenia was a monolingual country by the 2nd century BC at the latest. There are two standardized modern literary forms, Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian, with which most contemporary dialects are mutually intelligible. While Armenian constitutes the sole member of the Armenian branch of the Indo-European family, Aram Kossian has suggested that the hypothetical Mushki language may have been a (now extinct) Armenic language.

Altough its vocabulary has historically been influenced by Western Middle Iranian languages, particularly Parthian, and contains smaller inventories of loanwords from Greek, Persian, Arabic, Syriac and Mongol, and indigenous languages such as Urartian, Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages.

It is of interest to linguists for its distinctive phonological developments within that family. Armenian exhibits more satemization than centumization, although it is not classified as belonging to either of these subgroups.

Some linguists tentatively conclude that Armenian, Greek (and Phrygian) and Indo-Iranian were dialectally close to each other; within this hypothetical dialect group, Proto-Armenian was situated between Proto-Greek (centum subgroup) and Proto-Indo-Iranian (satem subgroup). Ronald I. Kim has noted unique morphological developments connecting Armenian to Balto-Slavic languages.

There are words used in Armenian that are generally believed to have been borrowed from Anatolian languages, particularly from Luwian, although some researchers have identified possible Hittite loanwords as well.

W. M. Austin (1942) concluded that there was an early contact between Armenian and Anatolian languages, based on what he considered common archaisms, such as the lack of a feminine gender and the absence of inherited long vowels.

However, unlike shared innovations (or synapomorphies), the common retention of archaisms (or symplesiomorphy) is not considered conclusive evidence of a period of common isolated development.

In 1985, Soviet linguist Igor M. Diakonoff noted the presence in Classical Armenian of what he calls a “Caucasian substratum” identified by earlier scholars, consisting of loans from the Kartvelian and Northeast Caucasian languages.

Noting that Hurro-Urartian-speaking peoples inhabited the Armenian homeland in the second millennium BC, Diakonov identifies in Armenian a Hurro-Urartian substratum of social, cultural, and animal and plant terms.

Some of the terms he gives admittedly have an Akkadian or Sumerian provenance, but he suggests they were borrowed through Hurrian or Urartian. Given that these borrowings do not undergo sound changes characteristic of the development of Armenian from Proto-Indo-European, he dates their borrowing to a time before the written record but after the Proto-Armenian language stage.

Loan words from Iranian languages, along with the other ancient accounts such as that of Xenophon above, initially led linguists to erroneously classify Armenian as an Iranian language. Scholars such as Paul de Lagarde and F. Müller believed that the similarities between the two languages meant that Iranian and Armenian were the same language.

The distinctness of Armenian was recognized when philologist Heinrich Hübschmann (1875) used the comparative method to distinguish two layers of Iranian words from the older Armenian vocabulary. He showed that Armenian often had 2 morphemes for the one concept, and the non-Iranian components yielded a consistent PIE pattern distinct from Iranian, and also demonstrated that the inflectional morphology was different from that in Iranian languages.

The hypothesis that Greek is Armenian’s closest living relative originates with Holger Pedersen (1924), who noted that the number of Greek-Armenian lexical cognates is greater than that of agreements between Armenian and any other Indo-European language.

Antoine Meillet (1925, 1927) further investigated morphological and phonological agreement, postulating that the parent languages of Greek and Armenian were dialects in immediate geographical proximity in the Proto-Indo-European period. Meillet’s hypothesis became popular in the wake of his book Esquisse d’une histoire de la langue latine (1936).

Georg Renatus Solta (1960) does not go as far as postulating a Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage, but he concludes that considering both the lexicon and morphology, Greek is clearly the dialect most closely related to Armenian.

Eric P. Hamp (1976, 91) supports the Graeco-Armenian thesis, anticipating even a time “when we should speak of Helleno-Armenian” (meaning the postulate of a Graeco-Armenian proto-language).

Armenian shares the augment, and a negator derived from the set phrase Proto-Indo-European language *ne h₂oyu kʷid (“never anything” or “always nothing”), and the representation of word-initial laryngeals by prothetic vowels, and other phonological and morphological peculiarities with Greek.

Nevertheless, as Fortson (2004) comments, “by the time we reach our earliest Armenian records in the 5th century AD, the evidence of any such early kinship has been reduced to a few tantalizing pieces”.

Many modern scholars have rejected the Graeco-Armenian hypothesis, arguing that the linguistic proximity between the two languages has been overstated. Graeco-(Armeno)-Aryan is a hypothetical clade within the Indo-European family, ancestral to the Greek language, the Armenian language, and the Indo-Iranian languages. Graeco-Aryan unity would have become divided into Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian by the mid-third millennium BC.

Conceivably, Proto-Armenian would have been located between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, consistent with the fact that Armenian shares certain features only with Indo-Iranian (the satem change) but others only with Greek (s > h).

Graeco-Aryan has comparatively wide support among Indo-Europeanists for the Indo-European homeland to be located in the Armenian Highlands, the “Armenian hypothesis”. Early and strong evidence was given by Euler’s 1979 examination on shared features in Greek and Sanskrit nominal flection.

Used in tandem with the Graeco-Armenian hypothesis, the Armenian language would also be included under the label Aryano-Greco-Armenic, splitting into proto-Greek/Phrygian and “Armeno-Aryan” (ancestor of Armenian and Indo-Iranian).

Urartu (Ararat) is a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands (present-day eastern Anatolia). The written language that the kingdom’s political elite used is referred to as Urartian, which appears in cuneiform inscriptions in Armenia and eastern Turkey.

It is unknown what language was spoken by the peoples of Urartu at the time of the existence of the kingdom, but there is linguistic evidence of contact between the proto-Armenian language and the Urartian language at an early date (sometime between the 3rd—2nd millennium BC), occurring prior to the formation of Urartu as a kingdom.

The name Urartu (Hebrew: Ararat) comes from Assyrian sources. Shalmaneser I (1263–1234 BC) recorded a campaign in which he subdued the entire territory of “Uruatri”. The Shalmaneser text uses the name Urartu to refer to a geographical region, not a kingdom, and names eight “lands” contained within Urartu (which at the time of the campaign were still disunited).

Boris Piotrovsky wrote that the Urartians first appear in history in the 13th century BC as a league of tribes or countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state. In the Assyrian annals the term Uruatri (Urartu) as a name for this league was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term “land of Nairi”.

Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) is believed to have originally been a Hurrian or Mitanni state that was subsequently annexed into the Urartian confederation. Shupria is often mentioned in conjunction with a district in the area called Arme (also referred to as Urme or Armani) which some scholars have linked to the name of Armenia.

Linguists John Greppin and Igor M. Diakonoff argued that the Urartians referred to themselves as Shurele (sometimes transliterated as Shurili or Šurili, possibly pronounced as Surili), a name mentioned within the royal titles of the kings of Urartu (e.g. “the king of Šuri-lands”).

The word Šuri has been variously theorized as originally referring to chariots, swords, the region of Shupria (perhaps an attempt by the ruling dynasty to associate themselves with the Hurrians), or the entire world.

The name Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) is derived from the Urartian toponym Biainili (or Biaineli), which was probably pronounced as Vanele (or Vanili), and called Van in Old Armenian, hence the names “Kingdom of Van” or “Vannic Kingdom”.

The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but went into gradual decline and was eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC. The geopolitical region would re-emerge as Armenia shortly after. Being heirs to the Urartian realm, the earliest identifiable ancestors of the Armenians are the peoples of Urartu.

In the 6th century BC, with the emergence of Armenia in the region, the name of the region was simultaneously referred to as variations of Armenia and Urartu. In the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as Urartu in Akkadian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in the Elamite language.

The mentions of Urartu in the Books of Kings[20] and Isaiah of the Bible were translated as “Armenia” in the Septuagint. Some English language translations, including the King James Version follow the Septuagint translation of Urartu as Armenia. The identification of the biblical “mountains of Ararat” with the Mt. Ararat is a modern identification based on postbiblical tradition.

The name Ayrarat that was later used to describe lands located in the central region of the Kingdom of Armenia seems to have been of local usage as no known classical works use this word to refer to Armenia.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after the god Ḫaldi (d,Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi). He was the primary god of the most prominent group of Urartian tribes, which eventually evolved into the Armenian nation.

Ḫaldi was one of the three chief deities of Urartu. Along with Ḫaldi of Ardini, the other two chief deities of Urartu were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa. His wife was the goddess Arubani and/or the goddess Bagvarti.

Of all the gods of the Urartian pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to Ḫaldi. He was portrayed as a man with or without wings, standing on a lion. He was a warrior god to whom the kings of Urartu would pray for victories in battle.

The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons such as swords, spears, bows and arrows, and shields hung from the walls and were sometimes known as “the house of weapons”.

The Urartian Kings used to erect steles dedicated to Ḫaldi in which they inscribed the successes of theimilitary campaigns, the buildings built, and also the agricultural activities that took place during their reign.

According to Urartologist Paul Zimansky, Haldi was not a native Urartian god but apparently an obscure Akkadian deity (which explains the location of the main temple of worship for Haldi in Musasir, believed to be near modern Rawandiz, Iraq).

He was not initially worshipped by Urartians, at least as their chief god, as his cult does not appear to have been introduced until the reign of by the Urartian King Ishpuini, who acquired it ca. 800 BC.

His principle shrine was at Ardini (Muṣaṣir in Assyrian; KURMu-ṣa-ṣir and variants, including Mutsatsir, Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake), an ancient city of Urartu attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC.

According to Michael C. Astour, Haldi could be etymologically related to the Hurrian word “heldi”, meaning “high”. An alternate theory postulates that the name could be of Indo-European (possibly Helleno-Armenian) or Old Armenian origin, meaning “sun god” (compare with Greek Helios and Latin Sol).

Some sources claim that the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenians, Hayk the Great or The Great Hayk, also known as Hayk Nahapet; Hayk the “head of family” or patriarch, is derived from Ḫaldi, but other theories about the etymology of Hayk are more widely accepted.

Hayk is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene (or Movses Khorenatsi, c. 410 – c. 490). The name of the patriarch, Hayk, is not exactly homophonous with the name for “Armenia”, Hayk’. Hayk’ is the nominative plural in Classical Armenian of hay, the Armenian term for “Armenian.”

Some claim that the etymology of Hayk’ from Hayk is impossible and that the origin of the term Hay (“Armenian”) is verifiable. Anyway, Hayk and Haig are usually connected to hay and hayer, the nominative plural in Modern Armenian, the self-designation of the Armenians.

Armen Petroyan believes that the name Hayk can “very plausibly” be derived from the Indo-European *poti- ‘master, lord, master of the house, husband’. Hayk would then be an etiological founding figure, like e.g. Asshur for the Assyrians, etc.

One of Hayk’s most famous scions, Aram, settled in Eastern Armenia from the Mitanni kingdom (Western Armenia), when Sargon II mentions a king of part of Armenia who bore the (Armenian-Indo-Iranian) name Bagatadi (which, like the Greek-based “Theodore” and the Hebrew-based “Jonathan,” means “god-given”).

Mitanni was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from c. 1500 to 1300 BC. While the Mitanni kings were Indo-Aryan, they used the language of the local people, which was at that time a non-Indo-European language, Hurrian.

Kammenhuber suggested that this vocabulary was derived from the still undivided Indo-Iranian language, but Mayrhofer has shown that specifically Indo-Aryan features are present.

A Hurrian passage in the Amarna letters – usually composed in Akkadian, the lingua franca of the day – indicates that the royal family of Mitanni was by then speaking Hurrian as well.

The Hurro-Urartian languages are an extinct language family of the Ancient Near East, comprising only two known languages: Hurrian and Urartian. The poorly attested Kassite language may have belonged to the Hurro-Urartian language family.

Hurrian was the language of the Hurrians (occasionally called “Hurrites”), and was spoken in the northern parts of Mesopotamia and Syria and the southeastern parts of Anatolia between at least last quarter of the third millennium BC and its extinction towards the end of the second millennium BC.

Urartian was probably spoken by the majority of the population in the mountainous areas around Lake Van and the upper Zab valley. It branched off from Hurrian at approximately the beginning of the second millennium BC.

It has also been proposed that two little known groups, the Nairi and the Mannae, might have been Hurrian speakers, but as little is known about them, it is hard to draw any conclusions about what languages they spoke. Furthermore, the Kassite language was possibly related to Hurro-Urartian.

Francfort and Tremblay on the basis of the Akkadian textual and archaeological evidence, proposed to identify the kingdom of Marhashi and Ancient Margiana. The Marhashite personal names seems to point towards an Eastern variant of Hurrian or another language of the Hurro-Urartian language family.

The Mitanni kingdom was referred to as the Maryannu, Nahrin or Mitanni by the Egyptians, the Hurri by the Hittites, and the Hanigalbat by the Assyrians. The different names seem to have referred to the same kingdom and were used interchangeably, according to Michael C. Astour.

The Mitanni dynasty ruled over the northern Euphrates-Tigris region between c. 1475 and c. 1275 BC. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

The Mitanni controlled trade routes down the Khabur to Mari and up the Euphrates from there to Carchemish. For a time they also controlled the Assyrian territories of the upper Tigris and its headwaters at Nineveh, Erbil, Assur and Nuzi.

The Nuzi texts are ancient documents found during an excavation of Nuzi, an ancient Mesopotamian city southwest of Kirkuk in modern Al Ta’amim Governorate of Iraq, located near the Tigris river. The site consists of one medium-sized multiperiod tell and two small single period mounds.

The texts are mainly legal and business documents. They have also been viewed as evidence for the age and veracity of certain parts of the Old Testament, especially of the Patriarchal age, but this is no longer widely accepted.

Their allies included Kizuwatna in southeastern Anatolia; Mukish, which stretched between Ugarit and Quatna west of the Orontes to the sea; and the Niya, which controlled the east bank of the Orontes from Alalah down through Aleppo, Ebla and Hama to Qatna and Kadesh. To the east, they had good relations with the Kassites.

The land of Mitanni in northern Syria extended from the Taurus mountains to its west and as far east as Nuzi (modern Kirkuk) and the river Tigris in the east. In the south, it extended from Aleppo across (Nuhasse) to Mari on the Euphrates in the east. Its centre was in the Khabur River valley, with two capitals: Taite and Washukanni, called Taidu and Ussukana respectively in Assyrian sources.

The whole area supported agriculture without artificial irrigation and cattle, sheep and goats were raised. It is very similar to Assyria in climate, and was settled by both indigenous Hurrian and Amoritic-speaking (Amurru) populations.

Their sphere of influence is shown in Hurrian place names, personal names and the spread through Syria and the Levant of a distinct pottery type. There have been various Hurrian-speaking states, of which the most prominent one was the kingdom of Mitanni (1450–1270 BC).

Maryannu is an ancient word for the caste of chariot-mounted hereditary warrior nobility which existed in many of the societies of the Middle East during the Bronze Age. The term is attested in the Amarna letters written by Haapi.

Robert Drews writes that the name maryannu, although plural, takes the singular marya, which in Sanskrit means ‘young warrior’, and attaches a Hurrian suffix. He suggests that at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, most would have spoken either Hurrian or Indo-Aryan, but by the end of the 14th century, most of the Levant maryannu had Semitic names.

Bearers of names in the Hurrian language are attested in wide areas of Syria and the northern Levant that are clearly outside the area of the political entity known to Assyria as Hanilgalbat.

There is no indication that these persons owed allegiance to the political entity of Mitanni; although the German term Auslandshurriter (“Hurrian expatriates”) has been used by some authors.

In the 14th century BC numerous city-states in northern Syria and Canaan were ruled by persons with Hurrian and some Indo-Aryan names. If this can be taken to mean that the population of these states was Hurrian as well, then it is possible that these entities were a part of a larger polity with a shared Hurrian identity.

This is often assumed, but without a critical examination of the sources. Differences in dialect and regionally different pantheons (Hepat/Shawushka, Sharruma/Tilla etc.) point to the existence of several groups of Hurrian speakers.

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; it spread northward in Caucasus by 3000 BC.

Altogether, the early trans-Caucasian culture enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km, and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria.

The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Kura–Araxes culture is sometimes known as Shengavitian, Karaz (Erzurum), Pulur, and Yanik Tepe (Iranian Azerbaijan, near Lake Urmia) cultures.

It gave rise to the later Khirbet Kerak-ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire. The tell of Khirbet Kerak lies where the Sea of Galilee empties into the Jordan river and the terrain rises by c. 15 meters above the level of the lake.

Khirbet Kerak ware is a type of Early Bronze Age Syro-Palestinian pottery first discovered at this site. It is also found in other parts of the Levant, including Jericho, Beth Shan, Tell Judeideh, and Ugarit. Khirbet Kerak culture appears to have been a Levantine version of the Early Transcaucasian Culture.

Khirbet Kerak (Khirbet al-Karak, “the ruin of the fortress”) or Beth Yerah (Hebrew: “House of the Moon (god)”) is a tell (archaeological mound) located on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern-day Israel.

The tell spans an area of over 50 acres—one of the largest in the Levant—and contains remains dating from the Early Bronze Age (c. 3000 BCE – 2000 BCE) and from the Persian period (c. 450 BCE) through to the Early Islamic period (c. 1000 CE).

Beth Yerah means “House of the Moon (god)”. Though it is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible or other Bronze or Iron Age sources, the name may preserve, at least in part, the Canaanite toponym of Ablm-bt-Yrh, “the city/fort (qrt) of his-majesty Yarih”.

As Ablm (Heb. Abel), this location is mentioned in the 14th century BCE Epic of Aqhat, a Canaanite myth from Ugarit, an ancient city in what is now Syria, and is thought to be a reference to the Early Bronze Age structure extant at Khirbet Kerak. The 2009 discovery at the tell of a stone palette with Egyptian motifs, including an ankh, points to trade/political relations with the First dynasty of Egypt, at approximately 3000 BCE.

The Leyla-Tepe culture of ancient Caucasian Albania belongs to the Chalcolithic era. It got its name from the site in the Agdam district of modern day Azerbaijan. Its settlements were distributed on the southern slopes of Central Caucasus, from 4350 until 4000 B.C.

The settlement is of a typical Western-Asian variety, closely associated with subsequent civilizations found on the Armenian Highlands. This is evident with the dwellings packed closely together and made of mud bricks with smoke outlets, which closely resemble Armenian tonirs.

The Yamnaya culture, also known as the Yamnaya Horizon, Yamna culture, Pit Grave culture or Ochre Grave culture, was a late Copper Age to early Bronze Age archaeological culture of the region between the Southern Bug, Dniester, and Ural rivers (the Pontic steppe), dating to 3300–2600 BC.

Its name derives from its characteristic burial tradition: Ямна (romanization: yamna) is a Ukrainian adjective that means ‘related to pits (yama)’, and these people used to bury their dead in tumuli (kurgans) containing simple pit chambers.

A kurgan is a type of tumulus or mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, often characterized by containing a single human body along with grave vessels, weapons and horses.

Originally in use on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, kurgans spread into much of Central Asia and Eastern, Western and Northern Europe during the 3rd millennium BC. The Russian noun, already attested in Old East Slavic, comes from an unidentified Turkic language, compare Modern Turkish kurğan, which means “fortress”.

Popularised by its use in Soviet archaeology, the word is now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology. The word tumulus is Latin for ‘mound’ or ‘small hill’, which is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *teuh2- with extended zero grade *tum-, ‘to bulge, swell’ also found in tomb, tumor, tumescent, thumb, thigh, and thousand.

Kurgans were built in the Eneolithic, Bronze, Iron, Antiquity and Middle Ages, with ancient traditions still active in Southern Siberia and Central Asia. Archeologists divide kurgan cultures into different sub-cultures, such as Timber Grave, Pit Grave, Scythian, Sarmatian, Hunnish and Kuman-Kipchak.

The structures of the earlier Neolithic period from the 4th to the 3rd millenniums BC, and Bronze Age until the 1st millennium BC, display continuity of the archaic forming methods. They were inspired by common ritual-mythological ideas.

The earliest kurgans date to the 4th millennium BC in the Caucasus, and researchers associate these with the Indo-Europeans. More recently, some very ancient kurgans have been discovered at Soyuqbulaq in Azerbaijan. These kurgans date to the beginning of the 4th millennium BC, and belong to Leylatepe Culture.

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, as well as small parts of northern Iran. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures.

According to the material culture examples found in the sites depict that the main activities of the population were farming and breeding. Sulaveri-Shomu culture is distinguished by circular mud-brick architectures, domestic animals breeding and cultivating cereals.

Handmade pottery with engraved decorations, blades, burins and scrapers made of obsidian, tools made of bone and antler, besides rare examples of metal items, remains of plant, such as wheat, pips, barley and grape, as well as animal bones (pigs, goats, dogs and bovids) have been discovered during the excavations.

The earliest evidence of domesticated grapes in the world has been found in the general “Shulaveri area”, near the site of Shulaveri gora, in Marneuli Municipality, in southeastern Republic of Georgia. Specifically, the most recent evidence comes from Gadachrili gora, near the village of Imiri in the same region; carbon-dating points to the date of about 6000 BC.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture which flourished in this area around 4000–2200 BC. Later on, in the middle Bronze Age period (c. 3000–1500 BC), the Trialeti culture emerged. Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

Anthropomorphic figurines of mainly seated women found in the sites represent the items used for religious purposes relating to the fertility cult. Similar figurines have been found in the earliest neolithic at Çatalhöyük (7500 BC to 5700 BC) in Anatolia, where statues of plump women, sometimes sitting, have been found in excavations  dated to the 6th millennium BC and identified by some as a mother goddess.

The technology and typology of bone-based instruments in the Shulaveri culture are similar to those of the Middle East Neolithic material culture. A quern with 2 small hollows found in Shomutepe is similar to the one with more hollows detected in Khramisi Didi-Gora.

The similarities between the macrolithic tools and the use of ochre also bring Shulaveri-Shomu culture closer to the culture of Halaf. Pestles and mortars found in Shulaveri-Shomu sites and Late Neolithic layers of Tell Sabi Abyad, an archaeological site in the Balikh River valley in northern Syria, are also similar to each other.

The site consists of four prehistoric mounds that are numbered Tell Sabi Abyad I to IV. Extensive excavations showed that these sites were inhabited already around 7500 to 5500 BC, although not always at the same time; the settlement shifted back and forth between these four sites. The earliest pottery of Syria was discovered here; it dates at ca. 6900-6800 BC, and consists of mineral-tempered, and sometimes painted wares.

The pottery of Tell Sabi Abyad is somewhat similar to what was found in the other prehistoric sites in Syria and south-eastern Turkey; for example in Tell Halula, tr:Akarçay Tepe Höyük, de:Mezraa-Teleilat, and Tell Seker al-Aheimar. Yet in Sabi Abyad, the presence of painted pottery is quite unique.

Archaeologists discovered what seems like the oldest painted pottery here. Remarkably, the earliest pottery was of a very high quality, and some of it was already painted. Later, the painted pottery was discontinued, and the quality declined.

Pottery found at the site includes Dark Faced Burnished Ware and a Fine Ware that resembled Hassuna Ware and Samarra Ware. Bowls and jars often had angled necks and ornate geometric designs, some featuring horned animals. 

The site has revealed the largest collection of clay tokens and sealings yet found at any site, with over two hundred and seventy-five, made by a minimum of sixty-one stamp seals. Such exchange devices were first found in level III of Mureybet during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A and are well known to have developed in the Neolithic.

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic B horizon is present; later the site shows an uninterrupted sequence from the pre-pottery to ceramic phase. In the Halaf period, Tell Sabi Abyad had a fully developed farming economy with animal domestication of predominantly goats, but also sheep, cattle and pigs.

A small number of gazelle were also hunted, although evidence for hunting and fishing is not well attested at the site. Trees that would have grown at the time included poplar, willow and ash. Domesticated emmer wheat was the primary crop grown, along with domesticated einkorn, barley and flax. A low number of peas and lentils were found compared to similar sites.

Mureybet (romanized: muribit, lit. ‘covered’) is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates in Raqqa Governorate, northern Syria. It was occupied between 10,200 and 8,000 BC and is the eponymous type site for the Mureybetian culture, a subdivision of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA).

Climate and environment of Mureybet during the time of its occupation were very different from the modern situation. When Mureybet became occupied around 10,200 BC, climate was slightly colder and more humid than today, an effect of the onset of the Younger Dryas climate change event.

Annual precipitation increased slightly from 230 millimetres (9.1 in) during the Natufian to 280 millimetres (11 in) during the Mureybetian occupation phases. The vegetation consisted of an open forest steppe with species like terebinth, almond and wild cereals.

In its early stages, Mureybet was a small village occupied by hunter-gatherers. Hunting was important and crops were first gathered and later cultivated, but they remained wild. During its final stages, domesticated animals were also present at the site.

The excavations have revealed four occupation phases I–IV, ranging from the Natufian up to the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) and dating to 10,200–8,000 BC, based on AMS radiocarbon dates. Phase IA (10,200–9,700 BC) represents the Natufian occupation of Mureybet.

Phases IB, IIA and IIB (9,700–9,300 BC) make up the Khiamian, a poorly understood and sometimes disputed sub-phase straddling the transition from the Natufian to the PPNA. Mureybet is the only site where Khiamian deposits are associated with architectural remains.

Phases IIIA and IIIB (9,300–8,600 BC) represent the Mureybetian, a subphase of the PPNA that was named after Mureybet and is found in the area of the Middle Euphrates. Architecture diversified, with rectangular, multi-cellular buildings appearing next to the round buildings that were already known from the previous phases.

Walls were built from cigar-shaped stones that were created by percussion and that were covered with earth. Semi-subterranean structures also continued to be used and they are compared to similar structures found at nearby and contemporary Jerf el-Ahmar, where the structures are interpreted as special buildings with a communal function.

The earliest known writing for record keeping evolved from a system of counting using small clay tokens. The earliest use of small clay tokens for counting were found in phase III. It coincided with a period of explosive rapid growth of the use of cereals in the Near East.

The last occupation phases, IVA (8,600–8,200 BC) and IVB (8,200–8,000 BC) date to the Early and Middle PPNB, respectively. No domesticated cereals were found, but this may be an effect of very small archaeobotanical sample that was retrieved from these phases.

Hunting focused on equids, followed by aurochs. It could not be determined whether any domesticated animals were exploited in Mureybet. Mud-built walls of rectangular structures were uncovered in phase IVB. Domesticated sheep and goat were exploited in this period, and domesticated cattle may also have been present.