Vertical use of space in Ancient Armenia and the case of Kura-Araxes tradition


  • Arsen Bobokhyan



Armenian Highland, Republic of Armenia, landscape, vertical zonality, early societies, Kura-Araxes tradition


Human imaginations of geographical environment and its components played essential role in the process of identity formation of early societies. Depending on the natural environment, each society created a unique value system, developing and modeling it in time and space. In this sense, it is not accidental, that in the modern discourse on ancient social processes the issue of interaction of different elements of the human habitat gains special importance. Moreover, it gradually has become one of the main topics of interest within disciplines studying the human past. In this contribution an attempt is made to consider the Armenian Highland, in particular present-day Armenia, from the mentioned perspective by emphasizing the early cultural developments in context of the vertical use of space.


Akhmedov, G.M. (ed.) 1986. Arxeologičeskie i étnografičeskie izyskanija v Azerbaidžane (Archaeological and Еthnographic Researches in Azerbaijan) 1985. Baku: Elm: 25-27 (in Russian).

Akhundov, D. 1986. Arxitektura drevnego i rannego srednevekovogo Azerbajdžana (Architecture of Ancient and Early Medieval Azerbaijan). Baku: Azernešr (in Russian).

Areshian, G.E. 2005. Early Bronze Age settlements in the Ararat Plain and its vicinity. AMIT 37: 71-88.

Areshian, G.E. 2007. From extended families to incipient polities: The trajectory of social complexity in the Early Bronze Age of the Ararat Plain (Central Near Eastern Highlands), in: Popova et al. 2007: 26-54.

Avetisyan, P. 2012. Haykakan leṙnašxarhi hnamšakut‘ayin miǰavayri jevap‘oxumneri himnakan mitumnerə vał bronzi darum (The main tendencies of transformation of the ancient cultural environment of the Armenian Highland during the Early Bronze Age). PBH 2: 3-19 (in Armenian).

Avetisyan, P. 2014. Haykakan leṙnašxarhə m.t‘.a. XXIV-IX darerum (Soc‘ial-mšakut‘ayin jevapoxumneri dinamikan əst hnagitakan tvyalneri) / (Armenian Highland during the 24-9th Centuries BC (The Dynamics of Socio-Cultural Transformations, according to Archaeological Data)/). Scientific report presented for the degree of Doctor of Historical Sciences. Yerevan, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, NAS RA (in Armenian).

Avetisyan, P., Bobokhyan, A. 2005. Tigrisi ev Ep‘rati akunk‘nern ǝst Astvacašnč‘i (Sources of Tigris and Euphrates, according to the Bible), in: Barkhudaryan 2005: 82-90 (in Armenian).

Azizyan, A. 2015. Preliminary notes on bird in symbolic system of the Kura-Araxes Culture of Armenia. AJNES 9/2: 31-36.

Babayan, G.B. 1982. Agroximičeskaja xarakteristika gorno-lugovix počv Armjanskoj SSR (Agrochemical Characteristics of the Mountain-Meadow Lands of the Armenian SSR). Yerevan: Institute of Agrochemical Problems and Hydrotoponics (in Russian).

Badalyan, R.S. 2014. New Data on the periodization and chronology of the Kura-Araxes Culture in Armenia. Paléorient 40/2: 71-92.

Badalyan, R. 2021. From homogeneity to heterogeneity. The periodizations and chronology of Kura-Araxes: The view from Armenia, in: Giemsch, Hansen 2021: 211-222.

Badalyan, R.S., Avetisyan, P.S. 2007. Bronze and Early Iron Age Archaeological Sites in Armenia, I. Mt. Aragats and its Surrounding Region (BAR International Series 1697). Oxford: Archaeopress.

Bagdasaryan, A.B. 1956. Klimat Armjanskogo Nagor’ja po ‘Istorii Armenii’ Movsesa Khorenaci (Climate of the Armenian Highland, according to the ‘History of Armenia’ of Movses Khorenatsi). Proceedings of NAS of the Armenian SSR, Social Sciences 5: 121-123 (in Russian).

Baghdasaryan, A.B., Abrahamyan, G.S., Aleqsandryan, G.A., Aslanyan, A.A., Zohrabyan, L.N. (eds) 1971. Haykakan SSH fizikakan ašxarhagrut‘yun (Physical Geography of the Armenian SSR). Yerevan: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk Armjanskoj SSR (in Armenian).

Bakhshaliev, V., Marro, C. 2009. The Аrchaeology of Nakhichevan: Ten Years of New Discoveries. İstanbul: Ege Yayınları.

Baloyan, S.A. 1982. K‘ari lči ap‘in (At the shore of Kari Lich). Nature of Armenia 2: 44-46 (in Armenian).

Barkhudaryan, V. (ed.) 2005. Astvacašnč‘yan Hayastan (Biblical Armenia). Yerevan: Noyan Tapan (in Armenian).

Batiuk, S.D. 2005. Migration Theory and the Distribution of the Early Transcaucasian Culture, PhD Thesis. University of Toronto.

Batmaz, A., Bedianashvili, G., Michalewicz, A., Robinson, A. (eds) 2018. Context and Connection. Studies on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of Antonio Sagona (OLA 268). Leuven – Paris – Bristol, CT: Peeters.

Bobokhyan, A. 2020. ‘T‘armana covn u Arara leṙǝ’: kensatarack‘i kazmakerpman aṙanjnahatkut‘yunnerǝ Vana lči avazanum K‘.a. II hazaramyakum (‘Tarmana Sea and Arara Mountain’: Peculiarities of habitat organization in the basin of Lake Van in the 2nd millennium BC). LHG 3: 248-280 (in Armenian).

Bobokhyan, A., Gilibert, A., Hnila, P. (eds) 2019. Višapǝ hek‘iat‘i ev irakanut‘yan sahmanin (Vishap between Reality and Fairy Tale). Yerevan: Publishing House of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (in Armenian).

Bryusov, V. 1967. Hayastani ev hay kulturayi masin (Towards Armenia and the Armenian Culture). Yerevan: HSSH GA hratarakč‘ut‘yun (in Armenian).

Büttner, R., Peltz, J. (eds) 2006. Mythical Landscapes Then and Now. Yerevan: Antares.

Chubinishvili, T. 1971. K drevnej istorii Južnogo Kavkaza (On the Ancient History of the South Caucasus). Tbilisi: Metsniereba (in Russian).

Connor, S.E., Kvavadze, E.V. 2014. Environmental context of the Kura-Araxes Culture. Paléorient 40/2: 11-22.

Danielyan, H. 2019. Aragaci haravayin lanǰeri bnakavayrayin hamakargǝ, ǰragrut‘yunǝ ev višapak‘areri xndirǝ (The settlement system, hydrography of the southern slopes of Aragats and the problem of vishapakars), in: Bobokhyan et al. 2019: 625-637 (in Armenian).

De Martino, S., Fales, F.M., Lanfranchi, G.B., Milano, L. (eds) 2000. Landscapes, Territories, Frontiers and Horizons in the Ancient Near East II, Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 44 (HANE/M 3/1) Padova: Sargon.

Devrikyan, V. 2001. Lusavorč‘i kant‘ełǝ (The Lamp of Gregory the Illuminator). Etchmiadzin: Mother See Publishing House (in Armenian).

Dumezil, G. 1986. Verxovnye bogi indoevropejcev (Supreme Gods of the Indo-Europeans). Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Foster, K.P. 2000. Volcanic landscapes in Lugal-e, in: De Martino et al. 2000: 23-39.

Gabrielyan, H.K. 2000. Haykakan leṙnašxarh (Armenan Highland). Yerevan: State University Press (in Armenian).

Gadjimuradov, I. 2004. Die vulkanische Urheimat der altanatolischen Sukzessions- und Steingeburts-mythen. AoF 31/2: 340-357.

Gamkrelidse, T.V., Ivanov, V.V. 1984. Indoevropejskij jazyk i indoevropejcy (Indo-European Language and Indo-Europeans). Tbilisi: Izdatel’stvo Tbilisskogo universiteta (in Russian).

Garibian de Vartavan, N. 2009. La Jérusalem nouvelle et les premiers sanctuaires chrétiens de l’Arménie. Yerevan: Isis Paria.

Giemsch, L., Hansen, S. (eds) 2021. The Caucasus. Bridge between the Urban Centres in Mesopotamia and the Pontic Steppes in the 4th and 3rd Millennium BC. The Transfer of Knowledge and Technologies between East and West in the Bronze Age. Proceedings of the Caucasus Conference, Frankfurt am Main, November 28 – December 1, 2018 (Schriften des Archäologischen Museums Frankfurt 34). Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Schnell & Steiner GmbH.

Grekyan, Y. 2013-2014. When the Gods leave people (The climatological hypothesis of the collapse of the Urartian state). AJNES 8/1-2: 57-94.

Grgearyan, A.K. 1964. Raspredelenie naselenija Armjanskoj SSR po vertikal’nym pojasam (Distribution of Population of the Armenian SSR by Vertcal Zonality), in: Konstantinov, Pavlovskij 1964: 230-238 (in Russian).

Haas, V. 2006. Die hethitische Literatur. Berlin – New York: De Gruyter.

Harutiunyan, S. 2016. A GIS analysis of Early Bronze Age settlement patterns in Armenia. QI 395: 95-

Harutyunyan, S. 2000. Hay aṙaspelabanut‘yun (Armenian Mythology). Beirut: Vahe Setean Publishing House (in Armenian).

Hnila, P., Gilibert, A., Bobokhyan, A. 2022. A prehistoric aggregated cells structure at 2850 m asl on Mount Aragats, Armenia (forthcoming).

Hovsepyan, R. 2015. On the agriculture and vegetal food economy of Kura-Araxes Culture in the South Caucasus. Paléorient 41/1: 69-81.

Ibragimov, N.S. 1986. K voprosu osvoenija vysokogornyx zon Azerbajdžana: na osnove dannyx Kel’badžarskogo vysokogor’ja (Towards the problem of domestication of high altitude zones in Azerbaijan: On the basis of data from Kalbajar Highland), in: Akhmedov 1986: 25-27 (in Russian).

Ismailov, G.S. 1977. Issledovanie naskal’nyx izobraženij v verxov’jax r. Terter (Study of rock carvings in the upper streams of the River Terter). AO 1976: 491 (in Russian).

Kalantar, A.A. 1911. Vopros ob izučenii zonal’nyx javlenij na Kavkaze (The question of the study of zonal phenomena in the Caucasus). Caucasian Economy 17/18: 1-16 (in Russian).

Kalantaryan, A., Badalyan, R., Avetisyan, P. (eds) 2002. Hin Hayastani mšakuyt‘ǝ 12 (Culture of Ancient Armenia 12). Yerevan: HH GAA ‘Gitut‘yun’ hratarakč‘ut‘yun (in Armenian).

Kaloev, B.A. 1981. Zemledelie narodov Severnogo Kavkaza (Agriculture of the Peoples of the Northern Caucasia). Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Khachatryan, L.A. 1982. Haykakan SSH barjrleṙnayin avtomayrułineri aṙanjnahatkut‘yunnerǝ (Characteristics of the high mountainous highways of the Armenian SSR). Nature of Armenia 3: 42-43 (in Armenian).

Khanzadyan, E. 1969. Gaṙni IV. Pełumneri ardyunk‘nerǝ 1949-1966 t‘t‘. (Garni IV: 1949-1966 Excavations Results) (Hnagitakan pełumnerǝ Hayastanum 12 /(Archaeological Excavations in Armenia 12)/). Yerevan: HSSH GA hratarakč‘ut‘yun (in Armenian).

Khanzadyan, E.V. 2002. Xoyi paštamunk‘ǝ (Cult of the ram), in: Kalantaryan et al. 2002: 3-8 (in Armenian).

Khanzadyan, E.V. 2003. Haykakan leṙnašxarhi višapnerǝ (Vishaps of the Armenian Highland), in: Muradyan 2003: 35-36 (in Armenian).

Kikvidse, Ya.I. 1988. Zemledelie i zemledelčeskij kul’t v drevnej Gruzii (Agriculture and Agricultural Cult in Ancient Georgia). Tbilisi: Metsniereba (in Russian).

Kliks, F. 1983. Probuždajuščeesja myšlenie: u istokov čelovečeskogo intelekta (Awakening Thinking: At the Origins of the Human Intelligence). Moscow: Progres (in Russian).

Kohl, P.L. 2009. Origins, homelands and migrations: Situating the Kura-Araxes Early Transcaucasian ‘Culture’ within the history of Bronze Age Eurasia. Tel Aviv 36/2: 241-265.

Konstantinov, O.A., Pavlovskij, E.N. (eds) 1964. Geografija naselenija v SSSR: osnovnye problemy (Geography of the Population in the USSR: The Main Problems). Moscow – Leningrad: Nauka (in Russian).

Kushnareva, K., Chubinishvili, T. 1970. Drevnie kul’tury Južnogo Kavkaza (Ancient Cultures of the Southern Caucasus). Leningrad: Nauka (in Russian).

Kushnareva, K.Kh. 1977. Drevnejšie pamjatniki Dvina (Ancient Monuments of Dvin). Yerevan: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk Armjanskoj SSR (in Russian).

Kushnareva, K.Kh. 1997. The Southern Caucasus in Prehistory: Stages of Cultural and Socioeconomic Development from Eight to the Second Millennium B.C. Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.

Lisitsyan, St. 1940. HXSH fizikakan ašxarhagrut‘yun (Physical Geography of the Armenian SSR). Yerevan: Hayastani petakan hratarakč‘ut‘yun (in Armenian).

Margaryan, H.Z. 2018. Artašes ark‘ayi Artamat k‘ałak‘ǝ ǝst T‘oma Arcrunu ‘Arcrunyac‘ tan patmut‘yan’ (Artamat town of King Artashes, according to the ‘History of Artsrunyats House’ of Toma Artsruni). LHG 1: 285-300 (in Armenian).

Martirosyan, H.A. 1981. Gełama leṙneri žayṙapatkernerǝ (Rock Carvings of the Geghama Mountains) (HHH 11/III). Yerevan: HSSH GA hratarakč‘ut‘yun (in Armenian).

Mints, A.A. (ed.) 1966. Geografija xozjajstva respublik Zakavkaz’ja (Geography of the Economy of Republics of Transcaucasia). Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Mkrtchyan, S.S. (ed.) 1962. Geologija Armjanskoj SSR, tom I: Geomorfologija (Geology of the Armenian SSR, vol. I: Geomorphology). Yerevan: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk Armjanskoj SSR (in Russian).

Muradyan, P. (ed.) 2003. Hayagitut‘yan ardi vičakǝ ev nra zargac‘man heṙankarnerǝ. Hayagitakan miǰazgayin hamažołov, 2003 t‘. septemberi 15-20. Zekuc‘umneri druyt‘ner (Current State of Armenian Studies and Perspectives of its Development: International Conference on Armenian Studies, September 15-20, 2003. Theses of Reports). Yerevan: State University Press (in Armenian).

Müseyibli, N. 2004. Gəmiqaya. Bakı: Çasıoğlu.

Narimanishvili, G. (ed.) 2014. Problems of Early Metal Archaeology of Caucasus and Anatolia. Tbilisi: Mtsignobari.

Ostrovskiy, A.B. 2005. Paradigma mifologičeskogo myšlenija: očerk vklada K. Levi-Strosa (The Paradigm of Mythological Thinking: Essay on the Contribution of C. Levi-Strauss). St. Petersburg: Kronos (in Russian).

Palumbi, G. 2008. The Red and Black. Social and Cultural Interaction between the Upper Euphrates and the Southern Caucasus Communities in the Forth and Third Millennium BC (Studi di Preistoria Orientale 2). Roma: Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’.

Piotrovskij, B.B. 1955. Razvitie skotovodstva v drevnejšem Zakavkaz’e (Development of cattle breeding in Ancient Transcaucasia). SA 23: 5-15 (in Russian).

Popova, L.M., Hartley, Ch.W., Smith, A.T. (eds) 2007. Social Orders and Social Landscapes. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Raevskiy, D.S. 1985. Model’ mira skifskoj kul’tury (The World Model of Scythian Culture). Moscow: Nauka (in Russian).

Rothman, M.S 2000. Environmental and cultural factors in the development of settlement in a margianal highland zone, in: Stager et al. 2000: 429-443.

Rothman, M.S 2005. Transcaucasians: Settlement, migration, and trade in the Kura-Araxes periods. AMIT 37: 53-62.

Rothman, M.S 2018. Modelling the Kura-Araxes Cultural Tradition, in: Batmaz et al. 2018: 125-146.

Sagona, A. 2018. The Archaeology of the Caucasus. From Earliest Settlements to the Iron Age (Cambridge World Archaeology). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Shahinyan, A. 1974. VII dari kot‘ołner Gełama leṙnerum (Stelae of the 7th century in the Geghama Mountains). Etchmiadzin 7-8: 75-80 (in Armenian).

Shanshashvili, N., Narimanishvili, G. 2014. Environment and dwelling in the Early and Middle Bronze Ages South Caucasus, in: Narimanishvili 2014: 245-264.

Shimelmitz, R. 2003. A glance at the Early Trans-Caucasian Culture through its nomadic component. Tel Aviv 30/2: 204-221.

Smith, A.T., Badalyan, R.S., Avetisyan, P. 2009. The Archaeology and Geography of Ancient Transcaucasian Societies, vol. 1: The Foundations of Research and Regional Survey in the Tsaghkahovit Plain, Armenia (OIP 134). Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Stager, L.E., Greene, J.A., Coogan, M.D. (eds) 2000. The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond, Essays in Memory of James A. Sauer (Studies in the Archaeology and History of the Levant 1). Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns.

Sternberg, L.Ya. 1936. Pervobytnaja religija v svete étnografii (Primitive Religion in Light of Ethnography). Leningrad: Institut narodov Severa (in Russian).

Ter-Movsisean, M. 1912. Eǰmiacni dašti voṙogumǝ (Irrigation of the Etchmiadzin Valley). Ararat 4: 334-346 (in Armenian).

Ziroyan, A.N., Baloyan, S.A. 1982. Aragaci alpyan kayanǝ (Alpine Station of Aragats). Nature of Armenia 3: 15-17 (in Armenian).

Zograbyan, L.N. 1979. Orografija Armjanskogo nagor’ja: opyt orografičeskogo analiza morfostruktury (Orography of the Armenian Highland: An Attempt of Orographic Analysis of Morphostructure). Yerevan: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk Armjanskoj SSR (in Russian).



How to Cite

Bobokhyan, A. (2022). Vertical use of space in Ancient Armenia and the case of Kura-Araxes tradition. ARAMAZD: Armenian Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 16(1-2), 117–136.

Most read articles by the same author(s)