The ancient Shengavit settlement belongs to the period of the primitive communal tribal society. The basic settlement consists of four sequential archaeological and cultural layers, built on top of each other, each measuring four metres deep. These can be classified as follows:
First layer: late Neolithic (3500-3000 BC)
Second layer: early Eneolithic (3000-2700 BC)
Third layer: middle Eneolithic (2600-2300 BC)
Fourth layer: late Eneolithic (2300-2000 BC)
The clay vessels, discovered in the first layer and dating from the late Neolithic period, are roughly decorated on a white surface. Pieces of bowls, cups and plates were likewise located alongside. The objects found from the first layer were primarily made of stone – obsidian, flint and basalt. Also found were roughly-hewn stone axes, and tools made of bone such as needles, heads of spindles and arrowheads, evidencing a developed textile industry. Small and large cattle were kept indicating a cattle breeding industry.
Further, the spindle heads discovered in Shengavit provide evidence of a highly-developed textile industry making materials and dresses. During the last excavation, traces of cane mats were also excavated.
To this day, the reasons for the collapse of this early agricultural settlement are subject to discussion and debate among specialists. The majority believe there are three major factors which contributed to the settlement’s collapse:
a) ecological changes in the last quarter of the third millennium BC;
b) economic conditions; and
c) ethnic replacements and invasions.
As a result of this, the Shengavit settlement was abandoned by the last quarter of the third millennium BC.
According to archaeological materials, in the late third millennium BC and the first half of the second millennium BC, people occasionally used this abandoned site for graves. Later, in the Middle Ages, a small village was also founded on the site.
On the basis of these excavated materials, the Shengavit Culture-Preserve was opened in 1968 as a branch of the Erebuni Historical & Archaeological Culture-Preserve. In 2003, the museum was renamed the Shengavit Historical & Archaeological-Preserve. Today, some of these items are exhibited in the History Museum of Armenia in Yerevan.
Courtesy of Ancient Civilizations
Special thanks to our Armenian friend Nare Khachatryan