Urartu was an ancient state
which existed from the 9th to
6th centuries BC, located on the
territory around Lake Van (also
known as the Van Kingdom),
which includes part of modern
Armenia and the fertile lands of
the Aras (Araxes) Valley.
In the summer of 1938 an expedition led by Boris Piotrovsky began excavations in the environs of Yerevan at
Karmir-blur (Red Hill). Important material for the study of Urartu culture was found out during excavations. The
ancient Urartu fortress of Teishebaini and urban buildings were found at the foot of the hill. Constructed in the
8th century BC, the fortress was the residence of deputies of the Urartu King Rusa. The fortress was sacked
and burned by the Scythians in the 6th century BC, but the lower part of the citadel with its storerooms and
workshops was well preserved.
Artefacts found during the excavations provide us with a very
full picture of the development of crafts, farming, art and the
written language in Urartu. There were fragments of iron
sickles, clay vessels with wheat and barley, stone tools for
making flour, enormous wine vessels half buried in the
earthen floor, and 97 marvellous bowls of sparkling golden
bronze (when struck they produce a long-lasting melodic ring
like a bell, and each of them has its own particular key).
Numerous bronze arrowheads, a large shield and a helmet
bearing inscriptions from the time of King Sarduri II were also