Trialeti culture

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A bejeweled gold cup from Trialeti. National Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi. Gold goblet cropped.jpg
A bejeweled gold cup from Trialeti. National Museum of Georgia, Tbilisi.

The Trialeti culture, also known as the Trialeti-Vanadzor [Kirovakan] culture, is named after the Trialeti region of Georgia and the city of Vanadzor, Armenia. It is attributed to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. [1] Trialeti culture emerged in the areas of the preceding Kura-Araxes culture. [2] Scholars speculate that it was an Indo-European culture. [3] [4] [5]

Trialeti Historical Region in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia

Trialeti is a mountainous area in central Georgia. In Georgian, its name means "a place of wandering". The Trialeti Range is a part of the greater Trialeti Region.

Georgia (country) Country in the Caucasus region

Georgia, known until 1995 as the Republic of Georgia, is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

Vanadzor City in Lori, Armenia

Vanadzor, is an urban municipal community and the third-largest city in Armenia serving as the capital of Lori Province in the northern part of the country. It is located about 128 kilometres north of the capital Yerevan. As of the 2011 census, the city had a population of 86,199, down from 148,876 reported at the 1979 official census. Currently, the town has an approximate population of 82,200 as per the 2016 official estimate. Vanadzor is the seat of the Diocese of Gougark of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Contents

It is not to be confused with the Mesolithic Trialetian culture.

Mesolithic Prehistoric period, second part of the Stone Age

In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synonymously, especially for outside northern Europe, and for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus. The Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans roughly 15,000 to 5,000 BP; in Southwest Asia roughly 20,000 to 8,000 BP. The term is less used of areas further east, and not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa.

Trialetian is the name for an Upper Paleolithic-Epipaleolithic stone tool industry from the area south of the Caucasus Mountains and to the northern Zagros Mountains. It is tentatively dated to the period between 16,000 / 13,000 BP and 8,000 BP.

Background

The earliest Shulaveri-Shomu culture existed in the area from 6000 to 4000 BC. [6] The Kura-Araxes culture followed after.

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.

The flourishing stage of the Trialeti culture began near the end of the third millennium BC. [7]

During the final phase of the Middle Bronze Age (c.1700–1500 BC), in addition to the Trialeti-Vanadzor period culture, three other geographically overlapping material culture horizons predominate in the South Caucasus (Transcaucasia) and eastern Anatolia: Karmir-Berd (a.k.a. Tazakend), Karmir-Vank (a.k.a. Kizil Vank, Van-Urmia), and Sevan-Uzerlik (a.k.a. Sevan-Artsakh). [8]

Black-burnished and monochrome painted wares vessels from the cemeteries of Ani, and Küçük Çatma (Maly Pergit), both in the Kars Province of Turkey, and tr:Sos Höyük IV in Erzurum Province resemble those of Trialeti. [9]

Ani Ruined medieval Armenian city situated in the Turkish province of Kars

Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city now situated in Turkey's province of Kars, next to the closed border with Armenia.

Kars Province Province of Turkey in Northeast Anatolia

Kars Province is a province of Turkey, located in the northeastern part of the country. It shares part of its closed border with the Republic of Armenia. The provincial capital is the city of Kars. The provinces of Ardahan and Iğdır were until the 1990s part of Kars Province.

Erzurum Province Province of Turkey in Northeast Anatolia

Erzurum Province is a province of Turkey in the Eastern Anatolia Region of the country. It is bordered by the provinces of Kars and Ağrı to the east, Muş and Bingöl to the south, Erzincan and Bayburt to the west, Rize and Artvin to the north and Ardahan to the northeast.

Kurgans

At that time, there was already strong social differentiation indicated by rich mound burials. There are parallels to the Early Kurgan culture. Cremation was practised. Painted pottery was introduced. Tin-based bronze became predominant. Geographical interconnectedness and links with other areas of the Near East are seen in many aspects of the culture. For example, a cauldron found in Trialeti is nearly identical to the one from Shaft Grave 4 of Mycenae in Greece. [7]

The Trialeti culture shows ties with the highly developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, [10] but also with cultures to the south and east. [11]

Trialeti-Vanadzor painted monochrome and polychrome pottery is very similar to that in the other areas of the Near East. In particular, similar ceramics are known as Urmia ware (named after Lake Urmia in Iran). Also, similar pottery was produced by the Uzarlik culture, and the Karmirberd-Sevan culture.

The site at Trialeti was originally excavated in 1936–1940 in advance of a hydroelectric scheme, when forty-six barrows were uncovered. A further six barrows were uncovered in 1959–1962. [12]

Martqopi kurgans are somewhat similar, and are contemporary to the earliest among the Trialeti kurgans. Together, they represent the early stage of the Early Kurgan culture of Central Transcaucasia.

This Early Kurgan period, known as Martkopi-Bedeni, has been interpreted as a transitional phase and the first stage of the Middle Bronze Age. [13]

Burial practises

The Trialeti culture was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. [10] These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq. [6] They also worked tin and arsenic. [14] This form of burial in a tumulus or "kurgan", along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of Proto-Indo-European. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery. [15] In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. [16] This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent. [17]

The Trialeti pottery style is believed to have developed into the Late Bronze Age Transcaucasian ceramic ware found throughout much of what is now eastern Turkey. This pottery has been connected to the expansion of the Mushki. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

Kurgan Tumulus in Eastern Europe

A kurgan is a tumulus, a type of burial mound or barrow, heaped over a burial chamber, often of wood. The Russian noun, already attested in Old East Slavic, comes from an unidentified Turkic language, compare Modern Turkish kurğan, which means "fortress". Kurgans are mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. 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.

Kura–Araxes culture archaeological culture

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Godin Tepe Place

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Prehistoric Georgia

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The modern territory of Armenia has been settled by human groups from the Lower Paleolithic to modern days. The first human traces are supported by the presence of Acheulean tools, generally close to the obsidian outcrops more than 1 million years ago. Middle and Upper Paleolithic settlements have also been identified such as at the Hovk 1 cave and the Trialetian culture. The sites of Aknashen and Aratashen in the Ararat plain region are believed to date to the Neolithic period. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture of the central Transcaucasus region is one of the earliest known prehistoric cultures in the area, carbon-dated to roughly 6000 - 4000 BC. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture in the area was succeeded by the Bronze Age Kura-Araxes culture, dated to the period of ca. 3400 - 2000 BC. The Kura-Araxes culture was then later succeeded by the Trialeti culture.

Aratashen Place in Armavir, Armenia

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Kültəpə Municipality in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

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Alikemek-Tepesi

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Kul Tepe Jolfa

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References

  1. Munchaev 1994, p. 16; cf., Kushnareva and Chubinishvili 1963, pp. 16 ff.
  2. The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia - Page 266 by Philip L. Kohl
  3. John A. C. Greppin and I. M. Diakonoff, Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 111, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1991), pp. 721
  4. Joan Aruz, Kim Benzel, Jean M. Evans, Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium B.C. Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) (2008) pp. 92
  5. Kossian, Aram V. (1997), The Mushki Problem Reconsidered pp. 254
  6. 1 2 Geraldine Reinhardt, Bronze Age in Eurasia Lecture Delivered 29 July 1991; Archived 21 JUL 2015
  7. 1 2 Joan Aruz, Sarah B. Graff, Yelena Rakic, Cultures in Contact: From Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean in the Second Millennium B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of art symposia. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013 ISBN   1588394751 p12
  8. Daniel T. Potts A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Volume 94 of Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. John Wiley & Sons, 2012 ISBN   1405189886 p.681
  9. Aynur ÖZFIRAT (2008), THE HIGHLAND PLATEAU OF EASTERN ANATOLİA IN THE SECOND MILLENNIUM BCE: MIDDLE/LATE BRONZE AGES
  10. 1 2 Trialeti culture
  11. Edens, Christoper (Aug–Nov 1995). "Transcaucasia at the End of the Early Bronze Age". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. The American Schools of Oriental Research. 299/300 (The Archaeology of Empire in Ancient Anatolia): 60, 53–64. JSTOR   1357345.
  12. The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and Caucasus. Charles Burney and David Marshall Lang p 90- 96.
  13. The Beginnings of Metallurgy
  14. Edens, page 56
  15. Edens page 58
  16. Edens page 59
  17. Edens, see generally
  18. Kossian, Aram V. (1997), The Mushki Problem Reconsidered pp. 260-261