Stone Expedition in Armenia
no. 3. 01/05/04
Study of Jewish Cemetery in Eghegis sponsored by Charles and Agnes Kazarian
Eternal Fund and support of the Ben Tzvi Institute for Study of Oriental
Jewish Communities, the Foundation for Biblical Archeology, the Israel
Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
This day we went to Eghegis for a first visit and consultation with Bishop
Abraham. Participants: M.E. Stone, David Amit, Sheila Bishop, Yoav Loeff,
Hussik Melkonian, Aram Topchyan (expedition researcher); Gohar Muradyan.
New Tombstones Identified in Eghegis On the site of Eghegis, we identified,
with the help of Bishop Abraham, three new tombstones in a different area.
This is extremely important for possible ramifications. We also finalized
a work plan for next week. We then did survey work in the village of Eghegis,
with the following results:
1. Examined a group of Khatchkars at the entry of the village.
2. Examined a disused mosque which had in it tombstones containing writing
in both Armenian and Persian. Photographed.
3. Examined the tombstone concentrations in the churchyard of the village.
Some of them, presumably of the thirteenth-fourteenth century, are of
the same morphology as those from the Eghegis cemetery. This is true both
of the layout and of the shapes.
4. Just out of the village and above the road, we examined a cemetery
containing mainly Moslem tombs, presumably in Arabic or Persian. A number
of these were photographed.
The major thing was the uncovering of the new tombstones. Our knowledge
of the area was enriched and much comparative material uncovered.
no. 4. 01/05/06 Study of Jewish Cemetery in Eghegis sponsored by Charles
and Agnes Kazarian Eternal Fund and support of the Ben Tzvi Institute
for Study of Oriental Jewish Communities, the Foundation for Biblical
Archeology, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem Today was the first day of field work.
We had the following persons working on the site: Michael Stone (Expedition
Director); David Amit and Hussig Melkonian (Archeologist team leaders);
Niwra Hagopian (archeologist); Yoav Loeff (photographer); Sheila Bishop
(Archeological assistant); Igor Dorfmann (former student of M. Stone:
volunteer); Bishop Abraham Mrktchyan; Engineer Mayis Mkrtchyan (srpazan's
brother); 10 workers from the village of Eghegis. In addition the mayor
of Eghegis joined us and some representatives of Etchmiadzin.
The group divided into a number of teams, basically four. One team worked
in the excavation of the previously known cemetery; one term worked on
the flour mill in which tombstones had been seen; one worked on a large
rubble heap in which tombstones had been observed; one team worked in
the Orbelian cemetery of Eghegis. The simultaneous work by a number of
teams makes everything very efficient.
Results beyond our wildest expectations: two new inscribed tombstones,
one of which bears a date of (as now read) 1276. Beyond the very interesting
content of the inscription, this takes our knowledge back by another twenty
years. The second inscribed one has not yet had even preliminary decipherment.
Two new tombstones with significant ornamentation. In addition about 10
complete and fragmentary tombstones were found, taking us up to about
50. In addition an Armenian Khatchkar with a secondary date of 1303 was
discovered. The survey of the Orbelian cemetery was completed and is ready
for inputting and checking.
1. The nature and importance of the site are becoming even more significant.
With Bishop Abraham, M. Stone has started planning for the questions of
security of this valuable material, conservation, and presentation. As
plans develop they will be forwarded.
2. It is now necessary to spend the whole week with the full team at this
site. We had thought that we had more or less exhausted its riches. However,
it seems that we have barely started to uncover its secrets.
the Stone Expedition