Dr. Stone Expedition in Armenia

David Amit and Malachi Beit-Arie verifying inscription

David Amit and Bishop Abraham explain site to visiting school children

Report no. 6. 01/05/07 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

1. The excavation of the empty spaces between the concentrations of graves in the main graveyard continues. In the course of this activity yesterday a new tombstone was discovered.

2. Work continues in the area of the eastern flour mill, in which two complete tombstones were discovered yesterday. At lunch-time today a third tombstone started to be uncovered here.

3. In the area of the middle flour mill, where one tombstone was discovered yesterday, a large mill-stone was uncovered today.

4. In the bank of the flour mill two women's tombstones were discovered yesterday. These bore inscriptions. Work on decipherment continues. The following are very provisional decipherments:
Inscription no. 1
Side 1: The engaged woman Esther, daughter of Michael; may her portion be with our matriarchs SSS. her pure tomb S.
Side 2: Grace is a lie and beauty is vanity. The woman, God-fearing, and moreover give her S Written on the 18th of the month of Tishre in the year (date, ca. 1250)
Inscription no. 2
Blessing of ??? ABBREVIATION. Amen
This second tombstone is covered with geometric ornaments including an inscription on one side. Rachel daughter of Eli; may her repose be in the Garden of Eden.

5. The procedure of cleaning the lichen with the special chemicals brought from Jerusalem has commenced with promising first results.

6. Professor Beit-Arie went to Eghegis on Sunday morning. We await the results of his analysis of the script.

7. M, Stone arranged in Yerevan for a geologist to be sent to the site to analyze the stones. He will take him there on Wednesday. This analysis may solve some problems relating to the origin of the rock, and the relationship of the Jewish and Orbelian cemeteries.

8. M. Stone met with the Pro-Rector for international affairs of Yerevan State University, Rafael Matevosian, to discuss continued cooperation. The University houses the expedition in Yerevan.

9. M. Stone met with the Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, Academician Vladimir Barkhoudarian to discuss further cooperation.

10. M. Stone met with Prof. Ruben Djrbashian, head of the geological institute, to discuss the translation and publication of a book on earthquakes in Armenian historical sources. This is a very important work.

11. Hovig Kizoghian and his project have been awarded the first place in the Presidential Competition for a creative computer-based/internet-based project. The prize will be awarded on the 8th.

12. M. Stone met with Aram Topchyan to commence discussion of publication of an article on the Jewish Communities of Siwnik and Vayots Dzor, utilizing a variety of sources, including the Eghegis inscriptions.

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Excavation of Tombstone

Newly revealed Winged Bull Figure
with inscription to the left

Video Team in Cemetery

Cleaning lichen from stone

Report no. 8. 01/05/09
/ 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 was very important for the following reasons:

1. M. Stone arranged a visit by the Geologist Dr. Sergey Karapetyan (Geological Institute, Yerevan). He examined the rock in the cemetery of the Orbelian family in Eghegis and of the Jewish cemetery of Eghegis. He took comparative samples from the surrounding mountains. The preliminary results are that the tombstones in the two cemeteries are made from the same type of rock. After chemical and perhaps spectrographic analysis, it will be possible, perhaps, to discover the site of the quarry. A technical geological description will be prepared to include in the final report.

2. The work of uncovering the second of the three water-mill complexes continued under the leadership of Hussig Melkonian and Niwra Hagopian. This second water-mill yeilded numerous potsherds, the oldest of which are of the thirteenth century. Gravestones had been taken out of it earlier in the week.

3. The excavation of the cemetery itself is at an end. No particular results were taken this day. Certain tombstones were set upright and some centralization of finds was done

4. The work on the third water-mill continues. One new tombstone was uncovered. but no inscriptions.

5. A total of 62 complete tombstones has now been reached and a number of other fragments. We are convinced that at a slightly later stage, many tombstones were used in the foundations of the retaining walls. In addition, there are clear reports of tombstones re-used in the walls of the houses.

6. The work of M. Beit-Arie led to the clarification of a number of different points in the readings of the inscriptions and in their scribal habits. This visit was extremely important.

7. Consultations were held by M. Stone with D. Amit, H. Melkonian, Abraham srpazan and engineer Mayis Mkrtchyan about the continuation of the work and about various issues of conservation and development.

8. The work of the Israeli group on the site is concluded. Hussig Melkonian will head a continuing excavation and there are hopes for further major finds of Jewish and Armenian material.

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