Stone Expedition in Armenia
David Amit and Malachi Beit-Arie verifying inscription
Amit and Bishop Abraham explain site to visiting school children
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
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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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
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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