Archaeologists in Armenia Just Unearthed an Ancient ‘Golden Tomb’ Filled With Jewelry and Artifacts

Photo: Science in Poland (Fair Use)

A tomb containing numerous amber and carnelian beads as well as gold pendants has been unearthed by archaeologists at Metsamor, an ancient necropolis located in Armenia.

The burial is believed to date back to the late Bronze Age, specifically between 1,300 and 1,200 B.C.E. The tomb also contained the remains of both a male and female, who were buried simultaneously.

“Their death is a mystery to us, we do not know the cause, but everything indicates that they died at the same time, because there are no traces of tomb reopening,” Krzysztof Jakubiak, an archaeology professor at the University of Warsaw, said in a statement.

The couple was interred in a cist, a subterranean chamber lined with stone, in an eternal embrace. The individuals are thought to have passed away in their thirties, with one adorned with bronze bracelets and the other wearing a tin wire ring, Artnet News reported.

In addition to the couple’s remains, the grave contained a wooden burial bed, around a dozen ceramic vessels, and a faience flask. Scholars speculate that the pendants and beads were once part of three necklaces, while the flask was likely imported from the Syrian-Mesopotamian borderlands.

A collaborative effort between the Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw and Armenia’s Service for the Protection of Historical Environment and Cultural Museum-Reserves, led by Jakubiak and Ashot Piliposian, has been conducting a research project in the Ararack Valley since 2013, as reported by the Greek publication Archaeology.

Last autumn, an exhibition showcasing their findings was opened at the Armenian History Museum in nearby Yerevan, as reported by Artnet News.

Around 100 graves have been discovered in the cemetery by the archaeologists, but the recently uncovered golden tomb is among the few that had not been looted before the excavations commenced in 1965. The cist graves would have been covered with earth burial mounds that have deteriorated over time.

Since the ancient Armenians seem to have been literate and left no written records, not much is known about Metsamor society. The walled settlement flourished between the 4th and 2nd millennium B.C.E., with temple complexes surrounding a central fortress.

Written by staff