Grounded: A Late Bronze Age fortress on the Şerur Valley floor, Naxçivan

Author(s): Hilary Gopnik

Year: 2016


The Middle to Late Bronze Age transition in the South Caucasus is generally characterized by a shift from small settlements and elaborate kurgan burials to hilltop fortresses and smaller burials grouped in cemeteries. It has been argued that the hilltop fortresses with their broad view over the landscape served as anchors to the mobile populations that surrounded them, and ultimately to the development of increased social hierarchies at these fortresses. This pattern has been identified primarily in Armenia and Georgia while evidence from the south in Naxçivan has been largely absent. In 2014 and 2015, the Naxçivan Archaeological Project undertook excavations on the Şerur Valley floor in an area that had been deeply cut into by an earlier Soviet bulldozing operation. These excavations revealed a sequence of Middle Bronze burials and ritual deposits directly topped and cut into by a Late Bronze elite building with large rooms and a buttressed cyclopean fortification wall—essentially a ground-level citadel. This presentation will present the results of these excavations and will suggest that this sequence will force a reconsideration of the processes that created the fortress based polities of the Late Bronze to Early Iron Ages.

Cite this Record

Grounded: A Late Bronze Age fortress on the Şerur Valley floor, Naxçivan. Hilary Gopnik. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404891)

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Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;