| Metsamor 1:
| Basics | Overview
Metsamor 2: Museum | Ground Floor | Upstairs | Lower Level | Gold Rooms
Metsamor 3: Excavation | Temple | Observatory | Getting Back
download Arial AM font
Overview: The museum is laid out on three levels. Our self-tour walks you through the museum in the order tour guides follow.
In the entry lobby are two maps, one showing the current excavation site (citadel and central city), the other the extent of the Ancestral Armenian culture in the Armenian plateau during the Early, Middle and Late Bronze Ages.
Take the steps to the ground floor, and turn to your left.
1st Gallery, Ground Floor
1. The first display is a strata-map, showing the
various layers of the excavation, and samples of
B. Middle Bronze Age: Reddish ceramic with detailed designs showing wheat and spiral designs evolved along with a glazing process over the black pottery. It is in this period that a hierarchic social structure evolved, along with a preoccupation with elaborate ornamented design. The pottery and design details resemble those found on Mycanaean ceramics discovered at Santorini and elsewhere, but are older.
C. Late Bronze Age: The designs and patterns are closer to those found throughout Asia Minor. You could very well be looking at pottery from Greece, Egypt and Cyprus, which incorporated designs like that used at Metsamor.
2. The second display holds samples of weapons and jewelry from the Early and Middle Bronze Age.
3. In this display you can see some early examples
of chinaware and pottery from the Late Bronze
4. Jewelry display.
5. Jewelry display.
6. In the large display opposite cases 2-5, there is a large display showing pottery jugs and vases, and other implements found in the excavation. Most are from the Late bronze to early iron age. The jugs and pottery held wine, wheat, seeds and oil, and include serving and storage vessels.
7. In the same display hangs an Incense burner with lion head hanging in the center of the display. It has a bronze chain and bells, and was used in the temple (Late Bronze Age). The lion head is an often-used feature in royal and worship designs, and there were lions and tigers that inhabited this area at that time. There are still a few leopards inhabiting Armenian wilderness areas, but the lion was the preferred symbol.
8. At the end of the first exhibition hall is
a display featuring the observatory uncovered at
The development of astronomical study at Metsamor grew from a need by the inhabitants to orient themselves in space and time. They had a specific need to understand where the spirit went in the afterlife, to understand the conception of time, and to fix themselves in space. This is a far cry from earlier people’s who stared at the heavens and simply wondered at it all: this was a sacred study, so to speak, to actually fix the culture in the heavens, and to predict its influence on their destiny.
The means of orienting oneself are the beginning steps of social group development, and are usually very simple. For the people at Metsamor, it was typical to orient themselves, their culture, and their place in time and space by East and South.
A. In the picture on the wall, you will see both a schematic of the observatory, and a series of illustrations showing how they charted the stars and created the first known calendar of time, a division of the year into twelve segments.
B. The small lines on the wheel illustration show 3 observation points on the actual wheel inscription uncovered at the observatory. Near these points were found star symbols (representations of Aries, Leo and Taurus), and a compass.
C. Explorations of the first observatory site show that by ca. 3000 BC it was possible to observe the brightest star in the Northern sky, Sirius. Sirius lies in the constellation Canis Major, and is very close to earth, only about about 8.6 light years away.
2nd Gallery, Ground Floor
9. The displays in this gallery focus on the Early
Iron Age, when the culture at Metsamor advanced
10. The next display focuses on the Urartian period
of development, and you will notice in the
11. There is a very black stone, called kisher, (“night”
stone, also obsidian) in the display which was
13. If you turn left as you enter the gallery from the stairwell, you will see a large bronze object in the center of the wall. This is an enlargement of one of the prize possessions of the museum, a Babylonian frog weight carved from agate and onyx. On the surface of the frog, in Babylonian cuneiform is written “I, Burna Burarishi, am a son of King Buran Burarishi”. The weight of the original (in the basement vault) is 8 grams, 62 decigrams. It was used as jewelry, a measurement tool and a standard of weight. Found in one of the royal tombs around the neck of a woman, it is the only example of its kind in the world.
14. Before you reach the back wall of the gallery,
notice a portable fire hearth, divided into thirds.
16. Included in the temple display is an illustration of the temple interior from the late Bronze Age. The worship of the bull was included in the deities, but it had a strong and negative position in the Metsamor pantheon: it was also used for placing curses. It is not until later, during the Urartian period, that it became a symbol of strength and fortitude.
17. Behind the central back wall, standing by the stairwell, is a large stone idol (11th-9th BC). Yup, it’s a phallus.
18. The other half of the gallery is devoted to tools and implements used in the various trades in Metsamor. The last display hold examples of the types of stones and minerals mined and used at the foundry.
19. Just at the bottom of the stairs is a replication
of an Urartu burial site. It positions the artifacts
1st case: Gold jewelry pieces discovered in mausoleums, featuring a gold necklace with intricate design, 3rd-2nd millennium BC.
2nd case: Hollow cylinder made from sardonik (a red-veined onyx), 4th millennium BC.
3rd case: actual frog weight carved from agate and onyx, 4th-3rd millennium BC.
4th case: jewelry made from gold and carnelian (a semi-precious quartz gem). Gold medallions imbedded with cruciform design, 2nd millennium BC.
5th case: royal seal made from carnelian, gold clasps, 3rd millennium BC.
6th case: gold jewelry, including hairpin and medallion, 3rd-2nd millennium BC.
1st case: amber necklaces, 4th-3rd millennium BC.
2nd case: “matsuk” animal heads with eyes made from lapis lazuli, 4th millennium BC. Lapis Lazuli was considered more valuable than gold in the ancient world, and was prized for its medicinal and cosmetic, as well as artistic value.
3rd case: amber jewelry and small agate stone called “achki ulunk” (eye beads), 4th-3rd millennium BC. These are considered to be protective eyes warding off evil, and are still popular amulets worn around the necks of newborns in Armenia.
4th case: two belt decoration pieces in the shape of lions, made from bronze with silver overlay. Swastika detail on the hindquarters of the lions. The overlay process was probably created in the Armenian plateau, as this is one of the earliest examples found in Asia minor (3rd millennium BC)
(C) 2002 TOURARMENIA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
USE OF THIS WEB SITE CONSTITUTES AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE OF COPYRIGHT AND END USE AGREEMENT.