Excavations in Artsakh Shed Light on Ancient City of Dikranagerd

STEPANAKERT, NKR (A.W.)—Recent archaeological activities are yielding new and exciting finds in the ancient city of Dikranagerd, located in Artsakh.

An excavation site in Dikranagerd (photo by Khatchig Mouradian)

Dikranagerd, the city built by Dikran the Great, was discovered in 2005. Since then, archaeologists have carried out excavations in various parts of the city and revealed such structures as the Mijnaberd Fortress and the Basilica Church, the director of the Atsakh Archaeological Expedition, Hamlet Petrosyan, told Armenpress.

Archaeologists now believe that Dikranagerd, founded in the first century B.C., was a large city with an advanced building plan and construction modes, many gardens, and a large population of several thousands.

In recent months, archaeologists have discovered a district with a territory of six to seven hectares. They also located a cemetery and upon, further excavations, discovered that the dead were buried with property, including coins, Petrosyan said.

The archaeological discoveries have been presented to communities in Yerevan, Stepanakert, the U.S., and Egypt.

“If we continue the excavations of Dikranagerd with this tempo, it will take 15-20 years to understand the blueprint of the city,” said Petrosyan, who is also the head of Yerevan State University’s department of cultural studies.

A museum and storage facility for the artifacts is under construction in Stepanakert. In the meantime, items that require special storage conditions are being kept at Yerevan State University’s archaeology lab. The rest, totaling over 3,000 items, are currently on exhibit at the Dikranagerd Museum. According to Petrosyan, between 300 and 800 artifacts are unearthed each year.

The government of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic (NKR) funds the excavation efforts. This year they earmarked 25 million AMD (less than $70,000) to the project—less than the sum allocated in previous years. “The government funds concrete excavations, and a small sum of money is provided for the needs of the expedition group,” said Petrosyan, adding that engineering-related costs, including equipment expenses, are funded through private sources.


  1.  During our recent visit to Artsakh in June, my family and I were fortunate to visit this site. It’s north and a bit east of Stepanakert in Martagerd. You pass by the ghost town of Aghdam. They have an excellent museum of the artifacts. The basilica church is incredible excavated about 10-12 feet below the current ground surface.
            What is even more amazing is that this important site would not have been discovered and developed were it not for the liberation of Artsakh. Understandably, we spend most of our time discussing the political implications of Artsakh, but this archeological find is an example of interest to civilization. This is what Armenians can do when living in a free environment….build, contribute and add value.

  2. What a great historical find! More and more such findings prove the ancient and advanced
    Armenians left much behind for us to find… for world to know,too.  Hmmm… How much 
    do the Turks and the Azeris have to show for their existence on the planet earth – as I see
    it – they have only to show they are best capable of stealing others lands and properties…
    Now will they  lay claim to all Armenian historic relics that they have not been able to steal…

    Re:  www.tigranagert/am.
    I attempted to read the Armenian material re Tikranagerd… I got as far as 
    ‘Haiasdanee hanrapedootiun kedoothoonnyre’,,, realizing I also to have the
    translations explained as well.  OOPs watch Turks/Azeris don’t claim our Armenian language too. Thanks. 

  3. Stepan jan-.. very nice indeed.. Agree with Boyajian…

    I am proud and fortunate to be an Armenian and represent one of the ancient civilzations on the planet.. and these discovery proves it..


  4.   When visiting this land we call Artsakh, you get a concrete understanding of why these people are profoundly committed to their freedom. Everywhere I went….museum, markets, restaurants, hotels or churches, the people were not merely performing job… they were contributing to the building of their nation.
         Perhaps, if it was possible for Aliyev to experience this, he might begins to understand what real patriotism is. They are not just existing… they are advancing the culture of our people and demonstrating why self-determination is God-given.
                Every day the contrast between the two sides becomes more distinguishable …. on one side you have an artificial state that has stolen the land of others that operates with destruction and threats…. on the other you have an industrious people of civilization builders who are deeply committed to the historic presence of their nation in this world.
                 “Territorial integrity” is a ploy for the status quo created by injustice. Self-determination connects with those denied their rights given to us by God. May God continue to bless Artsakh.

  5. Ditto.  Stepan inspires us to keep hoping, fighting and creating the Armenia we all imagine is possible.  He wants us all to aim high (Hai!).

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