Seminar: “Urartu and State-Building Processes in Armenia”

Hosted by the Caucasus Through Time Network 

Annarita Stefania Bonfanti, Università degli Studi di Pavia

A “Mesopotamian” state on the Armenian Highlands? Analysing art to investigate the formation of the Urartian state

Mateusz Iskra, University of Warsaw

The coexistence and interference of Urartian and local potting tradition in Transcaucasian hinterland between 8th and 6th century BC. Evidence from Metsamor and neighbouring area of the Ararat plain

Michael Badalyan, Erebuni Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve

Rethinking of Urartu (on the Basis of recent excavations at Erebuni, Odzaberd and Karmir Blur)

Ruben Davtyan, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg & Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

The archaeological dimension of Urartu’s impact on “Etiuni”: Case study on Lori Berd

Date: November 15, 14:00 GMT


Between the 9th and 7th century BC the ancient kingdom of Urartu spanned the borders between the mountainous region of modern-day Turkey, Armenia, Iran, and Iraq. For more than a century it was considered the main rival of the mighty Assyrian empire. Urartu was one of the main metalworking centres of the Near East. Seminar will focus on the social and cultural transformations caused by the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia and adjacent regions. The speakers will present the results of their recent projects and contribute to the discussion on the Urartian presence in South Caucasus from an archaeological perspective. 

Annarita S. Bonfanti is a PhD candidate at the University of Pavia (Italy), where she also studied for her BA and MA. She spent some of her PhD in Germany, at the JMU in Würzburg and, with a DAAD scholarship, at the LMU in Munich. Her main focus is the Urartian culture, in particular the art, the language and the epigraphy of the Kingdom. After finishing her MA in 2017, she joined the team of the Archaeological Mission to Southern Caucasus (ISMEO – IAE NAS RA), excavating in Armenia for the VDP (Vayots Dzor Project) and the KSP (Kotayk Survey Project).

Mateusz Iskra is a PhD associated with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology. His PhD thesis was devoted to the Ararat plain during the early and middle iron ages. He took part in many excavation campaigns in Armenia, Kuwait, Egypt, UAE and Oman. He specialites in Iron Age archeology of South Caucasus and beyond with special reference to pottery studies, chronology, and household archaeology.

Michael Badalyan is the director of the “Erebuni” Historical & Archaeological Museum-Reserve. He is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, were he completed his PhD thesis about the religion of Urartu from the archaeological perspective in 2015. He is the initiator and director of archaeological excavations
at Erebuni, Karmir Blur and Odzaberd. M. Badalyan has teaching experience in the Armenian State Pedagogical University, the University of Warsaw, and the University of Beirut. He is author of more than 40 academic publications, with main focus on the archaeology of Urartu. His other competences include the heritage preservation, heritage management, and awareness raising of cultural heritage.

Ruben Davtyan is a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. He is a part of the multidisciplinary research group “Representing domination” and writes his PhD thesis about the representation of the local elites based on the archaeological material from Lori Berd. Previously he studied in Yerevan, Munich and Berlin. His main fields of interests are Iron Age mortuary practices in South Caucasus, art history and cross-cultural relations in antiquity.