Hakob Simonyan, DeputyDirector of the Scientific and Research Institute of Historical and Cultural Heritage, project manager presented the project of the excavations today at the Media Center hosted press conference.
The project which is carried out upon the instruction of the Prime Minister of Armenia will include two phases. In the three-year-long first phase the site will be excavated and the second phase will include reconstruction and restoration of the mausoleum and surrounding area which will afterwards be reconstructed into a museum.
“After excavations and restoration the museum will turn this distinct historical monument into a key tourist destination in Armenia,” Simonyan said.
The speaker told the Media Center the preparations for the first phase are over. “The required funding for the first three years amounting to 50 million drams is allocated. Laborers and archeologists are ready to begin working on the site. Weather permitting, we will launch excavations,” Simonyan added.
When speaking on the history and significance of the mausoleum the speaker noted, “
“This is the tomb of the Arsacid Dynasty and a unique monument for our identity, statehood and self-recognition. Among our early medieval structures Aghtsk is the only one that has a precise dating. It was built in the 4th century during the Armenian-Persian war and several ancient Armenian historians recount about the mausoleum in their works. The mausoleum is not the only structure on the site as there is a Christian church in the vicinity. Our task is to detect other adjacent facilities usually built near the tombs of kings,” he added.
Since the Aghtsk Mausoleum is a unique monument which survived to the date, Simonyan believes, it may stir interest throughout the world. “In antiquity the Parthians spread their control over the countries in the region. And the Arsacid kings descend from the Parthians. Thus, the project may as well interest Iran and Turkmenistan,” said Simonyan and added that after excavations and restoration is done, the UNESCO may recognize the site as intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The expedition team is eager to launch excavations in Aghtsk so as foreign delegations which will visit Armenia at the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 this year may see themselves the ancient medieval monument and have better knowledge of the Armenian history.