2021 Mission to Armenia

At the beginning of October 2021 ArmEn team members Prof. Michele Nucciotti (coordinator of the archaeological part of ArmEn) and Dr. Elisa Pruno, together with the PI Prof. Zara Pogossian, conducted a research visit to Armenia. The purpose of the visit was twofold. One of the objectives was to settle all logistical and organizational matters necessary for initiating joint archaeological excavations together with Prof. Hamlet Petrosyan, head of the Dvin Archaeological Mission, from the Yerevan State University and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Armenian Academy of Sciences. 

Subsequently, during October and the first week of November excavations were carried out at the medieval site of Dvin, one of the most important urban settlements not only of historical Armenia but of the southern Caucasus in general. A special entry will be dedicated to the results of this first season of excavations in the future.

This year’s campaign in Dvin brought together, besides ArmEn, other archaeological projects of the University of Florence in Armenia led by Prof. Nucciotti, such as those sponsored by the van Berchem Foundation and by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the visit in October, the archaeologists on the ArmEn team together with Prof. Petrosyan discussed the specific areas to be excavated this year within the vast and impressive site of Dvin, as well as made plans for a long-term collaboration and future campaigns.

The second objective of the visit was to introduce the project ArmEn and the ERC funding schemes to a wider scholarly and interested general public in Armenia. For this purpose, ArmEn Scientific Board member Prof. Edda Vardanyan organized a round-table discussion and presentations at the prestigious Hall of the Presidium of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences (Yerevan).

The event was attended by members of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, among whom Profs. Yuri Suvaryan and Ruben Safrastyan welcomed the guests and expressed their appreciation of the project, while the Director of the Institute of the Ancient Manuscripts, Matenadaran, Prof. Vahan Ter-Ghevondyan highlighted the innovative aspects and importance of the project ArmEn for Armenian studies.

The representative of Delegation of the European Union in Armenia, Mr. Frank Hess emphasized the importance of research and education in EU-Armenia cultural relations and the importance of ERC projects in accomplishing these goals.
The PI Pogossian gave a general presentation of the project, while ArmEn team members Prof. Nucciotti and Dr. Armine Melkonyan spoke about their specific research in archaeology and unpublished manuscript sources respectively.
The gathering reached more than academic audiences thanks to news releases in local press dedicated to it.
While not directly related to the project ArmEn, this year’s visit to Armenia provided an opportunity to present an important volume edited by the PI Pogossian and ArmEn Scientific Board member E. Vardanyan in 2019, but unable to do so earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation took place at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, Matenadaran and was broadcast in live streaming
This first visit to Armenia within the project ArmEn was fruitful on many respects, including research and public outreach.

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