Event: Dragon Stones of Armenia: Recent Research and Protection Works

Date & Time

October 16, 2020 - 12:00pm
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Contact Information

Michelle Jacobson



Event Type

Cotsen Public Lecture

Event Details

Arsen Bobokhyan
PhD, Researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences Republic of Armenia
Friday, October 16th, 12:00pm PT (contingent on the developing situation in Armenia)
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In the high mountains of Armenia, exist unique monuments called by the people “vishapakar” - dragon-stone. Although vishapakars were discovered more than a century ago, their secrets are far from being deciphered. Much like the khachkars (cross-stones) of Medieval times, vishapakars are typical for the prehistoric landscapes of the Armenian Highland. The centres of their distribution are Mount Aragats and the Geghama mountains. Today we know approximately 150 examples of these monuments. Vishapakars are 150-550 cm high and made, as a rule, of grayish basalt. They had been widely used during the Bronze Age, especially within the 2nd millennium BC. Among the many questions vishapakars raise, one of the most important is the problem of their protection. Two kinds of dangers exist – destruction and dilapidation in their original places, and removal to the lowland. Both destruction and removal took place as early as the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, in the Urartian period, increased during Middle Ages and unfortunately continues today. The lecture will present recent works to investigate and protect these monuments.


Arsen Bobokhyan is the Vice Director, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Armenian Academy, where he has worked since 1998. He received his Pd.D. from the Institute of Prehistory, University of Tubingen, Germany, with the topic ''Communication and Barter in the Highland between the Taurus and the Caucasus, ca. 2500-1500 BC.'' His areas of research include Early Archaeology of the Caucasus, the Near East and Asia Minor, Cultural Relations, Ancient Barter and Weight Systems, History of Urbanism, Identity Problems, Ancient Religion and Cult, Sacred Landscape. He has taught at Yerevan State University since 2007.