Nature Trail 2010: 2010 Flower Trails

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Erebuni (Urartian) Flora

 Urartian Agriculture

 
Agriculture and livestock breeding was essential to the city’s economic life. The Urartians built massive water canals, some of which are still in use to this day. Archaeological excavations have shown that vegetables, hemp and the grains sesame, wheat and barley were grown in the area, as well as grapes and plums, and other fruits. The grape seeds that had been found were examined further and it revealed that twelve varieties of grape were grown during this time in the Ararat valley, among them Voskehat (Kharji), Mskhali (Ararat), Hachabash and some varieties of black grape. These ancient varieties are still grown in modern Armenia.   
 
The grains used to make the beer stored inside the citadel are endemic to Armenia, one of the early areas of the world to cultivate plants.  9th century BCE cuneiforms point to widespread cultivation of wheat across the Armenian plateau and archeological studies indicate long-term cultivation of grains (wheat, barley, rye, millet, oats) that made their way into wheat and flour, the round millet breads Urartians ate and the fermented oats and millet spirits they drank.
 
What may surprise you is that among the wild flowers that still inhabit the region, this wild grain still grows, and closer than you think. The same wild grain used to ferment Urartian ale is found on this hillside! 
 
Flora
 
Iris elegantissima , 
Amberboa moschata , 
Scorzonera papposa, 
Tomanthea aucheri, 
Xeranthemum squarrosum, 
Centaurea carduiformis, 
Centaurea depressa , 
Centaurea erivanensis and 3 species of Triticum
 
Wild wheat (Triticum L.)
 
T. boeoticum Boiss., 
T. urartu Tum. ex Gandiljan*
T. araraticum Jakubz. *
 
* Species T. Urartu and T. araraticum first were discovered and described in Armenia. 
 
Original text edited by International Council on Monuments and Sites – Armenia, the Institute of Botany for the Armenian National Academy of Sciences and Erebuni Historic-Archeological Reserve-Museum.