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Agarak 3: Wine Presses

 Wine Presses

The large number of rock-cut wine presses and storage vats discovered in Agarak's excavations shows the predominant role of viticulture and winemaking in the economic life of its inhabitants. As one of the most important points along the trade route leading from Ararat to Shirak and Ani, Agarak developed a flourishing economy and commercial sector, especially in the 4th-3rd centuries BCE and the 2nd-4th centuries.

Evidence of this development is provided by the discovery of painted urban pottery, an Alexander the Great drachma, an Octavian Augustus silver denarius and several signet rings found in sarcophagi burials belonging to the late Hellenistic period. A large cemetery spread around the settlement, with burials dated from the 4th century BCE to the 5th-6th centuries. Pagan and Christian ritual burials were discovered next to each other, suggesting Christianity was widespread and dominated the local community long before it was proclaimed the state religion.

The discovery of modest amounts of glazed and cooking pottery in the soft sediment covering the platform's Hellenistic strata points to life continuing at Agarak in the Early Middle Ages (12th-14th cc.). Modest material remains represent its final phase from the 17th and 18th centuries (ceramics, hearth bases, coins issued by the Khanate of Yerevan, etc.).

This text is provided by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.