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Agarak 4: Sacrifice



The rock-and-stone complexes at Agarak are of special significance, most of which are today linked to the Bronze Age settlement. Study of Agarak's stratigraphy gives ground to the assumption that in the first quarter of 3rd millennium BCE the entire area in front and around you was a gigantic worship site with stone-carved structures.

There are numerous types of rounded, bowl-like “key-holes” and “comets”; double layer holes dug into the surface; trough-shaped water fonts; “labyrinths”, “loggias (walkways)”, “thrones”, “altars”, and other structures which were probably used for rituals.

Judging from their shapes and design, and how they were placed, they may have been used for sacrificial rituals: blood and “holy water” (wine?) may have flowed from the sacrificial platform onto and off the carved cliffs; other offerings, purification rites, coupling rituals or other kinds of rites may have occurred.

Since the ancients of Agarak saw their lives intimately tied to the vagaries of nature which they believed were governed by the gods (the changing seasons, life-giving rain and gentle sun that brought good harvest, or punishing floods and scorching droughts that brought famine and death), these rites were agreements, crucial to their survival and “required” to ensure the complete cycle of fertility and abundance. To them, such rituals were meant to keep their connection and harmony with “the world of the gods” consolidating their covenant and asking their favor.

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