Erebuni Museum

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Erebuni Museum Hall 2 - Display 5-6

 Agriculture and cattle breeding in Urartu is reflected in the development of its metalwork. This is illustrated by quite sophisticated metal tools unearthed during excavations: plows, sickles, pitchforks, axes, hammers, chisels, adzes and saws. The rich veins of iron ore at Van, Mush and Bitlis regions were for the very first time processed in Urartu and Urartian metalwork was exported to the North Caucasus, Syria, Mesopotamia, Iran and western Asia up to the Aegean Sea.

Besides iron, Urartians also processed bronze, copper, tin, silver and gold, as shown on its arms and shields, utensils, applied arts and luxury items found during excavations. They are also mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions. According to one such inscription attributed to Sargon II, when the Assyrians pillaged Musasir Temple in 714 BCE, at that site alone they found 108 tons of bronze molds, about 10 tons of silver, 2 tons of gold, 25,122 shields, 305,412 swords, 1,514 spears and 607 pots, all made of metal. Among items they seized were massive bronze statues of Urartian kings, high priests and gods (the statue of Argishti I alone weighed 2 tons), fanciful creatures and animals, and numerous gold, silver and bronze shields, swords, bows, quivers, cavalry banners, vessels and jewelry.

Urartian masters such as blacksmiths and goldsmiths were highly skilled in molding techniques, as well as gilding, engraving, carving and imprinting; they were also masters in the art of mounting gems.