Karnut I

Southern Caucasus
Geographical Area: 
Shirak Plain
1,600.00 m

Lower part of the western and southern slopes of the hill of Surb Minas, 180 m above the plain.

R. Badalyan

Karnut I is located on the border between the Pambak Range and the Shirak Plain. The site was assigned to the Karnut-Shengavit group, 2900-2500 cal BC. Excavations revealed parts of four structures belonging to a single occupation layer. Three of the structures had round hearths; a horseshoe-shaped andiron with rams-head uprights was placed on one of the hearths.
The Pambak Ridge, east of Karnut I is characterized by volcanic and sedimentary rocks of the Pliocene-Miocene, granatoid intrusions and Late Cretaceous sedimentary formations. Shirak Plain is covered by Upper Pliocene-Pleistocene alluvial-proluvial, fluvial, lacustrine sediments and recent tuff and pebble formations.
The rich pottery repertoire from Karnut includes burnished bowls, goblets, jars, kraters and pithoi, as well as unburnished cooking wares: pots, skillets, andirons and fixed hearths. Decorations on the burnished wares were mainly incised before firing on smaller vessels, and incised before firing or embossed on larger vessels. The designs include complex combinations of spirals, zigzag lines and stylized animals. Slips are thick with a tendency to crack rather than peel. When burnished, the vessels are carefully treated, though more so on the exterior than on the interior. Smaller vessels are generally fired black on the outside and brown on the inside, with some variations; large vessels are red on their (unburnished) inside and black to light brown on the outside, and often have a mottled appearance. Cooking pots are crudely coiled and they have a smoothed—not burnished—slip on the exterior; the ware is brittle. Pans (large, flat, straight-sided cooking vessels) show somewhat more careful surface treatment, whereas andirons and hearths were slipped and polished.
A sample of 51 burnished vessels covering a range of types, three cooking vessels, seven andirons and one hearth was petrographically analyzed. Because potential raw materials from this site have not yet been sampled, the source of the clays is not certain

Noteworthy Non-pottery Finds: 
Round hearths; rams-head andirons.
Storage Location: 
History Museum of Armenia (Yerevan)

Badalyan and Avetisyan 2007: 136-149.

Iserlis et al. 2010

Regional Map: