Wednesday May 27th
h. 19:00-21:00

Zoom (preliminary registration is required) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdiZmN5sbUPJLdH_XPfMZWRto9JMyU0RIR4tqsxJFfrpB4IWw/viewform?usp=sf_link

On 21st of May, 2020 the Government of the Republic of Armenia approved the support for the research and preservation of Ererouyk basilica (6th c.) and for the creation of a little museum in Anipemza, to be provided through the Service for the Protection of Historical Environment and Cultural Museum-Reservations. On this occasion, the Regional Center for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection – ROCHEMP – hosts a webinar on 27th of May at 19:00 Yerevan time, about the history of Ereruyk basilica and archaeological site. The webinar will be led by Dr. Patrick Donabédian, Associate Professor of Armenian Studies at the Université d’Aix-Marseille (Aix-en-Provence, France), who from 2009 to 2016 was the Director of the multidisciplinary archaeological investigation of Ererouyk basilica and archaeological site conducted by the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Médiévale et Moderne en Méditerranée (LA3M – AMU – CNRS) .

The webinar will be held in English in the ambit of the training course “ROCHEMP2020: training for cultural heritage experts” organized by ROCHEMP Center in the ambit of an international cooperation project co-financed by the Italian Agency for Cooperation Development (AICS), the Alma mater Studiorum of Bologna University and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia.

Free access upon registration. The link to Zoom will be sent to the all registered participants.


Patrick Donabédian

LA3M, UMR 7298, AMU/CNRS, Aix-en-Provence

The early Christian and medieval site of Ereruyk is located at the northwestern extremity of the current Republic of Armenia, on its border with present-day Turkey, a few kilometers from the remains of the medieval capital Ani. From 2009 to 2016 a French-Armenian archaeological team led by the LA3M laboratory of Aix-Marseille University (France) has submitted this site to detailed, multidisciplinary investigations.
The site contains the vestiges of several constructions among which the most impressive are the ruins of an undated, but obviously early Christian basilica, with unusual features. Its study led to revisit Armenian-Syriac relations in the early Christian period and to deepen our knowledge of “memorial” sanctuaries. The survey also concerned the dating of the basilica, its architecture, carved decor, its place in early Christian Armenia, as well as the hypothesis of a pre-Christian stratum. Most of the other components of the Ereruyk ensemble raise difficult questions relating both to their function and their dating. The site poses also more general questions concerning the nature of the complex and the reasons for its location, in a place nowadays particularly deprived, as well as several enigmas that appeared during the investigations. The multidisciplinary team set up by the LA3M of Aix-en-Provence and the Regional Museum of Shirak (the province where the site is located) strived to provide answers at least to some of these questions.
After the discovery, near the church, of a cemetery and a memorial area, the mission began to clear a field that until then was very marginal and even taboo in medieval Armenian archeology, that of funerary archeology. The detailed archaeological and anthropological study of more than seventy graves, and 29 dates obtained thanks to radiocarbon analysis of human bones, gave a first picture of the long evolution of a Christian cemetery in Armenia, from late Antiquity to almost today. A geomorphological analysis of a seasonal stream bordering the site was also conducted to try to better understand the place of this “wadi” in the past life of the complex. This was done in parallel with the study of ruined architectural structures located within its bed. All this allowed to reconsider the relations that Ereruyk necessarily had, around the year 1000, with the neighboring town of Ani.
The lecture will review the results achieved by the mission, the questions raised by its investigations, some answers that have been found, as well as the enigmas that still remain to be elucidated.

Patrick Donabédian
Born in Tunis (Tunisia) in 1953, Patrick Donabédian received his first training in Slavic languages, especially Russian, and in art history at the University of Provence (1970-74). Then he studied Armenian language, art history and architecture at the University of Yerevan, Armenia (1975-80). He obtained two doctorates in art history, one at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg (1981), the other at Paris-X-Nanterre University (1986). In 2004, he had an accreditation to direct research (HDR) in Armenology / art history at the University of Montpellier III. For more than forty years he studied with passion and professionalism the medieval art of Armenia and Georgia with a particular focus on architecture and decoration. In parallel to his scientific work, from 1992 to 2006, he served French diplomacy as a cultural advisor in Eastern Europe, notably in Armenia (1992-1996), before returning to the university sphere in 2006. Since that date, he has been in charge of the Armenian Studies Section at the University of Aix-Marseille (AMU), and a researcher at the Laboratory of Medieval and Modern Archeology in the Mediterranean (LA3M, AMU / CNRS). From 2009 to 2016, he led the Franco-Armenian archaeological mission of LA3M in Ererouyk (Armenia). P. Donabédian is the author or co-author of ten books, including Les arts arméniens (with J.-M. Thierry), Paris, 1987 (Prix 1988 de l’Académie française) and L’Age d’or de l’architecture Arménienne. 7th century, Marseille, 2008 (2008 Prize from the Institut de France – Academy of Fine Arts). He has published over two hundred scientific articles in specialized journals and collections. He is author of the book EREROUYK – UN SITE ARCHÉOLOGIQUE MAJEUR, HAUT LIEU DE L’ARMÉNIE CHRÉTIENNE (in French and Armenian language) that will be soon available in Yerevan (ed. Sarguis Khatchents, PRINTINFO).

Some additional information
In 2016, the archaeological site of ERERUYK and the near village of ANIPEMZA have been inserted in the prestigious list of the 7 MOST ENDANGERED sites of Europe thanks to the nomination submitted by the Centro Studi e Documentazione della Cultura Armena (CSDCA), an association that since 1970 is supporting local experts and stakeholders in the implementation of different actions aimed to the safeguard and enhancement of Armenian cultural heritage. In May 21st 2020 the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Armenia deliberated to support the preservation of the basilica and the of little mausoleum of Ererouyk and the creation of a little museum in the House of Culture of the village of Anipemza.

The 7 Most Endangered programme identifies the most significant and threatened monuments, sites and landscapes in Europe and mobilises public and private partners at all levels to find a viable future for these heritage gems. It was launched in 2013 by Europa Nostra with the European Investment Bank Institute as founding partner and the Council of Europe Development Bank as associated partner. It has received the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union since 2014, as part of Europa Nostra’s network project ‘Mainstreaming Heritage’. See: http://www.europanostra.org/europe-7-most-endangered-heritage-sites-2016-announced/

©The photos of Ereruyk are by the photographer Tigran Hayrapetyan


    Wednesday May 27th
    h. 19:00-21:00
    Zoom (preliminary registration is required )

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