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Urartian Metal Artifacts: an Archaeological Review

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

Metal artifacts constitute the main component of the cultural material known from the ancient state of Urartu. The great majority of these artifacts available to archaeologists for cultural analysis derives from plundered sites, which proveniences, whether from sites in modern Turkey, Armenia, or northwestern Iran, are unknown. In fact, only a minority was obtained from excavations at known sites and tombs. At the same time there is a large quantity of publications on Urartian metal artifacts, most of which are in museums and private collections in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Most of the publications, many by museum personnel, ignore the reality of the lack of provenience and present subjective conclusions regarding provenience and interpretation. This paper discusses the consequences of the non-archaeological methodology of these publications, the nature of which many archaeologists remain unaware, and how this behavior has interfered with achieving an accurate knowledge of Urartian culture.


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