The Naxçıvan Archaeological Project

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Welcome to the Naxçıvan Archaeological Project, the first ever joint American-Azerbaijani program of surveys and excavations.  Since 2006, Lauren Ristvet (University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Vəli Baxşəliyev (Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Naxçıvan) and Dr. Səfər Aşurov (Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Baku), along with their colleagues and students have investigated the long term history of this fascinating region.  The Naxçıvan Autonomous Republic is part of Azerbaijan, but is separated geographically from the rest of the country, bordered on the south and west by Iran and Turkey (the Araxes/Aras River marks the boundary) and on the north and east by Armenia.  This region is 5,363 km² (2070 square miles) making it roughly the size of Delaware.  Naxçivan's position on the north-eastern frontier of Greater Mesopotamia makes it an ideal place to study the interaction of steppe/nomadic societies, indigenous village societies and external empires (particularly Urartu and Achaemenid Persia).  We are also interested in investigating the nature of political complexity in the Caucasus, as an important counterpoint to the better known political trajectories of Mesopotamia, Iran and the Levant. 


Here you can find information about the 2006 survey and soundings at the Early Bronze Age (Kura-Araxes) sites of Kültepe 2 and Maxta 1 and the 2008 excavations at the Iron Age fortress of Oğlanqala, download publications in Azerbaijani, English and Russian, and discover how you can contribute to our exciting work in Naxçıvan. 

Funding for the Naxçıvan Archaeological Project has been provided by a research initiation grant from Georgia State University and NSF Grant #0836388.