Chronology for the Van Area During the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages the Urartu -a Search for the Origins of this State
Keywords: Late Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, Van Region Chronology, Urartians
The subject of this article is the culture of the Van Lake basin, during the second half of the second millenium B.C. Our main aim is to underline the relationship between the classical civilisation of the times of the Urartian Kingdom and these early cultures. The centres that we have studied for the purposes of writing this article are Ernis-Evditepe and the Aliler Fortress on the northern shores of Van Lake and Karagündüz on the shores of Erçek Lake. These three centres represent a single period of a single culture. The origins of these centres go as far back as the Early Transcaucasian Age and were very densely settled during the Early Iron Age (EIA). All three have a tribal cemetery. These cemeteries are characterised by chamber-tombs with or without entrance passages. Those without entrance passages are older and decorative iron objects and ceremonial weapons were first of all found in them. Ceramics similar to the red-polished ware of the Classical Urartian age were found in tombs with entrance passages. On this basis the Early Iron Age of the Van area could be subdivided into two parts: EIA I and EIA II. The beginning of EIA I goes as far back as the mid 13th century B.C. EIA II on the other hand could tentatively be placed between 1000 B.C. and 850/800 B.C. These two periods are different as a result of development from an archaeological point of view, but there is also continuity among them. The dynamics that gave rise to the Urartian State were inspired by the local traditions of the Van Lake basin. Elements like chamber-tombs with entrance passages, the act of cremation and maybe also fortified strongholds, which were alien to the region, may have been the result of immigration from lands to the south of this area.