Evidence for Middle Palaeolithic occupation and landscape change in central Armenia at the open-Air site of Alapars-1

Ariel Malinsky-Buller*, Phil Glauberman, Keith Wilkinson, Bo Li, Ellery Frahm, Boris Gasparyan, Rhys Timms, Daniel S. Adler, Jennifer Sherriff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Here we report the findings from excavations at the open-Air Middle Palaeolithic site of Alapars-1 in central Armenia. Three stratified Palaeolithic artefact assemblages were found within a 6-m-Thick alluvial-Aeolian sequence, located on the flanks of an obsidian-bearing lava dome. Combined sedimentological and chronological analyses reveal three phases of sedimentation and soil development. During Marine Oxygen Isotope Stages 5-3, the manner of deposition changes from alluvial to aeolian, with a development of soil horizons. Techno-Typological analysis and geochemical sourcing of the obsidian artefacts reveal differential discard patterns, source exploitation, and artefact densities within strata, suggesting variability in technological organization during the Middle Palaeolithic. Taken together, these results indicate changes in hominin occupation patterns from ephemeral to more persistent in relation to landscape dynamics during the last interglacial and glacial periods in central Armenia.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)223-247
Number of pages25
JournalQuaternary Research
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Pavel Avetisyan, Director of the Institute for Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia, for his continued support of our research. We also thank Suren Kesejyan, Hovik Partevyan, Artur Petrosyan, Avetis Grigoryan, Samvel Nahapetyan, and the University of Connecticut students who worked at the site. – were drawn and photographed by Garik Prevyan and Dmitri Arakelyan. We also wish to thank Karen Bayramyan, Head of the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture Agency for the Kotayk and Gegharkunik Provinces, the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Armenia, for his assistance during the fieldwork activities. AMB wishes to thank the Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The excavations and analyses were funded by the Leverhulme Trust (Grant RPG-2016-102), the University of Winchester, and the University of Connecticut's Norian Armenian Programs Committee and the Gfoeller Renaissance Foundation, USA. We are grateful to the editors and anonymous reviewers who provided invaluable suggestions that greatly improved the quality of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020.


  • Armenian highland
  • Hrazdan-Kotayk Plateau
  • Landscape dynamics
  • Middle Palaeolithic
  • Open-Air sites
  • Palaeolithic
  • Republic of Armenia


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