Hand Augering among the Carved Rocks at Ughtasar
unable to find lakes or pools which are not too rocky within the main part of the study area. As they are both the only specialists in Armenia in their respective fields, Samvel and Roman are very much in demand and both had to hurry away to meet other fieldwork commitments. But the augers were not allowed to lie idle! Next day we set off for the northern approach and augered to a depth of 34 cm and again to a depth of 30cms close to Rock 946 which lies above a rocky stream which descends into the plain below the caldera. We retained the sample, carefully wrapped in foil and cling film. Our next two samples were extracted from an area close to and within the remains of a possible tented camp. Here we augered to a depth of 40cms in short turf. We are hopeful that organic material may be found in the samples we retained. Next we chose one of the stone-walled animal enclosures that look quite promising with their lush vegetation due to animal dung, but the soils are shallow and soon the auger struck rock. We eagerly await Samvel’s and Roman’s examination of the samples we acquired – the flotation bucket is ready for the soil samples in the hope that they will be deemed to be useful! The augers will remain in Armenia for the future use of the project and for the use of environmental archaeologists. Samvel explained that usually international projects take their equipment home at the completion of the fieldwork season so he is absolutely delighted that he and his colleagues will be able to carry on using the equipment during the year and for many years to come. We are extremely grateful to Vincent Van Walt for his great generosity, kindness and invaluable help and advice in enabling the Ughtasar Rock Art Project to gain much needed palaeo- environmental information. Our grateful thanks also go to Professor Pavel Avetisyan, Director of the Institute of Archaeology & Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia and Professor Dominic Powlesland, Director of the Landscape Research Centre, UK and not least to our enthusiastic team members without whom there would be no project!
micro-morphology testing or OSL or AMS dating in the laboratory in Armenia, the samples will be taken back to UK on my return in early September. We will report back as soon as any results are obtained. Please watch this space! Samvel and Roman have promised to return to site with the augers next summer. They are confident that within the area surrounding the caldera they will find suitable boggy lakes for sediment sampling with the augers as they were
Tina Walkling & Anna Khechoyan, Ughtasar Rock Art Project
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