Astghik A. Babajanyan, Artavazd S. Zaqyan

The complex of Selim caravanserai was built in 1332 by prince Chesar Orbelyan according to the bilingual inscription. It consists of the main three-nave hall, the antechamber and the building adjacent to the antechamber.

In 2012 the joint expedition group of the Institute of archaeology and ethnography NAS RA and “The Service for the protection Historical Environment and Cultural Museums Reservation” Non Commercial State Organization of the RA Ministry of Culture carried out excavations in the territory of the Selim caravanserai. The aim of the excavations was to ascertain the functional role of the building adjecent to the east of antechamber as well as to check the durability of building foundation.

The excavations disproved the identity of the adjacent building as a chapel (which had been known in extant literature), and likewise disproved the presence of the door in the south side as it was marked in past measurements. The entry was found in the west side of the building, which is connected with the antechamber.

The majority of the found artifacts are pottery of the XIII-XIV c. which has parallels in ceramic production of simultaneous monuments of Armenia. A collection of metal artifacts was found, consisting of a large needle, fragments of a door lock, shoes for oxen and stone working tools, as well as a fragment of an obsidian knife blade.

As the results of excavations several versions were raised regarding the functional meaning of the adjacent building (refectory, staff apartments, hall for commercial exchanges, guardhouse) which will be supported or contradicted by further excavations. The new excavations revealed various previously unknown facts, enriching the historical-cultural description of the Selim caravanserai.

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