The Vayots Dzor province of Armenia, a high-alpine region known today for its wine production and spectacular vistas, is the home of our archaeological project.
The project studies networks of fortresses and other related features like signaling towers and waystations. By the end of the second millennium BCE, the region was an important conduit for regional travel and was already heavily fortified. The valley was later annexed by the Urartian empire (ca. 9th to 7th c. BCE) since its road led north to valuable imperial assets near Lake Sevan. The study area also witnessed a resurgence in fortification during the high medieval period in the 13th and 14th centuries. In sum, fortress architecture became an important part of the landscape starting in the Late Bronze Age, and continued to be adopted by the inhabitants of the valleys of the region well into the medieval period.
Fortresses, both theoretically and physically, are situated at the nexus of trade, communication, mobility and defense. It was towards understanding the historically contingent reasons that people constructed fortress landscapes that the VDFLP was born.
To accomplish our research goals, the project employs a variety of geospatial technologies and scientific methodologies as a part of our digital humanities research model.