Azerbaijani-Led Excavations in Tigranakert: An Overview
On September 20, 2023, Natik Alishov, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of Azerbaijan, shared images on his Facebook page depicting ongoing earthworks in the vicinity of the Royal Springs of Tigranakert, Artsakh. The photographs specifically highlight the area adjacent to the mosque constructed by Panah Khan to the south. The excavation efforts have revealed sections of the wall adorned with medium-sized rough stones. In the comments section, the Azerbaijani archaeologist mentions that they have been conducting these excavations in the area since August 23, 2023. (https://www.facebook.com/natiq.alishov.5/posts/pfbid02oxWbVyYhbJLYWAZ246tWLkPGJ6Deu8RBv9PuhN5RjruPQrxxCR8sUnujtg9HsbnTl).
It's noteworthy that since 2021, the Azerbaijani authorities have consistently announced plans for archaeological activities in the territories they consider "liberated from Armenian occupation." The recent excavation at Tigranakert, as shared by the Azerbaijani archaeologist on August 23, 2023, marks the first documented instance of such archaeological efforts by Azerbaijan on this historical site. “Excavations” have commenced in the vicinity of the Royal Springs, situated adjacent to the 18th-century mosque. Interestingly, a section of the wall has been opened during these excavations, a wall that was previously investigated by the Tigranakert expedition in 2011.
This newly opened section pertains to the retaining wall of the cemetery adjacent to the mosque. Notably, excavations in 2011 in the Royal Springs area unearthed significant findings, including the revelation of the pond in front of the mosque and the ribbon-shaped foundations of a rock-cut structure. This structure bears a resemblance to the fortifications of the Fortified Quarter, as depicted in the attached picture.