First specimen unearthed in one piece in 2,700-year-old Urartu castle
An intact bronze wall plate was unearthed by archeologists in excavations at Ayanis Castle, built on orders by the Urartian King Rusa II in the 7th century B.C.
Archeologist Mehmet Isikli, the director of the excavation and restoration work that has been going for three decades now, said that the finding was particularly exciting as it was the only specimen of its kind that has been unearthed in one piece, unlike fragments that had been found on previous occasions.
The excavations at the site that overlooks the Lake Van, has revealed parts of the grandest Urartian structures found so far with mud-brick walls and stone engravings dating back 2,700 years.
Noting that his team encountered very surprising findings at this part of the castle dig site, Isikli said:
"There are rows of interconnected room groups (...) Many findings, particularly ceramics, were uncovered in the rooms. Numerous groups of wooden structures were found. These provide us with important information on the details of the architecture, but we haven't yet determined what they were used for."
The bronze plate was likely used for architectural ornamentation, he added.
Urartu is a geographical region that gave its name to the Iron Age kingdom also known as the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands.
The kingdom rose to power in the mid 9th century BC, but went into gradual decline and was eventually conquered by the Iranian Medes in the early 6th century BC.
Since its re-discovery in the 19th century, Urartu is believed to have been home to an at least partially Armenian-speaking people.