Mentesh Tepe

© Mission archéologique de Mentesh Tepe

Éveha International is involved in a project directed by Bertille Lyonnet (CNRS, Paris), which takes place at Mentesh Tepe in Azerbaïdjan.

The excavation campaigns
(by years)


Bertille Lyonnet (CNRS, Paris)

Fahrad Guliyev (Baku Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology)


Location and historical summary


The site of Mentesh Tepe is located in north-western Azerbaijan, in the present-day Tovuz district.

The site’s long sequence of occupation makes it exceptional. The earliest remains date from the Neolithic (first half of the 6th millennium BC) while the most recent material has been dated to the Bronze Age. Such a long time-span is unique in the region, although there appears to be a hiatus during the 4th millennium.

Evidence from the earliest phases of the site includes a settlement comprised of circular buildings built using mud bricks or pisé (rammed earth). Most remarkable, however, are the several individual burials and one communal burial found dating from the Neolithic, The communal burial has been dated to around 5700-5600 BC and is the only one of its kind currently known in the Caucasus.

The site continues to be occupied during the Chalcolithic period, which is characterised by the transition from circular to rectangular structures.

Evidence of later occupation includes a group of pits dating from the Kura-Araxes period (3400-2000 BC) whose function has not yet been determined. A kurgan (Russian word meaning tumulus) containing several burials dates from the same period. A second funerary monument of the same type is also likely to be from this period, but a precise date has yet to be established.

The Late Bronze Age is attested by a series of individual burials.

The whole of the site – settlement, pits and burials – revealed abundant archaeological material, the analysis of which is ongoing.


History of research

One of the kurgans at Mentesh Tepe was recorded during a survey which took place during the 1960s, before subsequently being partly destroyed. Excavation of the structure in 2007 led to the establishment of an annual research programme, starting in 2008. The French side of the project is directed by Bertille Lyonnet (CNRS) and is supported by the ANR, as part of the Franco-German project ‘Kura in Motion!’ The research programme is in collaboration with the Baku Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, of which Fahrad Guliyev is the co-director.

How Eveha International Participates



CNRS (France)

Baku Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (Azerbaïdjan)

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Inrap (France)


Bertille Lyonnet, Laure Pecqueur, Pascal Raymond, Anaïck Samzun — L’archéologie préventive française, support et modèle pour la formation archéologique en Azerbaïdjan : l’exemple du site de Mentesh-Tépé. Archéopages [En ligne]. Octobre 2010, Hors-série n°2. Mis en ligne le 07/01/2014 [Consultation du 20/05/2015], pp. 72-79.