Catherine Marro (CNRS, Laboratoire Archéorient, UMR 5133)
Veli Bakhshaliyev (Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences)
How Eveha Participates
During the 2015 field season, work focused on two sectors. The first of these was the interior of mine M9, where previously we had only been able to open a very small sondage. This year, a large area of the north gallery was excavated. This gallery appeared to display traces of the earliest activity in this extraction zone. Reinforcement of the ceiling was carried out for safety reasons, with the help of Nicole Boenke (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany). Excavations revealed wood fragments, including tool handles, and a few potsherds. The rich stratification enabled us to determine that extraction lasted a relatively short period of time, but was spread out over several seasons. The stratigraphy is largely comprised of compacted mining debris, which necessitated the use of a hammer drill during excavation!
Radiocarbon dating has shown that this extraction zone is not from the Kuro-Araxes period (circa 3,400-2,000 BC) as first thought, but is in fact more recent. It dates from the Iron Age, between 400 and 200 BC.
In addition, a new excavation was opened this year on the upper level of salt, which is still being extracted by the current mine. In this area, a large concentration of Kuro-Araxes material had been found during field survey from 2008 to 2011. At present, having excavated only a small area, we have found a limited number of remains, and the extraction face was not found. A few hearths were uncovered, along with a few pottery fragments, principally Iron Age in date. The study of this sector will continue next season (summer 2016).