Areni cave – a history of 5500 years

Where and how did people live 5500 years ago? Each of us at least once imagined this mysterious world. Travel-Armenia invites you to Armenia to visit one of the most ancient caves in the world – Areni Cave, or as it is also called the Cave of Birds.

In the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia, near the village of Areni, there is a massive cave complex. In one of them, archaeologists discovered several cultural layers. The earliest of them dates back to the 6th-5th millennium BC. BC, and the latest refers to the XII-XIV centuries. Areni Cave in ancient times was a settlement that was first mentioned in the 5th century AD. The settlement was a road military point and a junction that connected the Sharur plain with Vayots Dzor. It had trade links with various territories throughout the Middle East, evidence of this is four types of pottery found in the cave, and only one of them is considered to be locally produced ware. In ancient times, on the hills adjacent to the cave, there were a fortress and a castle, the ruins of which have survived to this day.

Since 2007, archaeological excavations have been carried out in the complex, as a result of which many objects have been found, such as a straw skirt from 3900 BC, ancient graves. The most interesting of these excavations were the oldest winery and the oldest women’s leather shoes.

The 6,100-year-old winery is a well-preserved tank 60 centimeters deep, along with a one meter long pool that was molded from clay. The winery consists of fermentation vats, wine press, storage jars and pottery pots. Grape seeds, the remains of pressed grapes, prunes, walnuts and dried vines were found near the winery.

Interesting Facts

Areni cave is located at an altitude of 1080 meters above sea level

the area is about 500 square meters, most of which has not yet been studied by archaeologists.

in the cave 3 large halls

since its discovery in 2008, Areni has been studied by more than 12 archaeological institutes from 9 countries of the world

The oldest women’s shoe

Areni Cave gained worldwide fame after the American National Geographic TV channel prepared a special report in 2010 dedicated to its unique historical treasure – the oldest surviving pair of shoes in human history, dating back to about 5500 BC. Due to the cool and dry conditions of the cave, the shoes did not lose their shape after thousands of years and were in excellent condition.

The Armenian shoe has found its place in the second best-selling book in the world – the Guinness Book of Records. Currently, the shoes are in the city of Yerevan, in the Museum of the History of Armenia. The author of the fateful find of world significance was the Armenian scientist Diana Zardaryan.

The length of the found shoes is 24.5, and the width is 7.6-10 cm, approximately 37 foot size, and they were worn on the right foot. Even the laces and holes for them with a diameter of 2-3 mm have been preserved. To determine the age of the artifact, straw and leather samples were sent to the institutes of California and Oxford for independent examination. The shoe has been officially declared the oldest leather shoe in the world. The artifact is several centuries older than the boots of the “Arctic traveler”, which were found in 1991 in the glaciers of Austria. Samples of ancient shoes found before that time were made of twine, and shoes from the Areni cave were made of processed leather. It also differs in production technology and style.

A shoe from the Areni cave is 400 years older than Stonehenge and almost a thousand pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Archaeological excavations continue, scientists are sure that the Areni cave keeps many secrets and new finds are yet to come.

Join our tour to Noravank and we will try to unravel the secrets of this cave together with you.