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Ancient Christian settlement discovered in Dagestan

Source: www.pravoslavie.ru

Makhachkala, October 14, 2013

In the locality of Ortakolo near the village of Gotsatl of the Hunzakh district in the republic of Dagestan, excavations of an ancient settlement are continuing, reports Pravoslavie v Dagestane (“Orthodoxy in Dagestan”).

The leader of the Gotsatl Joint Expedition of the Academy of Sciences of Russia and Dagestan Zarina Albegova talked about the excavation results at a meeting with the head of the administration of the Hunzakh district Said Yusupov.

According to Z. Albegova, the Christian settlement was formed around the 10th-12th centuries. At the excavation area domestic utensils made mainly of clay, graves, and tombstones were discovered. An ornament on the stones corresponds to the mentioned period. The structures are mostly two stories high, the walls are about one meter thick; each story is 180 centimeters high. The deceased were buried in inaccessible sites that where unfit for agriculture, while small children were buried just under doorsteps of their homes.

As the head of the archaeological expedition said, the soil here is very fertile; and most remarkably, it was specially brought to Gotsatl—several million cubic meters of it. Along the perimeter of the settlement measuring approximately six kilometers long and four kilometers wide, a rampart (defensive wall) was built. It had a population of about 400 people.

The members of the expedition consider that the main reason why the settlement was abandoned was a fire—natural or arson. The fact that the people abandoned the site themselves is evidenced by an absence at the excavation area of iron instrument or other metal works.

After a careful examination, all the discovered exhibits will be given to the Dagestani and Hunzakh museums for preservation. The leader of the exhibition noted with regret that the excellent cultural monument will sink to the bottom of the reservoir of the Gotsatl hydroelectric power station (currently under construction) and will be lost.


Other ancient Christian settlements in North Caucasus: Lower-Arkhyz churchesShoana temple, Sentinsky temple.