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An international workshop titled “Constructing Kurgans: Burial Mounds and Funerary Customs in the Caucasus, Northwestern Iran and Eastern Anatolia during the Bronze and Iron Age" was held in Florence jointly organized by the Center for Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies (CAMNES, Italy) and The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS, France) on March 29-30, 2018. The workshop was attended by archaeologists representing various research institutions from Azerbaijan, USA, Germany, Italy, France, England, Russia, Turkey and Georgia. Azerbaijan was represented at the event by the fellows of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of ANAS, Dr. Zaur Hasanov (the head of the "Antique Period Archaeology" department) and Dr. Bakhtiyar Jalilov (the head of "Archaeological Technology" sector).
Bakhtiyar Jalilov and Zaur Hasanov delivered their speeches in the corresponding panels, answered questions of the participants and participated in the discussions. Azerbaijani specialists have contributed to the international promotion and recognition of the cultural heritage and material culture samples found during archaeological excavations in Azerbaijan. The workshop was held in the context of high analytical enviroment and mutual exchange of views. Bakhtiyar Jalilov's speech titled "Two Kurgans of Azerbaijan: Interpretation of human remains from Uzun Rama" was devoted to the archaeological research carried out in the Uzun Rama kurgans (Goranboy district) belonging to the Early Bronze Age. Based on the example of this kurgan the speaker gave detailed information about the typological classification of the crypts located below mounds and burial customs of the Early Bronze Age kurgans found in Azerbaijan. The results of the archaeometric studies, presented in the report, including anthropological analysis of the human remains found in the kurgans were welcomed by the European experts with great interest. After the speech, extensive discussion was held on the early Kurgan cultures of the Caucasus and ancient cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.
Zaur Hasanov's speech entitled "Two different funerary customs in the Kurgans of the Eastern part of the South Caucasus in the Early Iron Age" was dedicated to the kurgans of Azerbaijan, where the Scythian and Saka funerary customs were registered. The speaker presented data that shows direct parallels between the funerary rites and some artifacts of “Small” (Malyi) Kurgan in Aghjabadi and Mingachevir kurgans with the Scythian kurgans of the Northern Black sea region. On the other hand three Large Earth Mound kurgans of the Khojaly burial ground have direct funerary rite (and artifacts) parallels with the Saka kurgans of the Aral sea region. The presentation of Zaur Hasanov awoke interest of the participants, who pointed to the importance of this problem for the archaeology of the region. The speaker answered the questions of participants from the US, Germany and Italy. As a result an interesting discussion on the Scythian problem in the South Caucasus started.
After the workshop a meeting of the “Azerbaijani–Italian Archeological Expedition” took place (the members of the expedition are from Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, and Azerbaijan). Bakhtiyar Jalilov and Zaur Hasanov represented Azerbaijan at the meeting. During the meeting, issues of mutual cooperation and future research plans were discussed. At the end of the discussions the participants decided to start joint archaeological investigation of the kurgans of Azerbaijan in June of 2018. The samples that will be taken from archaeological sites are going to be analyzed in the world's leading laboratories and the scientific results will be jointly presented by participants for publications to a number of reputable journals specializing in the corresponding areas.