Prof. Pavel Dolukhanov and colleagues conducted test excavations in 2004 and in 2005 in Peshcka. Unfortunately, Prof. Dolukhanov passed away in 2007 and since then the research in the cave was halted. 1600 artifacts were retrieved from six strata. In the initial publication (Dolukhanov et al. 2004) the typo technological affinities of the lithic analysis suggested presence of both Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic (=Mesolithic) assemblages. All material retrieved from the cave is housed in the State Museum of History, Yerevan, Armenia.
In July 2013, I travelled with a small team from The University of Tulsa to Armenia to explore the research potential of Peshcka together in a joint American – Armenian excavation. We conducted preliminary excavations under the directorship Prof. Hayk Avestisyan, chair of the department of Archaeology from Yerevan State University (YSU), who held the permit for the excavation with Dr. Ruzan Mkrtchyan from YSU. During the study, Ms. Hasmik Simonyan, a graduate student of Prof. Hayk Avestisyan, joined us to study Paleolithic excavation and analysis methods.
Preliminary results from the 2013 season at Peshcka, point to the potential of the site and provide evidence for a stratified Middle Paleolithic-Upper Paleolithic site in the region. During our excavation, we excavated a 1x1m excavation. We identified four strata of which two were undistributed Paleolithic strata.
Layer A and B were mixed layers which included both upper and middle Paleolithic material as well as modern glass and ceramics.
Layer C included an undisturbed lithic assemblage that was identified as Upper Paleolithic. Tools from the Upper Paleolithic assemblage included all elements from the reduction stream. While there were very few pieces examined that exhibited formal retouch, many of them did contain cutting and scraping use wear. The assemblage was heavily dominated by obsidian, but also included some basalt, jasper, and flint. The preliminary analyses indicate that the chain opératoire is very similar to the Upper Paleolithic of the Southern Caucuses as presented in the sites in Southern Georgia (Adler et al. 2008; Bar-Yosef et al. 2011).
A smaller in situ assemblage was retrieved from stratum D and was identified to the Middle Paleolithic. The assemblage was made from basalt. The small sample of tools was unfortunately was non-diagnostic.
- Belmaker, M., Bridge, C., Bell, C., and Simonyan, H. (2014). Preliminary results from the renewed excavations from Peshcka Cave: A stratified Middle and Upper Paleolithic Cave in the Lori Plateau. Paleoanthropology Society Meeting Abstracts, Calgary, Canada, 8-9 April 2014 PaleoAnthropology 2014:A2