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Ararat Plain Southeast Archaeological Project (APSAP)

Prof. Peter J. Cobb directs the Ararat Plain Southeast Archaeological Project (APSAP), surveying and excavating sites on the southeastern edge of the Armenian Araxes River Valley. The project explores the movement of people through the landscape and human occupation of the area, with particular focus on the transition from Bronze to Iron Age as well as the Medieval period in the region. The project’s main excavation is of the Late Bronze and Iron Age (1500–800 BCE) site of Vedi Fortress, located near the village of Dashtakar in Armenia. Work at the site, which is in a defensive position at the entrance to the valley and in view of Mount Ararat, has discovered traces of fortress walls, pottery fragments, bones, and charcoal deposits of medieval and earlier settlements.


APSAP is supported by the University of Hong Kong, where Prof. Cobb is Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities, Faculty of Arts, and deputy director of the BA(HDT) programme. The collaborators are Boris Gasparyan and Artur Petrosyan of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography at the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. The project coordinator is Hayk Azizbekyan, PhD student at the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Elvan Cobb of the Hong Kong Baptist University, Department of History, is assistant director.


The project was initiated in 2019 with the survey and excavation of various sites around Vedi, Armenia, focusing on topography, residential features, vegetation, climate, and community networks. 2022 saw the first full season of excavation at the Vedi Fortress, with a second season completed in 2023.  Students from HKU can join the excavation through a summer course. APSAP’s fieldwork focuses on past mobilities, ceramics, and landscapes. It also encompasses the refinement of digital recording technologies for survey and excavation with the goal to further data analysis and dissemination of information in open digital formats to the public. The project incorporates big data practices in archaeology and bring together specialists and volunteers with backgrounds as different as architecture, computer science, archaeology, history, digital media, and public engagement.

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