The Birds’ /Areni-1/ cave
The cave is located at the estuary of the Arpa river’s Gnishik stream – 30 meters above Arpa. Its entrance is partially shielded with big stones. The cave is a complex of several chambers, the summary length of which makes approximately 250m. It belongs to the class of clastocarstic caves since it originated in limestone conglomerates.
Archeological digs have been conducted in the Birds’ cave since 2007. As a result many findings dated 4200-3500 B.C. were discovered nearby the cave, at the entrance and inside it. The findings include plant residues, crockery, grape and apricot kernels, tissues made of reed, female skulls, mummified body part of a goat, etc. Yet the most prominent findings of the cave are the world’s oldest leather shoe and wine producing complex. The shoe has an oval shape and is made from a single piece of cowhide. It is laced along seams at the front and back, with a leather cord. The length of the shoe is 24.5cm, which corresponds to modern size 7 (U.S.). Radiocarbon analysis showed that the shoe is as old as 5637-5387 years. It is now displayed at the State History Museum of Armenia.
A load for trampling grapes, jugs for oxidation and bowls as old as 6000 years were also found in the cave. According to research there is no other place on Earth except Areni where a wine production complex like this has been found. The digs continue in the cave.