Following his visit to Armenia, Jacques de Morgan was awarded another grant from the Ministry for Public Education to explore a region at the junction between the Ottoman, Russian and Persian empires. His journey began in Lankaran, in present-day Azerbaijan, in 1889.

Archaeological map

As he travelled across Lankaran, Morgan identified archaeological sites noteworthy for their frequency and the artefacts they contained. Most were mountain necropolises. His findings prompted him to create an archaeological map of the entire region.

Archaeological map of Lankaran drawn up by Jacques de Morgan.

Archaeological map of Lankaran drawn up by Jacques de Morgan

Burial research

When he excavated graves, Morgan described their structure and often drew them in two stages: before and after the excavation. Although the bones were usually in a poor state of conservation, he attempted to calculate the number of people who may have been buried in the graves. He illustrated his book with section and plan drawings of some of the burials. Although far from exhaustive, as typical examples they offer an insight into the various burial methods.

This section and plan drawing published by Jacques de Morgan, made before and after the excavation, was used to illustrate his observations on burial structures.

The inhabitants of Lankoran

Jacques de Morgan placed his discoveries within a broader historical context. He believed the tombs he was excavating contained the remains of a population contemporary with the Medes, and sought to compare the two neighbouring groups. The inhabitants of Lankaran, unlike the Medes, did not appear to have a writing system and their habits and attitudes were fashioned by the mountains. Morgan did note, however, the technically advanced quality of their metalworking skills.

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