This Week in Armenian History

Death of Sedrak Barkhudarian (May 8, 1970)

Sedrak Barkhudarian is regarded as one of the pioneering Armenian epigraphists.  

He was born on March 21, 1898, in Haftvan (Iran). He studied at the Nersessian Lyceum of Tiflis (Tbilisi) and graduated from the Faculty of History and Literature of Yerevan State University in 1928. He led archaeological campaigns in 1932-1937 as a researcher at the State Museum of History of Armenia. His discovery of Urartian inscriptions in the Lake Sevan area (Gegharkunik) became the basis for the valuable monograph The Country of Velikuhi (1933). Two years later, he published the book The Classes of Antiquities in Soviet Armenia and the Importance of the Their Conservation, a first of its kind. 

However, like so many of his generation, Barkhudarian was a victim of the Stalin purges. He was exiled to Siberia between 1937 and 1948, and shortly after his return to Yerevan he received the “suggestion” to move out of Armenia. He settled in Abkhazia, where he wrote the stories of his exile time, which have remained unpublished. 

After the death of Stalin, he returned to Armenia and in 1954 he started working at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences. He defended his doctoral dissertation in 1957. He founded the division of Epigraphy at the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy in 1960, publishing his monograph Armenian Medieval Architects and Stone Masters in 1963. He compiled volumes 2 to 5 of the seminal series Archives of Armenian Epigraphy, and edited volume 1, authored by historian Hovsep Orbeli, which contained the inscriptions of Ani and was published in 1966. The second and third volumes were published in 1960 (Siunik) and 1967 (Vayots Dzor), and the last two appeared posthumously. The fourth volume (1973) was devoted to the monuments of Gegharkunik, Vardenis, Martuni, and Kamo (nowadays Gavar), and the fifth and final volume was about Artsakh. Barkhudarian published a total of 3,852 inscriptions in the four volumes.  

The prolific historian, who was also the author of important articles about Armenian medieval history, passed away on May 8, 1970, in Yerevan.