Keywords: Ani,excavation,treasure,customs,tax,the Mongolians,made of pure gold


This article mainly brings in thus far untouched information about the plans and functions of the customs buildings in medieval bazaars. Concurrently the ornamented gold pieces found in this building are showing different gold craftsmanship and styles of several cultures, giving the idea about the jewelery art in a broad geographical area from China to Anatolia and Byzantium is presented. Also how these pieces of jewelry of various periods had come together and why they had been in this building, along with socio-economic conditions of Ani under the Mongolian rule, the money and tax policy of the Mongols and the ruling system of the state are discussed. Depending on the information from the historical sources, it is supposed that these jewelery were sent to the ruler, from caliph or sultan as gift and/or as indication of sovereignty. The excavation of a ruin with two domes placed on pandantives at 42 km east of Kars and 250 m west of the Ani citadel, revealed a circular piece of wall, which seems as an oven with its stones burned, in 2002. With its convex shaped top like a dome, under one of the ground stones of this oven, a small terracotta jar with broken mouth came out, hiding a treasure of 2 bracelets, 2 belt buckles and a complete belt. Although there is no attributable knowledge referring to the date and the function of the building, it is not hard to date such buildings in Ani. They can be dated with reference to already dated buildings, with certain criteria like the comparison of the construction system, sizes of the stones, types of the wall material..etc. The excavation ended up with four rooms next to each other opening to a 1,5 m wide courtyard. Taking into consideration that such bazaars are located right outside the fortress during the Middle Age, this structure appears to be an official building used by customs officials, who examine, measure and stamp the traded goods. The bracelets and each pair of the belt buckles expose quite different craftsmanship and decoration, thus of course, it is really hard to clarify why they were put together, the reason of their presence and relevance to the building, to whom they used to belong and the dating. The building and the jewelry are tried to be dated according to their styles and the comparisons to similar findings, while simultaneously the function of the building, how these jewelry have been collected and hidden are discussed.