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The More We Experience, the More We can Enrich Our Studies

The main purpose of my research in this summer was to visit some sites and to confirm the location of reliefs and the current situation of the sites, and to take higher quality photos for my thesis. The methodology of my research is divided into two phases: first is the field research in the sites such as churches and monasteries; the second is the laboratory works in museum and library to get supplemental information. I stayed in Armenia for 17 days (31 August to 16 September), and the first ten days were allocated for the field research and the latter for laboratory work.

I visited the three regions, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, and Vayots Dzor and 32 sites in the first half of the research, 1-9 September. In each site, I focused on taking photos and field notes. The notes were about the following subjects: the location of reliefs and some other findings such as inscriptions and graffiti; the details of ornaments which are difficult to look at by photos, and occasionally I needed to make illustrations; the idea how the ornamental reliefs can impress visitors (for example, how large do I feel this relief); the current situation of the sites and their surroundings; the information from the locals by interview; and measure the plans of the sites.

These memoranda contribute both to the ideas of my master thesis and the catalogue of churches as the appendix of the thesis to tell the current condition of each church. The conversation with local people is especially one of the important research sources, which I cannot obtain without visiting sites. At this time, I fortunately met some locals who just visited the churches or worked in the reconstruction. Although we have to identify whether their stories are true or not, the information is valuable material to know how the locals understand their heritages, and how the cultural heritages should be managed.

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In the second half of the research, I organized the data and wrote a part of the thesis, and went to History Museum of Armenia, Genocide Museum, and the city library in Yerevan. In the history museum, I focused on the section of the Christianity of Armenia to the Modern Armenia, and collected some information from the exhibits. I also collected information (mainly concerning to the churches constructed in the 7th century) in the city library. Although I was not able to get a book, which I have been looking for in the last research of last March, I found some interesting old books, from the viewpoint of how Armenians have treated their heritages and what they are interested in. In addition, it was the first time to visit the Genocide Museum. I visited there for my interest in the current situation of Armenia. Especially I'd like to focus on the future the relationship of the artistic motifs between the current architectures and the churches in the Middle Ages, because they have similar motifs to each other. And I'm also interested in how the tradition has been inherited and how the motifs have been selected. Therefore, I had to know the pre-modern and the modern history of Armenia, and I believe Armenian Genocide is one of the important events to learn. In addition, it is also the reason for my visiting the museum that I'd like to see and compare the actual situation of each famous museum in Armenia. Although I've only been to History Museum of Armenia (Yerevan), Alexander Tamanyan Museum (Architecture Museum in Yerevan), Etchmiadzin Cathedral Museum, Zvartnots Archaeological Museum (Armavir), Momik Museum (Vayots Dzor), and Gladzor University Museum (St. Hakov Church in Vayots Dzor), they appear to lack the aggressive appealing for visitors to their exhibitions, compared to Genocide Museum, which was much better quality. This museum seems to succeed in attracting the visitors to the exhibits and explanations, due to using some effective ways such as the sounds, the lighting, the movies or photographs, and the utilization of the space.

What surprised me during this research was that I found new interesting alternative points even from the sites I visited before. In addition, I noticed several fresh subjects such as site management, tourism, and surrounding situations, which didn't come to my mind two years ago. Moreover, it is interesting that they looked different for me even though they have not changed. I believe these were led by the lectures and some experiences offered by CRS (Cultural Resource Studies) in Kanazawa University, which brought me the much wider view to the cultural heritages. Even though it is not directly related to our subjects and interests, the more experience surely creates the new ideas for our study and cultivate ourselves.

(N.A.)

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