Archaeology

Georgia archaeology| Georgia Archaeological Sites

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Archaeology

Existing Fascinating Sites Make Georgia an Ideal Place for Archaeological Tours.

Dmanisi

Dmanisi (Georgian: დმანისი) is an archaeological site in Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia approximately 93 km southwest of the nation's capital Tbilisi in the river valley of Mashavera

Extensive archaeological studies began in the area in 1936 and continued in the 1960s. Beyond a rich collection of ancient and medieval artifacts and the ruins of various buildings and structures, unique remains of prehistoric animals and humans have been unearthed. Georgian paleontologist A.Vekua identified some of the animal bones as the teeth of the extinct rhino Dicerorhinus etruscus in 1983. This species dates back presumably to the early Pleistocene epoch.

The discovery of primitive stone tools in 1984 led to increasing interest to the archaeological site.

The main archeological event of the last years is a discovery of remnants of the oldest humans on the territory of Europe (dated as 1.8 million years) by 1996 German-Georgian expedition in Dmanisi. Homo georgicus is a species of hominine that was suggested in 2002 to describe fossil skulls and jaws found in Dmanisi. At first, scientists thought they had found thirty or so skulls belonging to Homo ergaster, but size differences led them to consider erecting a new species, Homo georgicus, which would be a descendant of Homo habilis and an ancestor of Asian Homo erectus. A partial skeleton was discovered in 2001. The fossils are about 1.8 million years old. Implements and animal bones were found alongside the ancient hominine remains.

Located in foothills of the Lesser Caucasus, Dmanisi is also famous for its three-church basilica of Dmanisi, built in the 6th century. The church has preserved frescos of saints and inscriptions. The richly ornamented porch, annexing the church to the west in the 13th century, during the reign of King Lasha-Giorgi, is especially noteworthy. A bell-tower, rectangular in plan, stands to the east of the church, within the confines of the city site. There is a single-nave church of St Marine to the north, ruins of the fortress to the southwest and the dwellings of the ancient humans, to the east.

South Georgia's early agricultural sites (7th-5th mil BC) are closely related to the ones in Near East, and there is no doubt that those have a connection to the beginning of the so-called ‘Neolithic Revolution' in the Ancient World. The period is extremely interesting due to the discovery of domesticated grape pipes in Southern Georgia dating from 6th millennium BC. This discovery along with the linguistic evidence has enabled scholars to state that Georgia is the cradle of viticulture and winemaking. Among the cultures of the 4th-3rd millennia BC, the Mtkvari-Araxes culture deserves a particular attention. The earliest sites of this culture (from the Chalcolithic period) come from the central and southern regions of Georgia, whereas in the subsequent Early Bronze Age it spread not only in the Caucasus but also in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) and further south to Syria and Palestine.

The mid-third millennium in East and South Georgia is marked by the appearance of big burial mounds, the so-called kurgans, showing the already well-established social differentiation in the society. This tradition was continued in Trialeti culture (South Georgia) from the late 3rd until the mid-2nd millennium BC. The ‘royal kurgans' of this culture yielded the richest grave goods. This field definitely is rich in diversity: in western Georgia there are caverns unique in their layer composition; we have undated cyclonic buildings, fortresses, which are especially abundant on the southern territory, ruins of ancient cities which are only possible to behold through aero-archeology.

People who are interested in the resettlement of Hebrews, the spread of Christianity in Georgia and other similar topics can also find the answers to their questions here. This is a biblical archeology. It is not easy to remain uninterested after finding out that the roads leading to the Trialeti kurgans are identical to the roads leading to the Egyptian pyramids. The gold objects found in such graves demonstrate the intricate granulation technique. Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly-developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, which is well documented by both archaeological data and religious beliefs. In addition, the megalithic fortresses of the highland Trialeti recall the Mycenaean ones.

Odzrkhe or Odzrakhe was a historic fortified town on the territories of modern Samtskhe-Javakheti region, southern Georgia. According to medieval Georgian historic tradition, Odzrakhe was founded by the mythic hero Odzrakhos of the Kartlosid line. The ruins of old fortifications are still visible around the site.

Colchis

The Bronze Age relationships between Greece and Georgia were apparently responsible for the emergence of the myth of the Argonauts, who came to Colchis for the Golden Fleece. In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolchis (in Georgian — კოლხეთი, Kolkheti — and in Greek — Κολχίς, kŏl´kĬs) was a nearly triangular ancient Georgian region [1] and kingdom in the Caucasus which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural consolidation of the Georgian nation. [2]

Excavations in the settlement of Tsikheagora (Chocheti District) have revealed three cultural layers dating from the period of the Early Bronze, Late Bronze-Early Iron Periods and the Antiquity. A dwelling plastered with clay (3rd millennium BC), a pagan church, a wine-cellar and other structures have been uncovered.

Now mostly the western part of Georgia, in Greek mythology Colchi, was the home of Aeëtes and Medea and the destination of the Argonauts. The ancient area is represented roughly by the present day Georgian provinces of Samegrelo, Imereti, Guria, Adjara, Svaneti, Racha, Abkhazia, modern Turkey's Rize Province and parts of Trabzon and Artvin provinces.

Kutaisi (Georgian: ქუთაისი; ancient names: Aea/Aia, Kutatisi, Kutaïssi) is Georgia's second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti.

Kutaisi was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Colchis. Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis as early as during the 2nd millennium BC. Historians believe that when Apollonius Rhodius was writing about Jason and the Argonauts and their legendary journey to Colchis, Kutaisi/Aia was their final destination and the residence of King Aeëtes.

Vani is a town in Imereti region of western Georgia, at the Sulori River (a tributary of the Rioni River), 41 km southwest from the regional capital Kutaisi.

Systematic archaeological studies carried out in the Vani environs since 1947 revealed the remnants of a rich city of the ancient power of Colchis. The name of this ancient settlement is still unknown but four distinct stages of uninterrupted occupation have been identified. The first phase is dated to the 8th-7th centuries B.C. In this period Vani is presumed to have been a major cultic centre. The second phase - end of the 7th and beginning of the 6th to the first half of the 4th century B.C. - is represented by cultural layers, remains of wooden structures, sacrificial altars cut in the rocky ground, and rich burials. It is assumed that on this stage Vani was the centre of a political-administrative unit of the kingdom of Colchis. The third phase covers the second half of the 4th - first half of the 3rd century B.C. It is represented largely by rich burials, remains of stone structures. To the fourth phase (the 3rd-mid-1st cent. B.C.) belong defensive walls, the so-called small gate, sanctuaries and cultic buildings (temples, altars sacrificial platforms), and the remains of a foundry for casting bronze statues. It is assumed that in the 3rd-1st centuries B.C. Vani was a templar city. According to the archaeological data, the city was destroyed in the mid-1st century B.C. Subsequently, Vani declined to a village and was officially granted a status of a town only in 1981. You may observe some unique pieces of the ancient Colchis in Vani museum, founded in 1985.

Nokalakevi (Georgian: ნოქალაქევი, literally meaning: a place where a town was) is a village and archaeological site in Georgia; particularly, in Senaki, district of Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti region.

Roman and Byzantine historians knew the city as Archaeopolis, but in the later Georgian chronicles it is mentioned as Tsikhegoji, "the fortress of Kuji", for its eponymous and semi-legendary third-century BC founder.

Archaeological studies have demonstrated that the site was inhabited in the early 1st millennium BC. The settlement grew larger in the 5th-4th centuries BC. The majority of the visible structures were built between the 4th and 8th centuries AD when Archaeopolis functioned as the capital of Lazica. Remains of the original walls of a royal palace, acropolis, rich burials, bathes, and the early Christian churches can be seen running up the mountain and along the cliffs that border the Tekhura River. Rich collections of local and foreign coins found at the site indicate a high level of commercial ties with the neighboring countries, specifically with the Byzantine Empire.

Urbnisi (Georgian: ურბნისი) is a village in Georgia's Shida Kartli region, in the district of Kareli.

Situated at the Mtkvari River, Urbnisi was an important city in the ancient and early medieval Iberia (as Georgia was known to the Greeks and Romans.) Archaeological studies have demonstrated that the place was inhabited in the 3rd millennium BC. The settlement grew larger and, in the 4th century BC turned into a city with thriving commerce and culture. The ruins of a fortress, rich baths, pagan sanctuaries and even a Jewish temple suggest the importance of the city. Burned structures and round catapult stones indicate that the city may have been under a siege and subsequently invaded in the 3rd century BC. The new era in Urbnisi's life began with the conversion of Iberia into Christianity. Urbnisi turned into a major center of Georgian Orthodox culture. From the 6th to 7th centuries, a strong system of fortifications was erected around the city that did not prevent, however, the Arab commander Marwan (future Caliph from 744 to 750) from capturing the city in the 730s. As the result of the invasion, Urbnisi declined to a small village. However, the Urbnisi monastery of St Stephen continued to function as a center of Georgian Orthodox diocese.

Regular archeological excavations began here in the middle of 19th century by F. Bayern (Austria). Now different expeditions, mainly at summer time, are operated.

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