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Forgotten trading routes and cities in early medieval western Georgia

Lecture by Assistant professor Emanuele E. Intagliata (UrbNet, Aarhus University).

2019.08.29 | Lasse Rievers Olesen

Date Tue 19 Nov
Time 13:00 14:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark (Building 4230-232).



This lecture aims to reflect on the evolution of early medieval trade in western Georgia and on how this was catalyst for the development/demise of urban settlements in this region. In so doing, it will present the results of a study season conducted at the Poti Museum of Colchian Culture (Poti) and of a new fieldwork project at Machkhomeri (Khobi municipality).

In May 2019, hundreds of artefacts that had been collected in over fifty years of excavations and surveys in the Rioni delta at the Poti Museum of Colchian Culture have been thoroughly documented and studied for the first time. The material had been retrieved from no less than fourteen locations, including Nathekhebi, which is considered by many as the site of the lost city of Phasis. Their known provenance and chronology will be used to shed light on how trade developed after the fourth century in this region.

The excavations at the early medieval site of Machkhomeri have uncovered a large building with an annexed multi-burial chamber. Numerous Greek inscriptions and carved gravestones were retrieved during the fieldwork. More importantly for the scope of this paper, the excavation of three burials have yielded an exceptional number of glass vessels and potsherds, most of which imported when interregional trade was prosperous in the Caucasus. The material from Machkhomeri complement well the data retrieved from Poti, therefore helping understanding how and when imported goods moved through western Georgia in the early medieval period.

The lecture is followed by an informal reception. All are welcome.  

Lecture/talk, History and archaeology