Archaeobotany and the Early Bronze Age in Georgia

Sheffield Archaeology postdoctoral researcher Catherine Longford and her work as part of the GAIA project

Dr Catherine Longford, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Archaeobotany, has been in south-west Georgia working on an excavation at Chobareti, a Kura-Araxes site from the Early Bronze Age (3300 BC).  Catherine is the project archaeobotanist for the Chobareti excavations and has collected and processed samples from the 2012-2016 seasons.

The excavation is part of the 'Georgian-Australian Investigations in Archaeology' (GAIA) project directed by Prof Tony Sagona from the University of Melbourne and Kakha Kakhiani from the Otar Lordkipanidze Centre for Archaeological Research (Tbilisi).

The GAIA team has been working at Chobareti since 2012. It is a multinational team composed of researchers from Georgia, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Belgium and the UK. The site is located in the Akhaltsikhe region of southern Georgia and is at an altitude of 1650masl. Excavations at Chobareti have uncovered four well preserved houses dating to the Early Bronze Age (3300 BC). The houses were found with in situ Kura-Araxes pottery, grinding stones, obsidian sickle blades and hearths on the floors. The GAIA team are also excavating a possible kurgan (Bronze Age tumuli) 200m down the slope from the Early Bronze Age settlement. This season, new excavations have begun at the Rabat in the neighbouring village of Dzveli and will investigate the Medieval fortress, and the Late Bronze Age and Early Bronze Age levels.

While in Georgia, Catherine also presented a paper at the international conference 'On salt, copper, and gold: the origins of early mining and metallurgy in the Caucasus' organised by the CNRS, RUB, and the Georgian National Museum. This conference was held 17-19 June, 2016 in Tbilisi.

Catherine is part of the Sheffield Centre for Archaeobotany and Ancient Land Use (SCALE).

Flotation tank in use processing samples from Chobareti (GAIA project)

Chobareti Structure4: Kura-Araxes house with in situ pots, grinding stone and basin, c.3300BC. (GAIA

View of the valley and Chobareti village from the excavation. (GAIA project)

Kurgan excavation (GAIA project)