Ancient Winemaking in Georgia - Archaeological Discovery

27 April 2015 - 27 April 2015
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Visit to the archaeological sites at Kvemo Kartli (village Imiri) dated with the 4th millennium b.c. took place on April 27, 2015 at 11 a.m. Among the guests of the site were Minister of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia Michael Giorgadze, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia  Levan Davitashvili and the representatives of the National Wine Agency of Georgia and Association ,,Georgian Wine".  Guests were hosted by the General Director of the Georgian National Museum professor Davit Lordkipanidze.

Joint project of the Georgian National Museum and the National Wine Agency "Research of Georgian Grapes and Wine" takes place since 2014 under the patronage of the Georgian Government. Project aims to develop and popularize Georgian winemaking culture. Different researches of artifacts found in Georgia, during the different archaeological excavations takes place in the framework of the project.

International team of scientists and experts from different countries including researchers from Pensilvania, Montpellier, Milan, Copenhagen, Toronto University, Israel Vaisman Institute and Montpelier Research Institute are involved in project together with Georgian scientists. Project is headed by corresponding member of the Georgian Academy of Science professor Davit Lordkipanidze. Project Manager is Levan Davitashvili and the Coordinator is David Magradze.   

Article about the project, "Ghost of the Vine - In Georgia, science probes the roots of winemaking" was recently published in National Geographic Magazine by Paul Salopek.

Ancient grapes dated with the 6th millennium B.C. were discovered during the archaeological excavations. Research found that wild grapes were first domesticated on the territory of Georgia, followed by winemaking process. The remains of the wine ashes were discovered on the artifacts dated with this period. Further archaeological excavations also prove that with development of agriculture, society shifted to the new stage of life.

Archaeological excavations take place in within the project "Research of Georgian Grapes and Wine." Examination of the discovered artifacts will tremendously contribute in creation of overall image around Georgian winemaking culture.

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Research of the site took place stage by stage in different years. Excavations conducted by the archaeological team of the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia took place under the supervision of Alexander Javakhishvili and Otar Lordkipanidze.  Expedition examined four Neolithic settlements - Shulaveri hill, Imiri hill, Dangreul and Gadachrili hill. Sites of Neolithic period were also examined by Scientist Tamaz Kiguradze. Since then, those sites are subjects of constant research.

In 2012 and 2013, new archaeological operations were conducted in the framework of a joined project between the Georgian National Museum and the French Center for National Research. Besides the Georgian and French scientists, students of the Tbilisi State University were also involved in the project.

The head of the expedition is a chief curator of the Georgian National Museum's archaeological collections Mindia Jalabadze.