Archaeological monuments of the Gareja Desert Monastery of St. John the Baptist

26 January 2012

Author Zuarb Tvalchrelidze - PhD History, Deputy Director General of the Georgian National Museum.

The Gerorgian National Museum and its time-honored structural unit, the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, jointly with the Gareja Studies Centre, are launching a serial of the works of Zurab Tvalchrelidze, historian-archaeologist.

The publications will be devoted to the results of historical-archaeological study of the cave complexes of the Gareja monastic association and rock-cut monastic seats of Georgia.

Publications of the first stage will deal with archaeological studies of Gareja rock-cut monasteries - the stratigraphic picture of monastic seats; questions of the chronological and typological classification of the artifacts; complete catalogue of the collections preserved in the funds of the Georgian National Museum will be corried out.

The publications of the second stage will present a monographic study of the archaeologically explored rock-cut monastic seats of the Gareja desert and historical provinces of Georgia. Questions of monastic life in Georgia, studied in the historical-archaeological aspect, will be discussed in relation to analogous monuments of the Christian East.

The present work deals with the results of archaeological research carried out in 1980-2005 by Zurab Tvalchrelidze at the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (Natlismtsemeli) of the Gareja desert, one of the oldest seats of Georgian monasticism.

As a result of many-years archaeological studies conducted at the monastery of St. John the Baptist, diverse material of a vast chronological range has been accumulated in the rock monument funds of the Simon Janashia State Museum of Georgia, constituting an important source for the study of various aspects of monks' life at the monastery. Acquaintance with performed work and publication of brought to light artifacts are desirable and valuable at the present stage of research. They will become available both for scholarly circles and the readers interested in the monastic life of Gareja.

© Zurab Tvalchrelidze 2010

ISBN 978-9941-0-3044-4

UDC 726.5+904.72+479.22