The International Archaeological Expedition of Georgian National Museum and Ca` Foscari University of Venice

16 August 2016

The International Archaeological Expedition of Georgian National Museum and Ca' Foscari University of Venice counts the fourth year working on the multilayer monument, dated IV millennium BC - VI century AD.

The study of Dedoplis Gora was initiated early in 80ies. The expedition discovered the remains of the "palace" of the middle ages - archaeological excavations revealed the royal palace of 2nd century BC - 1st century AD.

The 2016's Expedition focused on three districts. The main purpose of this year's expedition was to determine the stratigraphy of the monument and also to excavate the part of courtyard's eastern section. In the settlement layer the Middle Bronze Age painted ceramics were found. This was the first time then the three levels of construction had been identified: the early Bronze Age cultural layer, the Middle Bronze Age layer and the transition period layer.

At the eastern ditch several layers were disclosed. During the last year's expedition, the part of the temple was revealed, where 3 artifacts were found: one was cup full of wheat, the other two vessels were observed with traces of wine. Their radiocarbon date includes the fourth millennium BC.

Georgian National Museum Expedition and the Stationary archaeological excavations at the palace commenced in 1985. During the excavations, 22 rooms and their corridors were located and about 15,000 artifacts were added to the Georgian National Museum.

According to the results of the expedition, we can assume that at the end of the palace was destroyed by a powerful earthquake in the last quarter of the first century. Strong earthquake caused a fire; the top two floors of the palace were demolished. The ruins of the first floor were covered so all the artifacts were left inside. That is why various relics were left intact: furniture, arms and armor, clay, glass and metal vessels, jewelry, textiles, fruits, cereals, etc.

After the collapse of the palace, for about 200 years, the settlement remained uninhabited. At the end of the 3rd century - the beginning of the 4th, the new housing emerged, which lasted until the end of the 6th century. The new houses were built on the ruins of the palace - therefore, it was a medieval settlement which was removed and examined first.

Archaeological excavations comprehensibly demonstrate multilayer settlement of Dedoplis Gora, where the total capacity of cultural layers is 10-14 meters.

Archaeological works are managed by Yulon Gagoshidze (Georgian National Museum) and Elena Rova (Ca' Foscari University of Venice). The expedition included many professionals from different countries as well as  students from Sokhumi University.