International Archaeological Expedition In Tskaltubo

09 December 2014

Satsurblia cave is located in West Georgia, Tskaltubo municipality, in the village Kumistavi. Site was discovered in 1975 by Alexandre Kalandadze, who dug there a test trench. In 1976, 1985-88 and 1990-1992 archaeological excavations were carried out by Karlo Kalandadze. Three cultural layers were distinguished: Eneolithic, Neolithic and Upper Paleolithic.

In 2009-2011 within the grant financed by Shota Rustaveli National Scientific Foundation "From Hunter-Gatherer to Agro-Pastoral Societies in West Georgia" interdisciplinary archaeological excavations were carried out by the Tskaltubo Stone Age expedition of the Georgian National Museum headed by Tengiz Meshveliani. Typological-chronological investigations of the lithic materials revealed Upper Paleolithic and chronologically followed culture. At the bottom of one of the trenches five Mousterian (Levallois) flakes were found. Sedimentological, Paleoantropological, Palinological and Paleobotanical researches have been carried out. Diverse and rich was palaeontological materials, and among them large amount of birds. Paleobotanical and palinological studies ascertain the time periods of cave habitat and abandonment. In Satsurblia cave in Upper Paleolithic layers were found fibers of wild flax. Collection was rich with various types of bone tools and objects of self adornment.

In Satsurblia cave in 2012-2013 international Georgian-Ireland-Israeli excavations were financed by Wenner-Gren foundation grant "Human Responses and Adaptations to the Local Last Glacial Maximum in southern Caucasus". During that campaigns were found in situ yellow, burnt and trumped surfaces of "living floors" with circular concentrations of stones- "hearts". Analysis of the living surfaces at Satsurblia cave offers information about human activities such as the production and utilization of the stone and bone tools, butchering, cooking and consumption of meat and wild cereals, the utilization of fibers and the use of certain woods. The Upper Paleolithic layers at Satsurblia cave provide new information about human occupation in southern Caucasus during the period prior to the LGM .The lithic analyses reveal that during the period spanning between 17.9-16.2 ka. Cal. B.P. in Satsurblia cave existed cultural variant which resembles the Eastern European Epi-Gravettian.

Excavations and scientific research are going on at Satsurblia cave, within the project - "On the Question of the Cultural Genesis of some Stone age Sites in Imereti of the late Pleistosene and Holocene" which is financed by Shota Rustaveli National Scientific Foundation.