Forgotten Borderlands - Guria and Adjara Survey Project

Location: Georgia

Year(s): 2017-18 

Director: Emanuele E. Intagliata, University of Edinburgh/Aarhus University


Emanuele E. Intagliata (co-director), University of Edinburgh/Aarhus University

Davit Naskidashvili (co-director), Tbilisi State University

Shio Simvise (fieldwork assistant), Kutaisi Archaeological Museum 

Funding: BIAA

Under BIAA SRI(s): Cultural heritage, society and economy in Turkey; Habitat and Settlement in prehistoric, historical and contemporary perspectives

Summary: During his expansion to the east, Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565) is said by written sources to have been responsible for the strengthening of the Roman defensive system in Lazica, modern day western Georgia. Scope of this survey project was to shed light on this frontier defensive system by: 1. Studying the distribution of military infrastructure in southeastern Georgia; 2. Explore to what extent Byzantine military architecture and building techniques have affected the sites examined.

Photogrammetry has been used to document standing remains. Documentation also included drone photography and drawing of artefacts on display at local museums. Over 30 mortar and brick fragments were also sampled for thin-section and X-Ray diffraction analyses at Tsikhisdziri, Vashnari, Moedani, Ask’ana and T’olebi.

The study of standing architecture, complemented by scientific analyses on brick and mortar, have helped reach fresh conclusions on the absolute and relative chronology of a number of key early-Byzantine sites, including Tsikhisdziri/Petra. Talks with local and regional authorities, and scholars have paved the road for future collaborative works in the regions under study. 

Resulting Publications: 

Intagliata, E. E. and Naskidashvili, D. (2017), ‘Forgotten borderlands. Guria and Adjara survey project’. Heritage Turkey 7: 15–16.

Emanuele E. Intagliata:

I received a solid background in Archaeology of the Roman Provinces at the University of Milan, where I obtained my BA (Cultural Heritage Studies) and MA (Archaeology). I then moved to the University of Edinburgh to conduct my PhD on the history and archaeology of Palmyra in Late Antiquity and the Early Islamic period. After my PhD, I developed a project on the 6th-century frontier defensive system of Tzanica (north-eastern Anatolia), which I formally started in November 2015 at Koç University as a TUBITAK international research fellow. Since 2016 I have been a teaching fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where I have taught Roman and Byzantine Archaeology. I am an archaeologist with extensive fieldwork experience in Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea areas (Syria, Iran, Georgia, Turkey). My research interests lie in frontier communities, military architecture, and the transformation of cities in the Byzantine period.

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Archaeology and Related Disciplines

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