Lechkhumi – The Mountainous Side of Legendary Kolkheti

In Lechkhumi, on the territory of the village Dekhviri of the Tsageri Municipality, the third archeological season is underway, with archeological studies resuming which first began in the 1960s-1970s.

Lechkhumi is not only one of the most beautiful parts of Georgia, with big agricultural and tourism potential, but a place of great historical value, too.

The interest of archeologists in Lechkhumi is defined by the fact that it, as a mountainous part of legendary old Kolkheti, is rich in pre-historic sites – Bronze-Iron Age metallurgy monuments, bronze treasures, Pre-Antiquity and Antique monuments. Materials of the Middle Ages are enriched with archeological artefacts in the castles of Lechkhumi.

Archeological materials found on the territories of the villages Dekhviri and Tskheta (currently the territory of the archeological-ethnographic museum of Dekhviri) has particular importance to the history of Lechkhumi and Georgia, in general.

Highlighting the importance and uniqueness of the territory is the complex of archeological monuments there:

- Traces of a residence from the 8th-5th centuries B.C. and by-chance-found archeological materials;

- An Antique sepulcher from the period between 4th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.;

- The Dekhviri fortress system of the Middle Ages.

These archeological materials prove that the territory of Dekhviri served as a significant controlling and transit means from the beginning of the first millennium B.C., including the Middle Ages.

Important archeological materials discovered there so far count:

1. Apart from the typical Kolkhi ceramics in the old Tskheta-Dekhviri former residence of the 8th-5th centuries B.C., which defines the date of the former residence, a unique stone mold was discovered there, in which swastica-type plates decorating Kolkhi buckles were made. It does not only prove that square buckles of bronze (one of the defining components of the Kolkhetian bronze culture) were made in Kokheti, in particular, mountainous Kolkheti – Lechkhumi, but that on the Tskheta-Dekhviri territory there lived people who, along with agricultural works, led metallurgic activities. It is already agreed that obtaining ore and molding metal took place there, on the right sides of the river Tskhenistkali (in particular on the territory of the village Zubi) with the residents of Tskheta-Dekhviri making various pieces using that metal.

2. Archeological materials of the antique age sepulcher discovered on the territory of the village Tskheti prove wide economic-trading contacts of the local residents with the contemporary outside world. A big assortment of imported beads and jewelry pieces are discovered there.

3. Archeological materials studied on the territory of Dekhviri fortresses (Dekhviri hill) prove the existence of an important strategic point there (which controlled part of the gorges of the rivers Tskhenistskali and Rioni), the owner of which must have been a representative of high ranking and well-off society.

Archeological excavations on the territory of Dekhviri not only confirm the existing data but add new information every year.

Excavations on the archeological season of 2015 proved the value once again and enriched Lechkhumi with further monuments of cultural heritage.

This year four burial grounds were studied. One of those is from the Hellenistic period, others from the late-Roman period, representing bronze and iron items, diverse jewelry pieces and ceramics. Excavations took place on the territory of the antique former residence with typical Kolkhi ceramics.

Upcoming archeological excavations are sure to enrich Georgian history and culture even more.

10 September 2015 21:08