Discovery of obsidian mines on Mount Chikiani in the Lesser Caucasus of Georgia

Paolo Biagi, Renato Nisbet & Bernard Gratuze

Abstract

Abstract image

The volcanic Javaketi Range (Lesser Caucasus, Georgia) has recently aroused the interest of both geologists and archaeologists on account of its rich environmental and geological history, the prehistoric exploitation of its raw materials and the discovery of archaeological sites ranging from the Palaeolithic to the Historical Ages (Gogadze 1980; Kikodze 1983). In 2012 and 2014, two systematic surveys were conducted on Mount Chikiani (Koyundağ) with the aim of defining the areas from which obsidian was obtained during different prehistoric periods, and to characterise its sources (Biagi & Gratuze 2016). A longer season of archaeological prospection was carried out in 2016. Among the many important finds was the discovery of a large number of obsidian mining pits along the northern and north-eastern lower slopes of the volcano (Figure 1), as well as several obsidian workshops. During the 2016 season, research focused on the 2417m-high trachyrhyolitic dome—a source of high-quality obsidian—emerging from the plain around 300m north-east of Lake Paravani.


Authors

  • Paolo Biagi
    Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Ca’ Cappello, San Polo 2035, I-30125 Venezia, Italy
  • Renato Nisbet
    Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Ca’ Cappello, San Polo 2035, I-30125 Venezia, Italy
  • Bernard Gratuze
    Institut de Recherche sur les Archéomatériaux, Centre Ernest-Babelon, UMR 5060, CNRS/University of Orléans, 3D rue de la Férollerie, F-45071 Orléans cedex 2, France
X