The lost fortress of Onoguris? Newly discovered sixth-century AD fortifications at Khuntsistsikhe, western Georgia

Paul Everill, Besik Lortkipanidze, Nikoloz Murghulia, Ian Colvin & Davit Lomitashvili


Abstract image

The village of Khuntsi is located in the Martvili municipality of Samegrelo, western Georgia, on the west bank of the Tskhenistskali River, on the road that links Martvili, Khoni and Kutaisi. A few short sections of wall on Kukiti Hill (known locally as 'Najikhu', translating roughly from Mingrelian as 'ruins (remains) of a castle') indicate the presence of a fortress. Six years ago, the installation of a mobile phone mast and associated infrastructure without consultation with the appropriate archaeological agencies revealed and damaged archaeological structures. Animal bone and fragments of pottery were retrieved, and are currently stored in the school in Khuntsi. It was information from a local school teacher, Zoya Gadelia, that led the Anglo-Georgian Expedition to Nokalakevi to investigate the site in 2015.


  • Paul Everill
    Department of Archaeology, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR, UK (Email: paul.everill [at]
  • Besik Lortkipanidze
    Parmen Zakaraia Nokalakevi Architectural-Archaeological Museum-Reserve, Nokalakevi, Samegrelo, Georgia (Email: beso_lort [at]
  • Nikoloz Murghulia
    Department of Medieval Archaeology, S. Janashia Museum of Georgia, Georgian National Museum, Rustaveli Avenue 3, 0105 Tbilisi, Georgia (Email: nikomurgulia [at]
  • Ian Colvin
    Cambridge SCP, University of Cambridge, 11 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP, UK (Email: idc30 [at]
  • Davit Lomitashvili
    National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Krtsanisi Street 58, 0105 Tbilisi, Georgia (Email: dlomitashvili [at]