The Georgian-Australian Investigations in Archaeology (GAIA)
The Georgian-Australian Investigations in Archaeology is a new collaborative venture between the Georgian National Museum and the University of Melbourne. Its purpose is to address important issues in archaeology of southern Caucasus, using the latest approaches, methods and technologies.
The first project under this new scheme concerns the site of Samtavro, in Mtskheta, where renewed investigations began in 2008. Samtavro, located at the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, is a vast cemetery site of fundamental importance for Caucasus and beyond. Its period of usage covered approximately two millennia (c. 1500 BC – AD 500). Broadly speaking, the Samtavro project has six aims:
- Geomatics, involving the location of grid points from previous excavations and the geo-referencing of earlier plans within the overall grid plan of Samtavro;
- Archaeological Prospection of the site through the use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR);
- Archival, involving the digitisation of field records and plans from earlier campaigns as a first step towards preservation and publication;
- Excavation of specific areas chosen to address problems of time and space;
- Physical anthropology – the study of the human skeletal material;
- Conservation of the site and its artefacts.