Kutaisi (GEORGIA)

Interdisciplinary research in Kutaisi (Kutaisi Archaeological Landscape Project /KALP/). The research of several archaeological sites in the Imereti region involves scientists and students from the Krukowski Georgian-Polish Interdisciplinary Research Center, National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, Kutaisi Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve, Kutaisi Akake Tsereteli State University, Systems Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, University of Gdańsk, and the Helsinki University.

The head of the Polish side of the expedition and project is Dr Jacek Hamburg, Chancellor of the Science Station at the Krukowski Georgian-Polish Interdisciplinary Research Center. The head of the Georgian side of the expedition and project is Assoc. Prof. Roland Isakadze, Director of the Kutaisi Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve and the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia employee.

Investigation of the Bagrati Cathedral and Ukimerioni Fortress area. The project finished in 2023. The research aimed to investigate the earliest history of the Ukimerioni hilltop settlement. As of the date of publication, the earliest known levels are dated back to the Transition Middle-to-Late Bronze Age period (16th - 15th century BC). Investigations in the frame of the Kutaisi Archaeological Landscape Project create a great opportunity to excavate the later phases dated from the Early Medieval to the Modern period. During the first seasons were found evidence of Late Medieval-Early Modern glass workshop (15th-16th century AD), as well as a water distribution system dated to the Byzantine period (9th-11th century AD), and remains of the Colchian structures dated to the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age (13th-5th century BC). 

The heads of this project were Dr Jacek Hamburg (Krukowski Center), Mr. Rafał Bieńkowski (Systems Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences), and Assoc. Prof. Roland Isakadze (Kutaisi Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve, National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia).

Palaeobotanic and environmental analyses of samples obtained during the research of archaeological sites in the framework of the KALP. A long-term project in progress. With the help of the scientists of the Department of Plant Ecology of the University of Gdańsk, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, the Museum of the Earth of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and the University of Reading, the team of archaeologists involved in the Kutaisi Archaeological Landscape Project can count on specialized palaeobotanical and environmental analyses aimed at correct determination of ecofacts found during the excavations, separation of appropriate remains for further analyses (e.g. radiocarbon dating), as well as in the long term reconstruction of the natural environment and restoration the diet of the local community during the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age period and the development of Colchian culture in the studied area.

The head of the project is Assoc. Prof. Monika Badura (University of Gdańsk). 

Analyses of ceramic building material (CBM) and plastic earthen material (PEM) taken from archaeological sites excavated in the framework of the KALP. A long-term project in progress. This study aims to investigate earthen/ceramic building materials from the excavations of Kutaisi to shed light on the continuity and change in architectural construction technologies from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period. The excavations presented materials from a few distinct sites: The Dateshidze and Gabashvili hills dated from the Late Bronze Age period (14th -13th centuries BC) until the pre-classical period (6th -5th centuries BC), and from the citadel area surrounding Bagrat III’s Cathedral in Kutaisi, where the Polish-Georgian archaeological team found in years 2019-2023 remains dated back to the Bronze Age (2nd Millenium BC), Byzantine, developed Georgian Medieval (11th - 13th centuries AD) and the Turkish periods.

The head of the project is Dr Marta Lorenzon (Helsinki University) 

Radiocarbon analyses to establish the chronological sequence for the studied area in the framework of the Kutaisi Archaeological Landscape Project. Long-term project underway. In the course of standard archaeological research, samples are simultaneously collected for radiocarbon analyses to verify preliminary data obtained from archaeological excavations and to establish a new, up-to-date chronological sequence for the Colchian culture in the region of Imereti and in a wider perspective all of Western Georgia. Special analyses are currently being carried out by several laboratories to provide more certainty about the data received during the research. These centers include the Poznań Radiocarbon Laboratory (Poland), the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot (Israel), and the Vilnius Radiocarbon Laboratory (Lithuania).

The head of the project is Dr Jacek Hamburg (Krukowski Center).

Geoarchaeological drilling. The main aim of drilling is to find traces of the moat and Bronze Age cultural layers and to try to reconstruct the route of the moat and the size and borders of the Colchian settlement.

The heads of the project are Assoc. Prof. Leszek Łęczyński (Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk) and Dr Jacek Hamburg (Krukowski Center).

Searching for burial places of Polish captives imprisoned after the Second World War in Kutaisi. Kutaisi is a place connected with the latest history and time of the Soviet occupation of Poland and Georgia. After the end of the Second World War, a prisoner-of-war camp was organized in the city, where besides Germans, Japanese, and Romanians, Polish Home Army soldiers from the Vilnius region were also detained. This thread from the history of the "second occupation" has not been sufficiently well known so far. The collected information indicates that there are unmarked mass graves in the area of the former camp and its surroundings. A preliminary reconnaissance in the field has already been carried out to check many gathered information. However, the alleged burial sites of the Polish prisoners have not yet been found.

The project manager on the Polish side is Assoc. Prof. Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski.

"Gulag 0331" directed by Mr Grzegorz Czerniak and created in 2022 is a documentary movie about captives of the Kutaisi Soviet camp. The material is produced by the team of Polish specialists from the Witold Pilecki Research Institute for Totalitarian Studies (now known as the Pilecki Institute).

The Polish victims of the camp in Kutaisi also commemorated by erecting a special stone plate located on the wall of the Krukowski Center Science Station building. Krukowski Georgian-Polish Interdisciplinary Research Center provides organizational support in all of these initiatives.