In search of the roots of the vine...

Gadachrili Gora





Archaeological Field School in

the Republic of Georgia

Kvemo Kartli

May 1–June 15, 2019


Shulaveris Gora

Gadachrili Gora

Imeris Gora



Field School

Research Team

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GRAPE is an international multidisciplinary research project investigating the emergence of farming economies in the South Caucasus and the influence of the Near East on the development of local Neolithic cultures and, conversely, the influence of Caucasia on the Near East.


The excavations are sponsored by the Georgian Wine Association and the National Wine Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture under the umbrella of a larger international project entitled “Research and Popularization of Georgian Grape and Wine Culture” which aims to investigate the roots of wine production in the ancient world.

Gadachrili Gora is a Neolithic village located on the Shulaveris Ghele, a tributary of the Khrami River near the city of Marneuli in the Kvemo Kartli region of the Republic of Georgia. The excavations are undertaken by the Georgian National Museum, under the directorship of Mindia Jalabadze. Gadachrili Gora forms part of a trio of Neolithic villages, including Shulaveris and Imeri Gora. These villages have been dated to the 6th millennium and are part of the Shulaveris-Shomu culture, which can be found across central Caucasia, and represents one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures of the region.

The large morphological variability of certain domesticates found in the South Caucasus has led many to consider this region an important ancient center for the domestication and diversification of various cultivated plants. With over 500 varieties of grape, the one of largest in the world, it has long been  suggested that Transcaucasia is the ancient homeland of the vine.

Excavations at Gadachrili Gora were initially undertaken in the 1960's by S. Janashia of the Georgian State Museum. In 2006–07 and again in 2012–13 excavations were re-initiated by the Georgian National Museum (in conjunction with the CNRS). These excavations have uncovered the earliest examples of domesticated grape pips, dating to approximately 5950 BCE.


The deadlines for fees payable to the University of Toronto are as follows:

• Application fee of $200: due February 1, 2019

• Deposit of $1000: due March 15th

• All remaining fees and medical clearance form: due March 23, 2019


Financial Assistance

1.  OSAP

     OSAP extension possible if currently on OSAP OR can apply for OSAP if                doing a 1.5 credits in the  summer

2.  Summer Abroad Awards:

     Summer Abroad awards (2 at $3000 each)

     Woodsworth Students: Rose Patten, John Browne, Track and Wilcox

Awards (Woodsworth students)

     Based on financial need AND academic merit

     Must have 4.0 UofT credits by December 2016

     Application included in body of Summer Abroad application

     Application deadline: February 13 at 5pm

     International students not eligible

     Simonds Travel Award (St. George students, preference to WDW)

     Application details included in application

3.  Arts and Science:

     Walter and Mary Tuohy Award

     Deadline March 16





Archaeological work has also revealed two levels of occupation dating to between 5650 and 5950 BCE. The site contains a series of circular structures, domestic nature that are made of both plano-convex and regular mudbricks, with diameters between 1.5–2.5m in addition to small circular storage bins of varying size. Different spatial organization can be observed between the two levels, with the upper Stratum 1 consisting of smaller, but more densely arranged  structures organized around one large main circular building, whose diameter is estimated at up to six meters.

The earlier Stratum 2 reveals a less densely occupied settlement arranged in parallel rows of  more evenly spaced buildings arranged on an east–west axis, with spaces between the rows dedicated to storage.

Interior and exterior surfaces consist of a series of laminations of hard, compacted clay layers with frequent ash lenses of indeterminate origin. Lithics are predominantly made of obsidian and are found in significant numbers in both levels. Ceramics, while present in both levels, are less frequently represented in the upper stratum of occupation.

Khaled Abu Jayyab is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto. His dissertation research focuses on the role of human mobility and interaction in shaping communities inthe Late Chalcolithic Northern Mesopotamia. Khaled trained in Ceramic analysis and landscape archaeology and interpretation with Dr. Clemens Reichel and Dr. Ted Banning at the University of Toronto. Mr. Abu Jayyab’s interests include: landscape archaeology, the archaeology of mobility, communities of practice, and ceramic and lithic analysis. Currently Mr. Abu Jayyab has been conducting a survey in Kvemo Kartli (Georgia) focused around the site of Gadachrili Gora.

Dr. Stephen Batiuk is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Archaeology Centre of the University of Toronto. With more than 20 years of fieldwork experience he has participated in over 12 different archaeological projects from CRM (Cultural Resource Management) work in Canada to projects in Ethiopia, Turkey, Israel,  Romania, France and Georgia.  His more recent publications and research are focused on understanding the origins of wine production in  Transcaucasia (specifically Georgia) but perhaps more importantly, the spread of this early Georgian wine culture across the entire Near East and eventually the rest of the world.  Dr. Batiuk brings a well developed skills in landscape and materials analysis, particularly ancient ceramics.

Andrew Graham Andrew Graham is currently studying Wine Business Management and is shifting his focus away from the field school and archaeology towards the business of wine tourism, both here in Canada and internationally.  He is enrolled in the Canadian Food & Wine Institute's professional Wine Business Management program, with an emphasis on international sales and marketing.  He is currently working with Georigan Wines in promoting the sale of Georgian wine to the LCBO.


Dr. Mindia Jalabadze is the Chief Curator — Department of Collection Management and Department of Precious Metals, Georgian National Museum. He received his PhD in 1998 from I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. He has worked on various archaeological sites of different periods in Georgia, and has been directing the work at Gadachrili Gora since 2006.

David Lordkipanidze, SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR is an anthropologist and archaeologist and General Director of the Georgian National Museum. He is best known for his excavations at Dmanisi in Georgia.

Lordkipanidze has received many awards, including Georgia's Order of Honour (2000), Award of the Prince of Monaco (2001), the French Order of "Palmes Academiques" (2002), the French Order of Honour (2006) and the Rolex Award for Enterprise (2004). He was appointed Director General of the Georgian National Museum in 2004. In 2007, he became both a Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.



Irakli Koridze  is an archaeologist and curator at the Georgian National Museum. He received his PhD in 1972 from I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in Oriental Studies. He has worked on numerous archaeological projects across Georgia, as well as a number of international exhibitions of Georgian archaeology and culture around the world, including Wine, Worship and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani, exhibited in the United States in 2007.

Students will stay in farm houses in a local village near the site. MEALS AND SUPPLIES
Breakfast, lunch (sandwiches, tomatoes, cucumbers, and fruit) and dinner will be provided seven days a week. The cost of room and board for the six weeks is $3,500. FIELD TRIPS
Gadachrili Gora is located approximately 10km south of the city of Marneuli in the Kvemo Kartli region of southeastern Georgia. It is roughly one hour from the capital of Tbilisi by bus. The group will have weekly field trips around the country, visiting other archaeological and historical sites, as well as wineries. TRAVEL
Travel to and from Georgia are at the student’s expense, but is purchased through an prearranged travel agent to ensure that all student arrive in Tbilisi at the same time on May 6, 2018. Different departure dates can be arranged by the student with the travel agent. Travel expenses in country, both for the excavations and field trips, are included in the Project Fees.



Professional & International Programs

Woodsworth College

119 St. George Street, 3rd Floor

Phone: 416-978-8713 @SummerAbroadUT




Mandatory Costs Paid to U of T

Application Fee                     $200 - Subtracted from Field School fee

Course Fee                            For one full-year credit (NMC 261Y)

      Domestic Student            $1,725

      International Student      $2,880

U of T Incidental Fee             $170

Field School Fee                    $3,500

Airfare                                  $1,280 - Estimated international flight fare


Medical Travel Insurance       Students must provide proof of medical insurance


Miscellaneous  Expenses        All students should budget for personal expenses


Approximate Total Program Costs INCLUDING Field Trips

Domestic Students $6,875 (Not including mandatory medical travel insurance)

International Students $8,030 (Not including mandatory medical travel insurance)







Photo of carbonized grape seeds from Gadachrili Gora excavations. Photo by Emily Railsback.

Neolithic Qvevri (wine jar) from Khramis-Didi-Gora. c.5500 BCE.

Spots are still available!

Contact us if interested.

Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR directs the Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Consulting Scholar in the Near East Section.  Over the past two decades, he has pioneered the exciting interdisciplinary field of Biomolecular Archaeology which is yielding whole new chapters concerning our human ancestry, medical practice, and ancient cuisines and beverages.  Popularly, Dr. Pat is known as the "Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages." He is also the author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton: Princeton University, 2003/2004).

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