The messenger logo

Discoveries of Tsutskhvati Cave

By Mariam Chanishvili
Friday, August 9
The International Archeological Expedition of the National Museum of Georgia operates in Tkibuli municipality in Tsutskhvati Cave.

The study of Tsutskhtvati's thirteen-year-old cave began a long time ago with the initiative of the Institute of Geography of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. Between 1970-1971 and 1974-1975, the State Museum of History of Georgia and the Institute of Paleobiology jointly conducted archaeological excavations there.

The tools of the Middle Paleolithic (Middle Stone Age) were discovered in the cave, as well as buried animal bones. It is noteworthy that a tooth of a Neanderthal baby was found in the so-called "Bronze Cave." It dates back 50,000 years.

Short-term fieldwork was also carried out in 1998-1999 and 2003-2004; however, despite large-scale work, most of the cave was unexplored until 2016.

International Archaeological Expedition is taking place with the support of Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia continues multidisciplinary research in the framework of the project "Neanderthals in the South Caucasus."

Large-scale works include paleoanthropologists, paleontologists, other archaeologists and geologists at the National Museum of Georgia. Along with Georgian researchers, French and American scientists and about 50 Georgian students are involved.

New archaeological excavations, along with the existence of Neanderthals in the cave of Tsutskvati, revealed Paleolithic (Late Stone Age - Late Stone Age - 80000-12000 years ago) characteristic, layers and connected to Homo sapiens (thinker man, or our modern human species).

The scientific head of the expedition is Nikoloz Tsakaridze.

Tsutskhvati Cave is number one in the world as it is13-storey (level) cave, also one of the oldest in the world. One can hardly visit all the levels, but you can find tunnels with stalactites and stalagmites, and the third floor has a tunnel without water while the lower one has a river flowing inside the cave. Archaeological excavations have revealed remains from the Stone Age until the Middle Ages including bones of animals of more than 40 species, saved ecosystem of 140,000 years in the 12-13m deep layer, bat colony, the residence of a bear, animal sacrifice spots, etc.

Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation promotes the implementation of fundamental, applied and innovative research in a competitive environment, development of knowledge-based society, reinforcement of links between science and education, integration of Georgia into international research area and popularization of science. In cooperation with the scientific community, state and private entities Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation perform its activities transparently and impartially.