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Obsidian mines and their characterization : New aspects of the exploitation of the obsidian sources of Mt. Chikiani (Koyun Dağ) in the Lesser Caucasus of Georgia

Abstract : Mt. Chikiani is one of the most important obsidian sources of the Caucasus. According to the available data, its exploitation began at least around the end of the Middle Palaeolithic, and greatly increased mainly between the Early Neolithic and the Iron Age. Previous The Quarry #12 (May 2017)Page 3investigations, and the characterization of several archaeological artefacts, have shown that Chikiani obsidian was traded as far as the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and that its distribution radius is much wider than that of all the other Caucasian obsidian sources. The data provided by the characterisation of a few dozens of samples collected in 2012 and 2014 have shown that at least three different flows were exploited in prehistoric times. The surveys carried out in July 2016 have led to the discovery of hundreds of mining pits dug out along the northern and north-eastern slope of the volcano. Also a few knapping areas and workshops have been recovered during the same season. They yielded subconical and prismatic blade cores, a few implements and many debitage and debris flakes. The importance of the Mt. Chikiani archaeological area is marked also by the presence of impressive megalithic monuments, among which is one menhir, and hundreds of tombs (kurgans), which make this region of South Georgia of unique importance for the archaeology of the entire Caucasus.
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https://hal-univ-orleans.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02875569
Contributor : Scd Université d'Orléans <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 19, 2020 - 6:04:24 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 20, 2020 - 3:37:32 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02875569, version 1

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Paolo Biagi, Renato Nisbet, Bernard Gratuze. Obsidian mines and their characterization : New aspects of the exploitation of the obsidian sources of Mt. Chikiani (Koyun Dağ) in the Lesser Caucasus of Georgia. [Research Report] The Quarry - Università Ca' Foscari Venezia. 2017, pp.1-24. ⟨hal-02875569⟩

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