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Archaeologists from Poland and Georgia tracking down a legendary city

by Dignity News
A Polish-Georgian team of researchers in Kutaisi, Georgia, has discovered numerous artefacts dating back some 3,700 years. Such an old metric of the city may mean that present-day Kutaisi is the mythical capital of Colchis, Aja. It was there that the Argonauts were supposed to obtain the golden fleece, according to National Geographic.

Polish archaeologists have intensified their excavation research in Georgia in recent years. Together with local partners, they are carrying out projects to learn about the country’s distant past. The Prof. S. Krukowski Interdisciplinary Polish-Georgian Research Centre (KIRC), opened a few years ago and supported by the Polish Institute in Tbilisi, has been helpful in this regard.

Since 2017, a Polish-Georgian team of archaeologists led by Dr Jack Hamburg of the KIRC and Dr Roland Isakadze of the National Agency for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage of Georgia have been researching Kutaisi’s most ancient past. This third largest city in Georgia is located on the picturesque Rioni River. It is inhabited by almost 150,000 people. During excavations in 2023, surprisingly early traces of human presence were found there.

“Very distinctive pottery, bronze knives, flint and stone arrowheads and spearheads, stone whetstones, ceramic weights for weaving, querns and a set consisting of a mortar and pestle are just some of the artefacts found in the deepest layers of the excavation”, said Dr Jack Hamburg of KIRC to National Geographic Polska.

The scientist explains that a large group of mainly local scientists and the people of Kutaisi themselves identify the city with ancient Aja, known mainly from the Greek poem ‘Argonautica’ by Apollonios of Rhodes. It speaks of the expedition of the Hellenistic Argonauts to retrieve the golden fleece – the wool of the winged golden lamb that helped Phryxos and Helle to escape. Underlying the expedition was the quest of Jason, leader of the Argonaut expedition, to regain power in Jolkos in Greek Thessaly. It is one of the most famous Greek myths.

Arkadiusz Słomczyński

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