TSU, 212 | Moderation: Prof. J. Apakidse - 18.05-18.30

Late Bronze-Early Iron Age seals from the territory of Georgia (catalogue and research)

Tamar Chogovadze (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University)

The paper represents a research and catalogue of Late Bronze–Early Iron Age clay seals, which have been discovered on the territory of Georgia. It gives a detail description, analyzes and wide spectrum discussion of this period clay seals. There was done a project sponsored by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation of Georgia that was necessary to perform this work (grant # MR-183625). From both museums and literature we have collected 117 of Late Bronze-Early Iron Age seals discovered on the territory of Georgia.

We have divided given material into 16 types and at all there is 17 group of them. The classification is depended on the depictions of the seal. There was also done a statistic data, by which we can see that the most spread type of the seals are: S-shape spiral and arm-filled cross. On some of the Late Bronze-Early Iron Age seals from the territory of Georgia, there is depicted some kind of ornamentations such as twisted spiral, arm filled cross, swastika, meander like etc, which have been spread very frequently on the seals also in Anatolian, Iran, Aegean worlds etc. we found this kind of depictions even on Indus Valley civilization seals too. This means that there had been existed some common signs for some kind of reasons that many different cultures were using in different periods.

One of the significant group of this period seals are “Kakhetian” or Central Transcaucasian Seals”. In fact this kind of seals have been discovered mostly in Kakheti at Georgia. But to be mentioned, very close analogues comes from Azerbaijan territory for example they are discovered in Late Bronze-Early Iron Age layers from next archaeological sites: Babadervich, Sari-Tepe, Mingecevir, etc. the resemblance between them is so strong that we choose second name: “Central Transcaucasian” for this type of seals.  “kakhetian” seals finds few resemblances with the same period seals discovered at north Caucasian and east Europeans sites, but not as much to consider them as “kakhetian” type.

One of the important issue is also to define the function of Late Bronze-Early Iron Age Seals discovered at Georgia. There exist many different ideas about it between Georgian scholars and not only. Most of the facts proofs that this period seals mostly were used to make an impression on cultic bread. And it should be considered that only the cultic priests had the privilege of using this kind of seals.