Monday, November 2, 2020

Flashback to 2011: Dmanisi, Caucasus Georgia: First Europeans

Oh, what a rich day this was back in 2011! Original post here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dmanisi: First Europeans

Zezva and Mzia of Dmanisi. Credit: Multitur

I'm sure that when archaeologists uncovered the hominids in Dmanisi, now called the first Europeans, the Georgians said, "Old news. Of course, we were the first. Everybody knew that."

It was a sunny day, and Sandy, Eberle, and I joined Jennifer in Dmanisi (the town) to visit Dmanisi, the old settlement and home place of these first Europeans, Mzia and Zezva.

The marshrutka to Dmanisi leaves from Samgori each hour. Cost = 5 lari. Like poetry, each of us converged on Samgori, on time (pretty much), from our respective starting points: Rustavi, Gori, and a far-flung Tbilisi neighborhood.

Jennifer had arranged transportation to the archaeological sites for us, with the assistance of her host.

First we checked out the old settlement, circa 8th or 9th century at its founding. The settlement remained active through the 15th century, when it was overwhelmed by the Mongol, Tamerlane (who also decimated Rustavi). The artifacts thus reflect centuries of human activity and occupation.

The stone in this area boasts a tri-color scheme of green, red, and ivory. Beautiful. Ancient human detritus is all over the place in the form of petrified bones, stones, and pottery.

Dmanisi, Georgia

The scientific excavation is very much live.

Here is a beautiful video about the site, produced by Rolex, which honored a Georgian archaeologist with an award for his work. The accompanying article is here.

Some photos from the city below. Some buildings restored, some not. 

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

From the active dig site:

Dmanisi, Georgia

Dmanisi, Georgia

Evidence that Georgians invented bottled water, electricity, and freezers.  Dmanisi, Georgia.

No scale on this photo. Hole large enough for several people to climb into. Dmanisi, Georgia.

After visiting the ancient site on this sunny day, we returned to Jennifer's flat, had some munchies, then got on the last marshrutka to Tbilisi (5:00 p.m.). Jennifer decided to join us, where she'd crash at her favorite hostel for the night, Old Town Hostel.

Heard some decent music on the marshrutka on the way back to Tbilisi.

When we arrived in Tbilisi, we stopped at Old Town Hostel so Jennifer could drop her stuff, then Sandy realized she needed to get a move on if she wanted to catch the last ride to Gori, and Eberle, Jennifer, two hostel folks, and I went to dinner at "that place that overlooks the stage where we saw that dancing at that festival and where one of us got that thing with the runny egg that one time." Our usual place.

We saw some other TLGers there, and we chatted for a bit. After dinner, we went to a cafe (the other "place where we had the runny eggs that time, no not that one where we saw the dancing that one time, the other place " or, alternatively "that place where Sandy got that 7 lari pot of tea (or should we say that pot of hot water with the one tea bag), yeah, that one."

One of our party was a really interesting woman - Gabrielle - who is traveling in search of the perfect kebab. No, really. Her blog is KebabQuest [2020 update: Now defunct]. And, dammit, she has also been to Iran and deems it one of the best places on Earth to visit. (The Iranians told her, "We LOVE Americans! Don't pay any attention to our crazy president! He's crazy! We like Israelis, too. And ... well, OK, we're afraid of Pakistan, but we like everyone else!") I must go to Iran.

Glass bridge, Tbilisi

Tbilisi, Georgia

Had a great Americano and nice conversation with Eberle and Gabrielle while Jennifer and Rob hung out on the enclosed terrace.  I won't see Eberle again on this Georgian adventure - I leave for my winter vacation in just a few days and she leaves for Turkey, then Ghana next month, not to return to Georgia. I look forward to hearing about her new journeys.

I caught the 11:00 marshrutka back to Rustavi.

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