Welcome to the Pichvnari website


Archaeological reports

Pichvnari - site plans



Contact us

Pichvnari lies on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, at the confluence of the Choloki and Ochkhamuri rivers some 10km to the north of the seaside resort of Kobuleti. It was the site of an earlier Colchian settlement occupied by Greek traders from the mid-fifth century BC. Pichvnari means "Place of the pine trees" in Georgian; its name in antiquity is unknown. First recognised in modern times from coin hoards, the site has been studied since the 1960s by Georgian archaeologists from the N. Berdzenishvili Batumi Research Institute of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. These activities came to a temporary halt between 1989 and 1998 owing to the difficult economic situation in Georgia.

A new stage began in 1998, when the first joint British-Georgian Pichvnari Expedition of Pichvnari was established. Work was conducted by the Batumi Archaeological Museum, the N. Berdzenishvili Batumi Research Institute and the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. This new phase has been supported financially over the years by the British Academy, the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom Trust, the Oxford Craven Committee, successive Jesus College, Oxford, Oxford Major Research Grants, The Oxford Marjory Wardrop Fund, Somerville College, Oxford, St John's College, Oxford, the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Leon Levy Foundation, New York, the Friends of Academic Research in Georgia, the Andrew and Sandra Graham Fund, and by donations from Gerald and Suzanne Labiner of Los Angeles, and Ted and Andrée Gorton of London, and other benefactors. Heartfelt thanks are due to all these institutions and individuals.

The Co-directors have been throughout Amiran Kakhidze, Director of the Batumi Archaeological Museum and sometime Rector of Batumi University, and Michael Vickers, Professor of Archaeology in the University of Oxford, and Curator of Greek and Roman antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum; Dr Gia Tavamaishvili Deputy Rector of Batumi University was Deputy Director; the late Professor D. Khakhutaishvili served as a consultant; other Georgian participants included Professor Guram Grigolia, Irakli Iashvili †; (numismatist), Dr Rezo Papuishvili, Dr Nineli Varshakidze, Dr Manana Odisheli, Ms Maia Chijavadze, Ms Nino Dzneladze, Dr Tamara Sikharalidze, Nargize Surmanidze, Merab Khalvashi, Tariel Ebralidze, Miranda Turmanidze (archaeologists), Dr Emzar Kakhidze (historian), Maka Bokeria (palynologist), Mamuka Chelidze, Anzor Javelidze, Reso Mikeladze, Merab Khinkhiladze, Giorgi Dumbadze (architects and surveyors), Givi Nakhutsrishvili, G. Chigogidze and Vladimir Astakhov (photographers), Maggie Gudadze (interpreter), Merab Uzunadze (computer specialist), Zurab Varshanidze (laboratory assistant), Guram Svanidze (deputy director for supplies), Guliko Tsiskaradze, Darejan Gurgenadze (cooks), Georgian students included: Lasha Aslanishvili, Lasha Bazhunaishvili, Rezo Charazi, Tamasi Darchidze, Vitali Kartsivadze, Sulkhan Okropiridze, Inga Iashvili, Suliko Svanidze (postgraduates at Batumi University); Miranda Jijavadze (postgraduate at Tbilisi State University); Anano Arabuli, Natia Gurasbashvili, Koba Khvedelidze, Mariam Lobzhanidze, Lika Sekhniashvili, Irakli Tavamaishvili, Eka Tsiklauri, and Nato Makharadze (undergraduates at Tbilisi State University). The 'British' contingent included: Claudio Baldi (University of Zurich), Gregers Bangert (University of Copenhagen), Sara Boyen (KU Leuven), Olga Broniewska (University of Gdansk), Marianne Brue (University of Ghent), Duncan Carnegie (Jesus College, Oxford), Suji Chandrasekaran (Lincoln College, Oxford), Elizabeth Cohen (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), Henry Colburn (University of Colorado at Boulder), Alex Copley (University College, Oxford), Edward Dalbey (University College, Oxford), Sophie Debruyne (University of Ghent), Maria Degtiarenko (University of Virgina), Gus Docx (Keble College, Oxford), Matthew Earwicker (St John's College, Oxford), Adam Fergus (New College, Oxford), Mary Frazer (Corpus Christi College, Oxford), David Freeman (Keble College, Oxford), Theowen Gilmour (Clare College, Cambridge), Matthew Ginniver (Keble College, Oxford), Alex Gorton (University of Richmond), Julia Gräf (Freudental), Laura Graham (Jesus College, Oxford), Benjamin Harrold (Keble College, Oxford), Ellen Hitchcock (St Antony's College, Oxford), Alexandra Hodge (Keble College, Oxford), Johan Honings (KU Leuven), Simon Hunter (St John’s College, Oxford), James Hutchinson (Jesus College, Oxford), Victoria Ing (Keble College, Oxford), Nicola Ingber (Somerville College, Oxford), Dalia Iskander (Keble College, Oxford), Victoria Kwee (Jesus College, Oxford), Benjamin Lazarus (Linacre College, Oxford), Alfred Leprevost (Wadham College, Oxford), Alexandra Lody (Jesus College, Oxford), Louis MacLaren (St Andrews University), Ken Morton (St Hugh's College, Oxford), Lucy Minford (Magdalen College, Oxford), Linda Nash (King’s College, London), Emma Oxenby (University of Lund), Amanda Pavlick (Tufts University, Boston), Gabriela Pechanova (University of West Bohemia, Pilsen), Sarah Raine (Keble College, Oxford), Ana Reisinger (Somerville College, Oxford), Emma Rix (Corpus Christi College, Oxford), Edward Rugman (Trinity College, Oxford), Sandro Sekhniashvili (Cherwell School, Oxford), Hannes Schroeder (University College, London), Marketa Sochorova (University of West Bohemia, Pilsen), Stephanos Tanis (Lincoln College, Oxford), James Vickers (University of Sussex), Philip Vickers (University of Nottingham), Tom Welsford (St John's College, Oxford), Jamie Wilkes (New College, Oxford), Martina Williman (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), and Sebastian Zmuda (University of Wroclaw). Mike Shott (St Cross College, Oxford, and Oxford Brookes University) gave instruction in metal detecting techniques. Aleko Kakhidze and Naji Mamuladze (Gonio) also participated. Thanks are due to them all for their professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm.

Some publications:

M. Vickers, A. Kakhidze, Pichvnari 1: Results of Excavations Conducted by the Joint British-Georgian Expedition 1998-2002 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the Batumi Archaeological Museum, 2004) obtainable from Oxbow Books.

A. Kakhidze, I. Iashvili and M. Vickers, "Silver coins of Black Sea coastal cities from the fifth century BC necropolis at Pichvnari", Numismatic Chronicle 161 (2001) 282-8.

M. Vickers, A. Kakhidze, "The British-Georgian Excavation at Pichvnari, 1998: the 'Greek' and 'Colchian' cemeteries", Anatolian Studies 51 (2001) 65-90.


Copyright © 2009 Text: Michael Vickers. Design: Agnieszka Frankowska