Discoveries in Gonio (Georgia): a Roman winepress

This year’s excavations in the Roman fort of Apsaros (Gonio, Georgia), carried out by a Polish-Georgian Expedition led by Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski (Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw) and Shota Mamuladze (Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Adjara), brough about new, interesting finds. Previous discoveries of the expedition famously include a mosaic floor in the garrison commander’s house.

The Polish-Georgian Expedition conducts research both inside the perimeter wall of the fortress and in the surrounding area. This year, laser scanning (LIDAR) of the Apsaros surroundings made by Polish specialists revealed interesting features indicating the presence of archaeological remains. One such site, following a field reconnaissance carried out in the spring, was selected for further study. During the excavations, the well-preserved remains of a wine-press were discovered. The press was abandoned in the 3rd century AD, so it was in use when the Roman garrison was stationed at Apsaros. The installation almost certainly formed part of a farm producing wine for local needs, including for the Roman troops.

– “It is worth noting that the winepress has structural features typical of the local winemaking tradition but hydraulic mortar characteristic of Roman constructions was used to seal the working surface and the must tank. The winepress is thus a testimony to the exchange of ideas on the border between the Roman Empire and the local Kingdom of Iberia” – points out Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski.

The Polish-Georgian Expeditions previous successes include the discovery of a mosaic floor in the garrison commander’s house (praetorium). Earlier this year, in one room of a newly-excavated building, clay inkwells and olive lamps were unearthed. As both types of objects are associated with writing, they point to the office function of the room. This is also a confirmation of the researchers’ hypothesis that the building served as the headquarters (principia) – the most important building in any Roman garrison.

Read more about the research at Gonio.