Colchis culture

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Prehistoric cultures of Russia
Kunda culture 7400-6000 BC Chr.
Bug Dniester culture 6500-5000 BC Chr.
Dnepr-Don culture 5000-4000 BC Chr.
Sredny Stog culture 4500-3500 BC Chr.
Ekaterininka culture 4300-3700 BC Chr.
Fatyanovo culture around 2500 BC Chr.
Copper Age
North Caspian culture
Spa culture 5000-3000 BC Chr.
Samara culture around 5000 BC Chr.
Chwalynsk culture 5000-4500 BC Chr.
Botai culture 3700-3100 BC Chr.
Yamnaya culture 3600-2300 BC Chr.
Afanassjewo culture 3500-2500 BC Chr.
Usatovo culture 3300-3200 BC Chr.
Glaskovo culture 3200-2400 BC Chr.
Bronze age
Poltavka culture 2700-2100 BC Chr.
Potapovka culture 2500-2000 BC Chr.
Catacomb tomb culture 2500-2000 BC Chr.
Abashevo culture 2500-1800 BC Chr.
Sintashta culture 2100-1800 BC Chr.
Okunew culture around 2000 BC Chr.
Samus culture around 2000 BC Chr.
Andronovo culture 2000-1200 BC Chr.
Susgun culture around 1700 BC Chr.
Srubna culture 1600-1200 BC Chr.
Colchis culture 1700-600 BC Chr.
Begasy Dandybai culture around 1300 BC Chr.
Karassuk culture around 1200 BC Chr.
Ust-mil culture around 1200–500 BC Chr.
Koban culture 1200-400 BC Chr.
Irmen culture 1200-400 BC Chr.
Late corporate culture around 1000 BC Chr.
Plate burial culture around 1300–300 BC Chr.
Aldy Bel culture 900-700 BC Chr.
Iron age
Baitowo culture
Tagar culture 900-300 BC Chr.
Nosilowo group 900-600 BC Chr.
Ananino culture 800-300 BC Chr.
Tasmola culture 700-300 BC Chr.
Gorokhovo culture 600-200 BC Chr.
Sagly bashi culture 500-300 BC Chr.
Jessik Beschsatyr culture 500-300 BC Chr.
Pazyryk level 500-300 BC Chr.
Sargat culture 500 BC Chr. – 400 AD
Kulaika culture 400 BC Chr. – 400 AD
Tes level 300 BC Chr. – 100 AD
Shurmak culture 200 BC Chr. – 200 AD
Tashtyk culture 100–600 AD
Chernyakhov culture AD 200–500

The Colchis culture (16th / 15th to 7th centuries BC) is a Middle Bronze Age to early Iron Age culture in the Colchis lowlands in what is now western Georgia . It is known for settlements, burials and finds from depots .


Colchis culture was widespread in the Colchis in the south of the Greater Caucasus and on the Black Sea coast in northeast Turkey.


  • Early phase, 1600–1200 BC Chr.
  • Late phase, 1200–800 BC Chr.

In the early phase the culture spread to eastern Georgia, in the later phase this influence declined and finally the eastern parts of the Colchis, Imereti and Ratscha , came under the influence of the Iron Age culture of eastern Georgia.


Important sites:

  • Namcheduri near Kobuleti-Pitschwinar
  • Noachwamus
  • Dicha-Gudsuba
  • Naochwamu
  • Nadshichu
  • Namdewu

The settlements were mostly on elevated places, including settlement mounds ( tells ). These were surrounded by deep trenches that were connected to the nearest river. The houses were made of wood, some of wickerwork and clay. Remains of stone houses have also been found in Ratscha. The buildings had gable roofs.

Material culture

The ceramic is mostly polished black and decorated with incisions. Horn handles are typical. Clay animal figures mainly depict pets such as cattle and sheep.

Broad picks and wedges were made of bronze. Also typical are figuratively decorated axes with a semicircular cutting edge and oval shaft hole, which have clear connections to the North Caucasian Koban culture . Lance tips are also decorated in this way. Some of the axes are also decorated with a sculptural animal (big cats, wolves, riders). Iron is first used as an ornament (Hort von Ude ).


Wheat, rye, barley and millet were grown. Grape seeds are evidence of viticulture. In domestic animals, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs are documented by bone finds, pictorial representations also show the domestic dog. It is assumed that the marshy Phasis plain was made usable by the construction of drainage channels.

Textile production is evidenced by the remains of stone and clay spindle whorls and woolen cloth and linen.

Metal processing

Antimony bronze, but also tin bronze, was processed. Copper mines of the Kolchiskultur were excavated on the upper Rioni near Ghebi. Slag and molds are also known from settlements in the lowlands (Anaklia, Nosiri). The centers of bronze processing were the Çoruh valley and Ratscha-Letschumi . Ore processing centers were also located in Qwirila and near Satschchere. The tunnels were supported by stone walls or rock pillars that were deliberately left standing. Wooden pillars were also found.


The forms of burial in the Colchis culture varied greatly. In the Brili burial ground, elongated pits, stone slab graves and burn sites were found. Most of the deceased were buried stretched out on their backs. Stools with bent arms are also known. The cremated dead were buried on the cremation site. Second burial in vessels is known from Abkhazia; presumably the corpses were previously excarnated until the soft tissues had rotted away or eaten by animals. In the Argonauts legend it is reported that the bodies of men were hanging from the trees. The historian Wachuschti Bagrationi also reports on this custom, which was sometimes used until the 19th century for those killed by lightning strikes.

Most of the grave goods were yellow ocher, which was supposed to replace the lack of sunlight.

Historical interpretation

Diakonov wants to connect the Colchis culture with the peoples of the northwestern Caucasus, the Adyghen (Zirkasso-Kabardians), Ubyches , Abaza and Abkhazians . Greppin is considering a connection with the Hatti and Kaška in the mountains of northern Anatolia.


  • John AC Greppin, IM Diakonoff : Some effects of the Hurro-Urartian people and their languages ​​upon the earliest Armenians. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society. Vol. 111, No. 4, 1991, ISSN  0003-0279 , pp. 720-730.
  • Otar Lordkipanidze : Archeology in Georgia. From the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages (= sources and research on prehistoric and Roman provincial archeology. Vol. 5). VCH, Acta humaniora, Weinheim 1991, ISBN 3-527-17531-8 , pp. 93-145.

Individual evidence

  1. The dates in the table are taken from the individual articles and do not always have to be reliable. Cultures in areas of other former Soviet republics were included.
  2. ^ Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia. From the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. P. 95.
  3. a b c d e f g h Heinz Fähnrich : History of Georgia from the beginnings to Mongol rule. Shaker, Aachen 1993, ISBN 3-86111-683-9 , p. 33 ff.
  4. ^ Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia. From the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. P. 104.
  5. ^ Lordkipanidze: Archeology in Georgia. From the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. P. 97.
  6. ^ Greppin, Diakonoff: Some effects of the Hurro-Urartian people and their languages ​​upon the earliest Armenians. 1991, p. 727.
  7. ^ Greppin, Diakonoff: Some effects of the Hurro-Urartian people and their languages ​​upon the earliest Armenians. 1991, p. 721.