Sie sind auf Seite 1von 19

Anatolian Metal V

Herausgeber: nsal Yaln

Bochum 2011

Montanhistorische Zeitschrift Der ANSCHNITT. Beiheft 24 = Verffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Nr. 180

Titelbild Alacahyk gehrt zu den wichtigsten prhistorischen Stdten in Anatolien. Besonders berhmt sind die frhbronzezeitlichen Frstengrber mit ihren zahlreichen Grabbeigaben aus Gold, Silber und Bronze, darunter die frhesten Eisenfunde Anatoliens. Zum Grabinventar zhlten auch zahlreiche bronzene Sonnenstandarten und Tierfiguren. Im Vordergrund ist eine dieser Sonnenstandarten zu sehen. Sie dient heute als Symbol des Kultur- und Tourismusministeriums der Trkei. Im Hintergrund ist eine schroffe Landschaft bei Derekutuun, Kreis Bayat, Provinz orum zu sehen. In Derekutuun wurde seit dem 5. Jt. v. Chr. gediegenes Kupfer bergmnnisch gewonnen. Im Vordergrund ist eine der prhistorischen Strecken abgebildet. Fotos stammen von Herausgeber.

Diese Publikation entstand mit freundlicher Untersttzung der

Der Anschnitt Herausgeber: Vereinigung der Freunde von Kunst und Kultur im Bergbau e.V. Vorsitzender des Vorstandes: Dipl.-Ing. Bernd Tnjes Vorsitzender des Beirats: Bergassessor Dipl.-Kfm. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Achim Middelschulte Bibliografische Informationen der Deutschen Bibliothek Die Deutschen Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet ber http/dnd.ddb.de abrufbar. Geschftsfhrer: Museumsdirektor Prof. Dr. phil. Rainer Slotta Schriftleitung (verantwortlich): Dr. phil. Andreas Bingener M.A. Editorial Board: Dr.-Ing. Siegfried Mller, Prof. Dr. phil. Rainer Slotta; Dr. phil. Michael Farrenkopf Wissenschaftlicher Beirat: Prof. Dr. Jana Gerlov, Ostrava; Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Ludwig, Bremen; Prof. Dr. Thilo Rehren, London; Prof. Dr. Klaus Tenfelde (), Bochum; Prof. Dr. Wolfhard Weber, Bochum Layout: Karina Schwunk ISSN 0003-5238 Anschrift der Geschftsfhrung und der Schriftleitung: Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum Am Bergbaumuseum 28, D-44791 Bochum Telefon (02 34) 58 77 112/124 Telefax (02 34) 58 77 111 http://www.bergbaumuseum.de Einzelheft 9,- Euro, Doppelheft 18,- Euro; Jahresabonnement (6 Hefte) 54,- Euro; kostenloser Bezug fr die Mitglieder der Vereinigung (Jahres-Mitgliedsbeitrag 50,- Euro)

Redaktion nsal Yaln Christian Wirth Layout, Titelgestaltung Angelika Wiebe-Friedrich Druck WAZ-Druck GmbH & Co. KG, Duisburg

ISBN 3-937203-54-0 ISBN 978-3-937203-54-6

Dieser Band ist Robert Maddin gewidmet

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Vorwort Gruwort

9 11

Rainer Slotta & Andreas Hauptmann Robert Maddin and the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum James D. Muhly Robert Maddin: An Appreciation Mehmet zdoan The Dynamics of Cultural Change in Anatolia H. Gnl Yaln Die Karaz-Kultur in Ostanatolien Ulf-Dietrich Schoop amlbel Tarlas, ein metallverarbeitender Fundplatz des vierten Jahrtausends v. Chr. im nrdlichen Zentralanatolien Horst Klengel Handel mit Lapislazuli, Trkis und Karneol im alten Vorderen Orient Metin Alparslan & Meltem Doan-Alparslan Symbol der ewigen Herrschaft: Metall als Grundlage des hethitischen Reiches nsal Yaln & Hseyin Cevizolu Eine Archaische Schmiedewerkstatt in Klazomenai Martin Bartelheim, Sonja Behrendt, Blent Kzlduman, Uwe Mller & Ernst Pernicka Der Schatz auf dem Knigshgel, Kaleburnu/Galinoporni, Zypern Hristo Popov, Albrecht Jockenhvel & Christian Groer Ada Tepe (Ost-Rhodopen, Bulgarien): Sptbronzezeitlicher ltereisenzeitlicher Goldbergbau Tobias L. Kienlin Aspects of the Development of Casting and Forging Techniques from the Copper Age to the Early Bronze Age of Eastern Central Europe and the Carpathian Basin 127 111 91 85 79 69 53 31 21 17 13

Svend Hansen Metal in South-Eastern and Central Europe between 4500 and 2900 BCE Evgeny N. Chernykh Eurasian Steppe Belt: Radiocarbon Chronology and Metallurgical Provinces Andreas Hauptmann Gold in Georgia I: Scientific Investigations into the Composition of Gold Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World Khachatur Meliksetian, Steffen Kraus, Ernst Pernicka Pavel Avetissyan, Seda Devejian & Levron Petrosyan Metallurgy of Prehistoric Armenia Nima Nezafati, Ernst Pernicka & Morteza Momenzadeh Early Tin-Copper Ore from Iran, a Posssible Clue for the Enigma of Bronze Age Tin Thomas Stllner, Zeinolla Samaschev, Sergej Berdenov , Jan Cierny , Monika Doll, Jennifer Garner, Anton Gontscharov, Alexander Gorelik, Andreas Hauptmann, Rainer Herd, Galina A. Kusch, Viktor Merz, Torsten Riese, Beate Sikorski & Benno Zickgraf Tin from Kazakhstan Steppe Tin for the West? Autorenliste 231 253 211 201 187 173 151 137

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

Abstract
This study is focussed on the prehistoric gold mine of Sakdrissi and the contemporaneous settlements in the surrounding. It gives a short overview about five years of field work in the Sakdrissi and Balitshi-Dzedzvebi areas in the Mashavera-valley. The main focus was the reconstruction of the temporal, cultural and technological circumstances of the gold-mining and gold-ore-processing. According to the results in Sakdrissi and in the settlement of Balitshi-Dzedzvebi, we are able to reconstruct the complete chane opratoire on basis of archaeological and experimental approaches. This several step process was highly economic and allowed the rise of a large Kura-Araxes community that obviously was in fardistant exchange with other 4th and early 3rd millennium societies. In the contrary it remains in secrecy to which extend gold was exported and which ritual significance it had in the local Kura Araxes communities.

ages but in fact easier to find than alluvial placer deposits. There is no doubt that the combination of analytical and field archaeological devices can bring success and this was the way of the Bochum Caucasus project. The mining area of Sakdrissi and Bolnissi area was known before as rich in polymetallic ores including gold as well as ancient mining has been reported by several researches from the 19th century on (Tschochonolidze 1975; Tvalchrelidze 2001). In the beginning the Bochum Caucasus project has started as a program mainly focused on educating junior scientists in Mining archaeology and Archaeometallurgy (2004-2006). After the discovery of the Sakdrissi Gold mine the program now has shifted to a scientific project whose goals still are the education of Georgian trainees but also a detailed investigation of gold mining and gold processing in the Caucasus (2007-2011) (Hauptmann et al. 2010; Stllner et al. 2010).

Introduction
The exploitation of gold always has raised many questions in prehistoric archaeology and still does: tracking back the sources of ancient gold is difficult as the strong geochemical devices such as the isotopic composition have been applied to artefacts only seldom in recent time. It remains elusive until to today where the gold has come from for the particularly rich gold complexes of the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age periods a long time before we have positive evidence for also Egyptian Gold Mining respectively. One should either not forget that evidencing wash gold as the source most probable also has its own problems: there is the enrichment of heavy metals such as tin and silver in placer deposits. Whilst such sources are often exploited completely it is difficult to compare them with rock gold deposits. Beside the geochemical methods there is the other way of using archaeological sources: But gold mines are difficult to find especially at the beginning of the metal

Sakdrissi Gold Mine and its Mining Archaeology


The mining area of Sakdrissi and Bolnissi area was known before as rich in polymetallic ores including gold as well as ancient mining has been reported by several researches from the 19th century on (Tschochonolidze 1975; Omiadze 2007; see Gold in Georgia I). But it has to awaited systematic field work on mining sites to assure the surprisingly old dating of Sakdrissi gold mine right from the beginning. According to a series of AMS 14C-dates Sakdrissi can be dated to a period around 3000 thus being one of the most ancient mining areas in the Caucasus. The mine itself was reported as an Iron Mine of the medieval first, later has been identified by the mining engineer T. Mudshiri (1987) as a prehistoric one on the basis of hammer-stones he found here. After the discovery of the Sakdrissi gold mine archaeological part of the VW funded Bochum program now has shift-

187

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

ed to especially to the Mashavera Valley and he surroundings of Sakdrissi in order to understand the technology but also the social-economics of this very early rock gold mining site. The current project has been finished in a first phase now in field and goes now to a interdisciplinary evaluation phase. The mining area of Sakdrissi a visible hillock called Kachagiani is located in a favourable traffic position in the Mashavera valley that directly links the Tblissi/ Kura river valley with the Ciscaucasus and the Armenian mountains in the southeast (Fig. 1). Thinking of the rich polymetallic resources of this region it may not wonder that early agricultural societies such as those of the Schulaweri-Schomumtepe-culture (end 5th and 1st half of the second mill.) did produce the earliest evidences of metallurgy in the Caucasian region (Chramis Didi Gora, Aruchlo, Sioni, Imiris Gora u.a.: Kawtaradze 2001, 136 ff. Abb.1). The southern Caucasus region is therefore suspicious to be one of the areas where metallurgy was introduced by transfer of technological ideas from Oriental cultures: recently a French/Azerbajan-Team discovered remarkably early gold and silver/copper-alloy from late Chalcolithique Kurgans in the Karaja steppe of the eastern Kura valley (Soyuq Bulaq: Lyonnet et al. 2010). The artifacts of Soyuq Bulaq resemble therefore the first important evidences for the introduction of a gold and silver metallurgy in the Caucasus. And therefore it is quite logical to ask if such metals have been produced from ores of the Southern Caucasus, especially from Qemo Kartli (SE-Georgia). Especially for the later Kura Araxes period it might be asked if gold from Sakdrissi did play an important role in international trading networks.

The Mine of Sakdrissi Results of Research in 2004-2011


The Sakdrissi I gold mine prospect, as it is named today by the Mining Company of Madneuli, originally was planned to be mined and extracted. It already had been explored during Soviet times in the 1980ies and was therefore comparatively well developed: this also allows us entering the underground parts and therefore the investigation of nearly undisturbed underground workings (Fig. 1). T. Mudshiri (1987) already mentioned some of these working but could not date them more precisely during his days. The old exploration mine did leave some underground tunnels and also surface-structures such as track ways for construction an open-cast exploitation; the hillock itself was heavily overgrown with bush-vegetation and smaller trees. After clearing the vegetation in 2004 and 2005 we got a perfect insight into the mine that had left mining depressions and tailings above ground. These depressions turned out to be mainly collapsed mining galleries that followed smaller and bigger loads. It is a geometrically complex ore-deposit, a so

Fig. 1: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, aerial photography showing the 2009 excavation and the four main mining depressions (A-D) exploited during Kura-Araxes- and late Antique period photo: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner.

called stock-work deposit (Fig. 1). On the other hand the ancient underground galleries have been cut by Soviet periods exploration galleries. At two areas mining archaeological investigation became possible (mine 1 and 2) (Gambashidze et al. 2010; Stllner et al. 2008; Stllner et al. 2010). Since 2005 these galleries have been excavated and investigated in detail (Fig. 2): Most of the old Kura-Araxes mining debris has been excavated. These galleries once were connected with aboveground mining parts especially from the large mining depression A and from mine B3. By following them from both sides it was possible to interconnect them at two points in 2009 and 2010; other mining drivages virtually got interconnected although parts of the filling could not be removed (mine 2/B3): the deepest points that were reached by the Kura Araxes mining could be measured nearly 30 m below ground (mine 2/B3); mine 1/A that

188

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

Fig. 2: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, excavation 2005-2011, mining depression A-B, red areas: underground parts uncovered from above ground, photo: DBM/RUB/GNM, G. Steffens.

had been driven down further in the north did end nearly at the same absolute height (720 m sea-level) although its vertical extension only had virtually 25 m (Fig. 3); thus we are now able to reconstruct the spatial extension and course of the mine. This can be seen as a undispensable requisite to calculate effort and extraction rate as well as the gold-outcome of this prehistoric enterprise. As an important matter of fact those galleries were filled with debris from the Early Bronze Age mining (Fig. 3). Therefore it was comparatively easy to extract datable

charcoal from undisturbed strata; they provide a comparably homogeneous dating (see below). During a first campaign in 2004 a general survey and documentation of the mine was achieved, in 2005 till 2011 further detailed excavations and documentation stood in the centre of the Georgian-German field campaigns. The goal of these excavations was a detailed excavation of at least one part of the main mining depression. Excavations in the surrounding should allow further insights into working procedures above ground. Understanding

189

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

Fig. 3: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, mining depression A, NW-profile showing the Kura Araxes filling of the mining depression and of the underground pocket 1/1, drawing/graphics: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner/J. Garner/G. Steffens.

the technique of mining and its operational chain has been the main goal right from the beginning. After excavating many parts of two large mining depressions and further areas in between we are now able to reconstruct the ore exploitation and first steps of ore treatment at the mining site. These processes once were combined with further treatments such as gold milling and smelting that was carried out on a larger scale at large settlement nearly 1 km away as the crow flows.

Research in both the settlement and the mine was unavoidable to get sufficient insight into the whole production of gold. It also made apparent to which large extend this gold production had dominated the daily activities of larger groups of the Kura-Araxes-population at the Mashavera valley. The 2005 and 2011 excavation not only did record all working tools by description and coordination we also

190

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

investigated a large part in the northern most part of mining depression A (a part that is connected with mine 1 underground). The excavation first had to remove heaps of spoil flown into the depressions again; according to younger ceramic findings this backfilling can be dated into late antique and early medieval periods; it is consisting mainly of Bronze Age spoil mixed with ceramics and working tools (Fig. 3). According to stratigraphical observations made between 2009 and 2010 it became apparent that late antique gleanings reached levels roughly 8 m below ground. In consideration of the extend of this mining the exploit could not been very large and certainly did drive on seldom into untouched gold-bearing veins; according to the high amount of haematites and other iron ores it is not unlikely that this mining just did use the iron content and never focused on the gold. The mining debris of mine A and the neighbouring mine B1-2 did contain some thousands of mining tools: despite of hammer-stones it is worth mentioning that grinding and anvil-stones were found in large numbers. These finds can be seen in tight connection with dimpled impressions that have been found at the edges of the mining depressions. Thus a first step of a dry ore beneficiation by mean of crushing and grinding at the ancient spoil heaps can be assumed in the direct surrounding of the mine. Further steps of a finer grinding and milling have been discovered only at one tailing excavated between 2008 and 2009: Many millstones, fine rubbers and combination tools were discovered, types of tools that we only knew from the settlement so far (Fig. 4): This tailing interestingly was

filled in later into the old prehistoric opencast and was situated nearby an oval shaped hole that was driven into the rock: as this hole never was related with an orevein there is good reason to interpret it as a water cistern. It is therefore not unlikely that some sort of vein testing had been undertaken at the site before the grinded ores were transported to the settlement. But most of the time consuming gold ore milling was carried in the Kura Araxes workshops of Balitshi-Dzedzvebi as proven by recent excavations (see below). The surface of mining depressions A and B1-2 however brought a lot of further information: within the big mining depressions many more smaller galleries and surface exploitations have been found: this shows the reality of a complex stock-work deposit where many small gold-bearing quartz veins were well visible and have been exploited nearly completely. Since 2007 the excavation has been extended towards the neighbouring mine B; the flat area in between was investigated and yielded refilled pits of the Kura Araxes mining period. A ditch that leads towards the entrance of mine B obviously an entrance gully - allowed a smoothly declining access to this mine. According to recent results also this gully was reused during the late antique period and resembled a small late antique test mine. The rock-faces clearly show the usage of metal picks. The mine certainly was not driven forward by the typical prehistoric technique that normally has used fire-setting and hammering work.

Fig. 4: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, beneficiation tools (grinders, dimple stones, ore mills) from the Kura-Araxes dump in mining depression A, photo/graphics: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Rabsilber.

191

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

Due to the massive spoil-covering it was difficult to find untouched Bronze Age layers: only in generally small areas it was possible to find them but the sectors are still too small to give a conclusive picture. Only in some untouched mining pockets it was possible to find original mining spoil and in some cases even occupation layers of the Kura-Araxes-period (pockets A2 and A3). In the central part of the big mining depression a large Kura Araxes dump was partly excavated that later was refilled to the surface parts of the mining system (especially the pockets A7/8 or the mine pockets 1/1-2 as seen from underground]: besides the milling and testing tools mentioned above (Fig. 4) the dump produced original mine spoil with partly well stratified layer contexts dated by larger amounts of Kura Araxes ceramic. The layer consistency give reason to the conclusion that partly crushing and milling spoil of ore beneficiation once had been refilled. We found them also underground but nearly untouched; as mentioned before late antique and early medieval disturbances never did extend over a depth of 8 m. Just from the beginning we gained there the unquestionably best dating results, although the site had been opened by exploration tunnels in the 1980ies. By work of explosives parts of the underground mines 1 and 2 (equally to the above mining pockets A7/8 and B3) had been damaged. Finally three small working pockets could be discovered; two of them (1/1 and 1/3) are ending at the level of the modern gallery while the largest one is extending further to the north: all of them were completely filled with different layers of mining debris thus indicating, that the mines itself were refilled again carefully - for what reason ever. It was doubtlessly the most important result right from the beginning to have found considerable quantities of Kura-Araxes-ceramic: This again could be a strong argument for an intentional refilling: But also the stratigraphy allow more information on behalf of this assumption, especially those gained during the full scale excavation of the northernmost central part between 2007 and 2010. This north extension extends five meters more in depth than the other parts. A refilling structure discovered right there in the central part made apparent the backfilling work: we discovered a central working area which was secured against further material influx by the help of revetment walls made partly of used hammer-stones: Many of these layers certainly belong to mining debris that directly is related to the extraction process (these are coarse and burned rocky layers or even finer crushed gravel-layers) but others consisted of a very fine crushed consistency. Measurements of the gold content carried out in collaboration with the archaeometallurgical working group (A. Hauptmann, H. Kordon, A. Omidaze) produced still 1 ppm of gold in the spoil. This allows some estimation in concern of the efficiency of the gold ore beneficiation. The mine itself has brought to light other spectacular features: In the northernmost gallery of the north-extension

Fig. 5: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, underground mine 1/2, north extension, northern gallery, working end with stone-hammer deposit and fire-setting traces, photo: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner.

of mine 1/2 a nearly unfilled gallery was discovered (Fig.5): the rock-faces still were in original preservation and did nicely resemble the fire-setting process: the latest fire-set itself could be reconstructed: The fire-setting soot preserved especially on the upper wall and ceiling suddenly stops roughly 30 cm in front of the most extended parts. This indicates the amount of rock and ores being hammered down at the end of the latest fire-set-work (that surely could consist of some fire-sets in a row!). During our excavations we frequently observed depositions of hammer-tools of which most cannot really interpreted otherwise than as accidental depositions; but three of them have been deposited certainly deliberately at an working end, a niche in mine 2, the northern most gallery of 1/2 mentioned before and a working hole in mine 1/3 even more striking is their combination of nearly unused and unusually large hammer stones: it is certainly not misleading when we think on ritual deposits especially as these hammers are of exquisite shape and quality! The mine however can now be followed under surface about more than 25 m from the surface; the working spaces are very narrow and partly it is impossible to pass through with head or shoulder. Even more astonishing is the fact that most of the galleries have been advanced by hammering work by help of fire-setting: this highlights the problem of circulating the air in a depth of

192

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

Fig. 6: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, AMS-14C-dates of the Kura-Araxes mining phase, after G. Bonani/I. Hajdas, ETH Zurich, graphics: DBM/ RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner.

more than 6 to 9 meters. The deposit itself is consisting mainly of a gold- and iron bearing quartz-vein while the host rock is composed of softer rhyolithic and other volcanic rocks but is silicified in the contact zone and therefore quiet as hard as the quartz-vein itself. The high technical level of hammering work can easily be understood when one looks on the quantity but also the different types of hammer-stones. There are five distinctive types of hammers that not only allow crushing work at the mine-walls but also show specialized forms for extracting even very small veins obviously very specialized work that allowed the extraction of gold enriched quartz-pockets and vein lets (Stllner et al. 2010, Fig. 16). The hard work was worth doing it: According to the gold contents of the veins reported from D. Melashwili (pers. comm.) only the high graded ore-veins have been exploited: vein 1/2 roughly contained around 70 ppm and mine-pocket 1/3 even could exceed over 100 ppm.

in accordance to the 14C-AMS-dating results that we gained from charcoal out of the underground deposits of mine 1 (Fig. 6); the results are interesting on the one hand as they support a mining before of 3000 BC, perhaps inhering arguments for a second younger phase at the beginning of the 3rd. Mill. This could mean that the mine began in the earlier steps of Kura Araxes-culture. This in general does prove mining during a considerable time of at least some centuries (Fig. 6).

Early Bronze Age SettlementStructure in the Surrounding of the Sakdrissi Gold Mine
The Kura-Araxes mine in Sakdrissi immediately raised the question where the contemporary settlements were situated and how they were integrated into the gold business: As we have discovered a larger quantity of ceramic it seems logical to think on a settlement nearby. Such a settlement also should allow some answers on behalf of the further steps of gold-processing which we have not found at Sakdrissi; this includes also gold washing. Thus it was clear right from the beginning that this settlement should not be situated far from the river Mashavera. Although older archaeological observations did not report of Bronze Age settlements before the 1970ies, it was obvious that the area of modern villages of Kazreti and Balitschi provides favourable settlement ground. The medieval villages of Abulmulg and Orsakdrebi also have been famous for their large populations and also their iron smithies and metal production: they were situated once in the surrounding of the Sakdrissihillock area. Bronze Age features have not been found earlier than 1973 and 1980 when M. Sinauridze carried out some rescue excavations in the village of Kazreti:

Dating of the Sakdrissi Gold Mine


According to the stratigraphic sequence and the preservation of untouched stratified features we got unquestionable results from the underground excavation at first; from 2007 finally also undisturbed layers were discovered at the excavation above ground and we also were able to date the younger steps of mining: according to KuraAraxes ware found in untouched areas there is no doubt to date most of the mine to the Kura-Araxes period: Neither by technological observations nor by stratified material we have to doubt this connexion younger mining activities however never did reach this level neither in depth nor in lateral extension (Fig. 7). The ceramic found so far cannot be dated easily but generally does belong to the second Kura-Araxes-step in the Ciscaucasus (according to Sagona 1984; Kushnareva 1997)1. This stands

193

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

Fig. 7: Sakrissi, Kachagiani hillock, AMS-14C-dates of Iron Age-sedimentation processes and the late antique mining phase, after G. Bonani/I. Hajdas, ETH Zurich, graphics: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner.

near the main train station she reported some settlement pits from Kura Araxes but also a late Bronze Age graveyard. During our surveys in 2007 we could confirm also a late Bronze Age settlement as we found parts of a burned house at northern slope nearby the Kazreti train station. All these find spots are situated at the side valley

of the Mashavera main valley: The Kazretula valley guides to the ore-deposits of Madneuli also nowadays. Iron bars that we found nearby the burned house of 2007 may confirm some relation with later prehistoric mining found in the oxidic parts of the Madneuli ore deposit. Late Bronze/Iron Age settlements are predominant how-

Fig. 8: Balitshi-Dzedzvebi, settlement plateau with main settlement features 2007-2009, graphics/GIS-examination: DBM/RUB/GNM, A. Hornschuch.

194

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

ever in the surroundings of Kazreti. Sinauridze has also reported about a large graveyard south of the Kazretula valley at the area Telebisweli (Sinauridze 1985: 13 ff.). A survey in the surrounding of Kazreti and Sakdissi finally brought also results in concern of the Early Bronze Age settlements; our surveys 2007 have produced a large settlement area nearly 1 km southeast as the crow flows from the Sakdrissi mine (Fig. 8). The area is called Balitschi-Dzedzwebi (Stllner at al. 2008; Gambashidze et al. 2010; Stllner et al. 2010). It is in fact a large settlement plateau that stretches on a length of nearly 1 km alongside the Mashavera-valley. It has an approximate size of about 60 ha and is therefore one of the largest settlement plateaus known in the Caucasus. The plateau is bordered in the west by the river banks of the Mashavera and in the east by the Dampludka-valley. Looking at its topographical situation the plateau always had to be passed on the way from the south to the Kura Valley. Therefore it also holds an important traffic position within the valley. The large area also is well protected from most sides: first surveys allowed an idea of the extension and also periodicity of prehistoric occupation but since 2007 further and large scaled excavations did cover many parts of the whole settlement plateau. Thus it is now possible to give a first preliminary overview about the Bronze Age and even early Iron Age settlement structures at the plateau. The large settlement area is consisting of several smaller scaled units (areas I-IV) with plateaus, dry-stone walls and even fortifications at the southern end of the area, where the Dampludka and the Mashavera-valleys draw close to each other. In the northern areas there is now the evidence of a large Kura-Araxes settlement area that was framed at the northern and southern fringes by grave-groups; some of these graves have been investigated; three collective burials in the north and two in the south; especially the grave-chambers of the Kura-Araxes step II-culture follow a clear burial custom (Fig. 9): the stone encircled chambers were oriented east-west and contained bone deposits of three to five individuals in the western part. Some of the vessels found there once have belonged to these burials; in the eastern part, from where the bodies have been laid down to the chambers, male and females have been observed: some beads and seldom more than one vessel are typical as funerary gifts. This clearly resembles virtually no social differentiation within the burial rites. The only exception is also the youngest grave chronologically belonging to the Martkopi stage (Kura Araxes III) and the beginning of the 3rd millennium: the double grave interestingly was disturbed (ritually robbed?) and contained the only prestigious goods found so far: a bead chain with axe- and pick-shaped pendants of a copper alloy (Fig. 10). The settlement itself is of high interest for our questions: three houses have been unearthed so far (Dzedzwebi

Fig. 9: Balitshi-Dzedzvebi, grave 3, photo: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Rabsilber.

II.2-3); in all cases they produced only a smaller number of typical settlement debris but indications for craftswork: a metallurgical workshop was found in house 2, obviously used during several phases. A large central room came to light in house 3: according to mill- and grinding stones as well as crucibles (Fig. 11) and the lacking of central hearth it was suspected to be in use for gold ore grinding and milling: this assumption could be proven according to the significantly high elevation
Fig. 10: Balitshi-Dzedzvebi, grave 2, bead and metal artefacts, photo: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Rabsilber.

195

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

have not been found in such quantities. This doubtlessly does indicate a different settlement pattern at the southern plateau. In consideration of that dating it is interesting to assume that the settlement not only was contemporaneous to the gold mine in Sakdrissi; the evidence of gold milling also in the younger Kura-Araxes III settlement of the southern plateaus gives reason to presume other mines in the surrounding. It seems not unlikely to understand the settlement of Dzedzwebi as the core of a community that has followed the exploitation of metals and raw material over a long time span; the favourable traffic condition of the plateau most likely did support such an economic development.

The Chane Opratoire of the Gold-Producing Process a Brief Summary


The gold-mining process documented in the Mashaveravalley consisted of several steps and was well organized. In many steps it can be compared with techniques described for antique and younger periods (Agricola 1556; see also Tylecote 1987; Bachmann 1999; Craddock 2000). 1. The ore-mining was carried out by help of fire-setting and extraction work by help of a typical chalcolithic tool set: hammer-stone often adapted to the very narrow veins as well as bone and antler-chisels were combined to extract gold bearing host rocks and pure quartzite veins. The gold almost was invisible but by testing the gold-content the grade of the ore was determined. 2. Gold-ore testing was presumably undertaken at the site, both by milling crushed ores and by separating them by simple gold washing. This method is most effective if an empirical test is proposed. 3. Hand-sorting and crushing of gold ores were the main steps of ore-beneficiation that can be evidenced at the gold mine of Sakdrissi. A first sorting and parting was done even underground where simple handheld hammers and dimples in the rock (as mortars) might have served as devices. The grade of the refilled beneficiation debris crushed down to sizes of about 3 mm to 2 cm still had around 1 ppm of gold thus indicating that something between 100/70 ppm and 1 ppm of gold (as observed in some of the vein) was taken out. 4. Once the ore was crushed and sorted most of the high quality gold bearing coarse sands were transported to the settlement where this material was fine grinded. The results of house 3/2009 made apparent that this milling of ore was done in large workshop rooms. According to experimental results from 2011 the milling should not be too fine not to lose the finer grained gold flakes being finely disseminated into the

Fig. 11: Balitshi-Dzedzvebi II.2-3, crucible-fragments, graphics/ drawings: DBM/RUB/GNM, A. Kuczminski, Th. Rabsilber.

of gold in the sediments. Ceramic and other small tools (clay figurines, arrow heads of obsidian, flint-blades, small copper awl) provide sufficient insight into the chronology of the site. We have to date the inventories as well as the house constructions most likely to the older periods of Kura-Araxes-culture and this could mean a dating right before 3000 BC; this chronological classification coincides presumably with the dating of the burial vessels of graves 1, 3 and 6. Thus this ensemble is contemporaneous to the mine in Sakdrissi. We generally note a high amount of grinding and milling stones at the whole settlement: they are characteristically furnished with central grooves and have fine grinded surfaces: their typical working-traces speak for a combination of crushing and fine grinding; so it is highly probable that time consuming grinding and milling once have been performed in this part the settlement. Other Kura-Araxes settlement-parts were investigated at the southern plateau in 2010: There the settlement is covered by younger late Bronze Age and early Iron Age layers with a nicely preserved stone architecture (Fig. 12). What did attract our attention right from the beginning was the clear difference to the site described before (Dzezwebi IV.2-3): our test trenches did produce a generally different spectrum of domestic debris: high numbers of ceramic but also much higher numbers of animal bones and obsidian flakes and tools. On the other hand the chronology and stratigraphy is wider spanned and stretches from the late Chalcolithic Sioni-group to the Kura-Araxes III-period. On the contrast gold milling tools

196

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

197

Fig.12: Balitshi-Dzedzvebi, southern settlement plateau with section through the terrace; graphics/drawing: DBM/RUB/GNM, Th. Stllner/G. Steffens.

Thomas Stllner & Irina Gambashidze

ores. Having found also gold contents of about 1 ppm in this workshop room (and being considerably elevated in comparison to the surrounding) proves the workshop and milling theory as also the abundance of mill-stone does in general. 5. If finally the sands got washed and fire-assayed in crucibles is till now a likely but unproven hypothesis. This needs further fieldwork and perhaps the one or another lucky finding.

have reached 100 to 150 kg. It may be asked if such an amount certainly not little has a chance still to be represented in our collections. But wherever the gold of Sakdrissi went to: the crafts organization and the level of production does show us a highly professional and large scale gold production: we generally should not doubt that this production already had reached the level of a major enterprise of the Kura Araxes tribes in the Mashavera valley. And we should not doubt that this production was embedded into a larger communication and cultural exchange of a remarkably widespread Kura Araxes cultural system.

The Oldest Gold Mine in the World? Remarks on Importance and Further Comparisons
Finally we may add some commends on the question to which extend gold was used locally or even been traded abroad. It is interesting to note that contemporaneous gold is seldom in a way. Generally the older steps of the Kura Araxes culture can be characterized by a remarkable paucity in gold artifacts although metals were known. If this is reasoned in a general reluctance in using gold and metals in burial rites cannot be answered univocally. It is rare but present also in preceding cultures such as the grave of Soyuq Bulaq (Lyonnet et al. 2010) made clear by no doubt. Therefore it is difficult to search for Sakdrissi gold on behalf of modern provenance studies: gold of that period is even easier to be found either in the Kurgan-cultures in the northern Caucasus (Maikop: dating see Trifonov 1994; 1996) or at the urban civilizations at the Euphrates (generally Kohl 2007). The famous princely grave of Arslantepe is one of the most famous graves that even represent those intensive links with Caucasian cultures (Frangipane et al. 2002; Frangipane 2004; Hauptmann et al. 2003). It awaits further investigations to characterize the gold in such graves or even those from the younger Martkopi-Bedeni horizon in the Southern Caucasus in which the usage of gold from our ore-deposit zone could be expected. A. Hauptmann and S. Klein from Frankfurt characterized the gold of Sakdrissi in comparison to other golden artifacts and to ore sources from the Bolnissi-zone (see Gold in Georgia I; Hauptmann & Klein 2009). The first results achieved by Pb-isotope-studies generally did prove the possibility that Sakdrissi and related ore-fields took part in supply of gold during the 3rd and early 2nd millennium. But also geologically related ore fields like that from the Artvin ore field (Murgul) can be hold as one of the possible provenance regions (see Gold in Georgia I; Hauptmann et al. 2010). Till now no clear argument have been found to range out the one of the other of these related ore field on the basis of trace elements or other markers. This awaits further geochemical investigations. However, the amount of gold that roughly can be estimated from the Kura Araxes exploitation perhaps may

Acknowledgement
This Georgian German research project is based upon a long term cooperation which began in 1996, and which is proposed to continue. Many persons have to be thanked for their self-dedication to that project and their efforts during our field- and analytical work: Prof. Dr. David Lordkipanidze, Zura Abesadze, Irakli Dschaparidze, David Gambashidze, Giorgi Gogochuri, Giorgi Gogitschaishwili, Rati Gogitschaischwili, Dr. Wolfgang Homann, A. Hornschuch, Hildegund Kordon, Jutta Korsmeier, M.A., Ingolf Lffler, M.A., Dipl.-Geol. David Melashwili, Dr. Giorgi Mindiaschwili, Bidzina Murvanidze, Dr. Malkhaz Natsvlishvili, Sergo Nadareischwili, Alex Omiadze, Nino Otchwani, Schota Oniani, Dr. Michael Prange, Thorsten Rabsilber, M.A. Dipl. Ing. Gero Steffens, Peter Thomas, M.A. Numerous others such as our workers from surrounding villages cannot be named here. This project is supported by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, Hannover, within the program Im Fokus der Wissenschaft: Lnder Mittelasiens und des Kaukasus. We are especially thankful to Prof. Dr. Andreas Hauptmann for the collaboration within the project.

Note
1 A comprehensive chronological discussion has to be awaited for the PhD-dissertation of Nino Otchvani (Tblissi/Bochum) who is investigating the Kura-Araxes ceramic complexes in the central Mashavera-valley.

Bibliography
AGRICOLA, G.: 1556 Zwlf Bcher vom Berg- und Httenwesen. bersetzt und bearbeitet von C. Schiffner et al., VDI-Verlag, Dsseldorf. BACHMANN, H.-G.: 1999 On the early metallurgy of gold. Some answers and more questions. In: A. Hauptmann, E. Pernicka, T. Rehren & . Yaln (eds.), The Beginnings of Metallurg. Proc. Intern. Conf. The Beginnings of Metallurgy, Bochum 1995. Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 9, 267-275.

198

Gold in Georgia II: The Oldest Gold Mine in the World

CRADDOCK, P.T.: 2000 Historical Survey of Gold Refining,Part I. In: A. Ramage & P. Craddock (eds.), King Croesus Gold. Excavations at Sardis and the History of Gold Refining, 27-53. London: British Museum Press 2000. Frangipane, M.: 2004 Alle origini del potere. Arslantepe, la collina die leoni. Katalog zur Ausstellung Roma, Universit La Sapienza, Milano. Frangipane, M., Di Nocera, G. M., Hauptmann, A., Morbidelli, P., Palmieri, A., Sadori, L., Schultz, M. & Schmidt-Schultz, T.: 2002 New symbols of a new power in a royal tomb from 3000 BC Arslantepe, Malatya (Turkey). Palorient 27/2, 105-139 GAMBASCHIDZE, I., HAUPTMANN, A. & STLLNER, T.: 2011 Gold in Georgia preliminary results. In: A. Hauptmann, D. Modaressi-Tehrani & M. Prange (eds.), Archaeometallurgy in Europe III. Abstracts of the International Conference. METALLA Sonderheft 4, 217-218. Gambashidze, I., Stllner, T., Hauptmann, A. Mindiaschwili, G. Gogotschuri, G. & Dschaparidze, I.: 2010 Sakdrissi - Das lteste Goldbergwerk (georg.). In: I. Gambashidze et al. (Hrsg.), Alte Metallurgie und Bergbau in Georgien im 6.-3. Jt. v. Chr. (Tblissi 2010) 53-97. HAUPTMANN, A., SCHMITT-STRECKER, S., BEGEMANN, F. & PALMIERI, M.: 2003 Chemical Composition and Lead Isotopy of Metal Objects from the Royal Tomb and Other Related Finds at Arslantepe, Eastern Anatolia. Palorient 28/2, 43-70. HAUPTMANN, A., KLEIN, S.: 2009 Bronze Age Gold in Southern Georgia. In: M. F. Guerra & T. Rehren (eds.), Aurum. Revue dArcheometrie 33, 75-82. HAUPTMANN, A., BENDALL, C., BREY, G., JAPARIZE, I., GAMBASIDZE, I., KLEIN, S., PRANGE, M. & STLLNER, T.: 2010 Gold in Georgien. Analytische Untersuchungen an Goldartefakten und an Naturgold aus dem Kaukasus und dem Transkaukasus. In: S. Hansen, A. Hauptmann, I. Motzenbcker & E. Pernicka (eds.), Von Majkop nach Trialeti Gewinnung und Verbreitung von Metallen und Obsidian in Kaukasien im 4.-2. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Beitrge des Internationalen Symposiums in Berlin vom 1.3. Juni 2006. Kolloquien zur Vor- und Frhgeschichte 13, 139-160. Bonn: Habelt 2010. Kawtaradze, G.L.: 2001 Die frhesten Metallobjekte in Zentral-Transkaukasien. In: Gambashidze et al. 2001, 136-141. Kohl, Ph. L.: 2007 The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia. Cambridge World Archaeology. Kushnareva, K.: 1997 The Southern Caucasus in Prehistory. Stages of cultural and socioeconomic devolpment from the eight to the second millennium B.C. Pensylvania University Museum Monograph 99, Philadelphia. Lyonnet, B., Akhundov, T., Almamedov, K., Bouquet, L., Courcier, A., Jellilov, B., Huseynov, F., Loute, S., Makharadze, Z. & Reynard, S.: 2010 Late Chalcolithic kurgans in Transcaucasia. The cemetery of Soyuq Bulaq (Azerbaijan). Arch. Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan 40, 2008 (2010) 27-44. Mudshiri, T. P.: 1987 Vyjavlenie pamjatnikov gornorudnogo proizvodstva Gruzii epochi pozdnej bronzy-rannego scheleza [Entdeckungen zu Denkmlern des Erzbergbaues Georgiens der Sptbronze- und Frheisenzeit]. Unpublizierter Bericht am Institut Gornoj mechaniki Im. G.A. Zulukidze, Tblissi 1987. OMIADZE, A.: 2007 Mineralogical and Petrological Analysis of Sakdrissi Deposit. MA Arbeit, Ivane Javakhishvili, Tbilisi State University.

Sagona, A.: 1984 The Caucasian Region in the Early Bronze Age. BAR Internat. Series I.3, Oxford. Sinauridze, M.: 1985 Kazretis cheobis arkeologiuri dzegleb [Archologische Denkmler aus der Kazreti Schlucht], Tblissi 1985. Stllner, T., Gambashidze, I. & Hauptmann, A.: 2008 The Earliest Gold Mining of the Ancient World? Research on an Early Bronze Age Gold Mine in Georgia. In: . Yaln, H. zbal & A.G. Paamehmetolu (eds.), Ancient Mining in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean. Internat. Conf. AMITEM 2008 (Ankara 2008) 271-288. STLLNER, T., GambaSHiDZe, I., Hauptmann, A., Min diaSHvili, G., Gogouri, G. & STEFFENS, G.: 2010 Goldbergbau in Sdostgeorgien Neue Forschungen zum frhbronzezeitlichen Bergbau in Georgien. In: S. Hansen, A. Hauptmann, I. Motzenbcker & E. Pernicka (eds.), Von Majkop nach Trialeti Gewinnung und Verbreitung von Metallen und Obsidian in Kaukasien im 4.-2. Jahrtausend v. Chr. Beitrge des Internationalen Symposiums in Berlin vom 1.3. Juni 2006. Kolloquien zur Vor- und Frhgeschichte 13, 103-138. Trifonov, V.A.: 1994 The Caucasus an the Near East in the Early Bronze Age (Fourth & third millennia BC). Oxford Journal of Archaeology 13/3, 357360. 1996 Popravki k absolyutnoi khronologyi kultur epokhi neolita bronzy severnogo Kavkaza. In: Piotrovskii, Yu (ed.), Mezhdu Aziei v Evropoi: Kavkaz IV-I tys. do n.e. Saint Peterburg. Gosudarstvennyi Ermitazh, 43-49. TVALCHRELIDZE, A.G.: 2001 Erzlagersttten in Georgien. In: I. Gambashidze, A. Hauptmann, R. Slotta & . Yan (eds.), Georgien Schtze aus dem Lande des Goldenen Vlies. Ausstellungskatalog Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum (= Verrffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen BergbauMuseum Bochum Nr. 100), 78-89. TYLECOTE, R.F.: 1987 The Early History of Metallurgy in Europe. Longman Archaeology Series, London Tschochonolidze M.: 1975 (Without year 1970ies) O drebnich razrabotkach rud blagorodnich, zvetnich, metallov i eleza v Bolnisskom rudnom Rajone Gruzii (About ancient workings on metallic and iron ores at the Georgian ore-district Bolnissi). Unpublished report of the 1970ies.

199

200