Georgia: Gadachrili Gora

* Note: 2022 details will be posted in December 2021.

This will be the fourth year of the University of Toronto’s summer program in Georgia. The Gadachrili Gora Regional Archaeological Project Expedition (GRAPE) is an international multidisciplinary research project investigating the emergence of farming economies in the South Caucasus and the influence of the Near East on the development of local Neolithic cultures and, conversely, the influence of Caucasia on the Near East. This program provides a unique opportunity to receive intensive training in archaeological field and survey methods at the sites of Gadachrili Gora and Shulaveris Gora. Spaces in the course are limited.

Be part of the research team that uncovered the earliest evidence of winemaking! The 2017 Summer Abroad Program in Georgia took part in this incredible discovery under the supervision of researchers from the GRAPE. We continue to offer this opportunity to contribute to the search for the origins of wine production through the 2020 Summer Abroad program in Georgia.

View of archaeological site

Regional Archaeological Project Expedition

  • University of Toronto students join the GRAPE team to resume excavations at Gadachrili Gora and other settlements in the region and the search for evidence of early winemaking.
  • Students will be trained in the latest archaeological field methods and will participate in the investigation of ancient and modern wine production, craft production, lithic industries, local/regional exchange networks and domestic architecture.
  • The important discoveries made by GRAPE and its international partners thus far have drawn the attention of the international media. Prospective students will have a unique opportunity to contribute greatly to the search for the origins of wine production in the beautiful Republic of Georgia.

Program Details

Project Description

Gadachrili Gora is a Neolithic village located on the Shulaveris Ghele, a tributary of the Khrami River near the city of Marneuli in the Kvemo Kartli region of the Republic of Georgia. The excavations are undertaken by the Georgian National Museum, under the directorship of Mindia Jalabadze. Gadachrili Gora forms part of a trio of Neolithic villages, including Shulaveris and Imeri Gora. These villages have been dated to the sixth millennium BCE and are part of the Shulaveris-Shomu Culture, which can be found across central Caucasia and represents one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures of the region.

Significant genetic density of different types of certain domesticated plants found in the South Caucasus today has led many to consider this region an important ancient centre for the domestication and diversification of various cultivated plants. With over 500 varieties of grape, one of largest in the world, it has long been suggested that Transcaucasia is the ancient homeland of the vine.

Excavations at Gadachrili Gora were initially undertaken in the 1960s by the Georgian State Museum. In 2006–07 and again in 2012–13 excavations were re-initiated by the Georgian National Museum (in conjunction with the CNRS of France). These excavations have so far uncovered some of the earliest examples of domesticated grape pips, dating to approximately 5950 BCE. In addition, recent efforts have uncovered some of the largest circular mud-brick buildings dating to this period found to date, further suggesting the importance of Gadachrili Gora in the Neolithic landscape.

The excavations are sponsored by the Georgian Wine Association and the National Wine Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture under the umbrella of a larger international project entitled Research and Popularization of Georgian Grape and Wine Culture, which aims to investigate the roots of wine production in the ancient world.

Program Activities

There will be several weekly field trips around the region, visiting other archaeological and historical sites, as well as wineries and museums.

  • Welcome and Farewell Georgian Supra
  • Experimental archaeology sessions – pottery and lithic manufacture
  • Local community engagement at several public events (e.g., Georgian Independence Day)
Group of people in an excavation site

Georgia Summer Abroad: News and Highlights

Learn more about the Georgia Summer Abroad Program through videos, past events and articles.

Questions? Email: or book a virtual appointment.