Early Inhabitants Of Georgia

Exploring The Archaeological And Cultural Journey Of Georgia's Ancient Communities

Georgia, a country with a deep-rooted history, has been a subject of significant archaeological interest, especially regarding its early inhabitants. This article delves into the prehistoric era of Georgia, focusing on the evidence and discoveries that shed light on the lives of its earliest residents. The essence of this exploration lies in understanding who these early inhabitants were, their way of life, and their contribution to the historical tapestry of Georgia.

The Dawn Of Human Settlement

The story of Georgia's early inhabitants begins in the Paleolithic era, approximately 1.8 million years ago. The most notable discovery that marked this era was in Dmanisi, a town in southern Georgia. Archaeologists unearthed remains that are among the oldest evidence of human ancestors outside Africa. These findings include skulls, jawbones, and tools belonging to Homo erectus, showcasing a significant chapter in human evolution. The tools, primarily made of stone, exhibit the early stages of human tool-making skills.

The Mesolithic To Neolithic Transition

Fast forwarding to the Mesolithic era, around 15,000 to 8,000 BCE, the region saw a gradual shift in lifestyle. The end of the Ice Age brought about climatic changes, influencing the way early Georgians lived. In this period, there was a notable transition from hunting and gathering to more settled forms of agriculture. This change is evident in the archaeological sites found in the region, which include remains of early agricultural practices and domestication of animals.

The Neolithic era, starting around 8,000 BCE, marked a significant advancement in the lifestyle of Georgia's early inhabitants. This period saw the development of pottery, advanced tool-making techniques, and the establishment of permanent settlements. Excavations in settlements like Shulaveri-Shomu in the Kvemo Kartli region provide insight into this era. The artifacts found here, including pottery, agricultural tools, and remnants of structures, highlight a community that was transitioning into a more settled and organized form of living.

The Bronze Age: A Period Of Flourishing Culture

The Bronze Age, beginning around 3,500 BCE, is when Georgia's early history starts to become more vivid. This era is characterized by the use of bronze tools and weapons, and the emergence of early forms of writing and complex societal structures. In this period, Georgia saw the development of distinct cultural groups, each with its own unique traits. The Trialeti culture, for instance, is known for its large burial mounds, known as kurgans, which contain a wealth of artifacts that provide insights into the societal structures, beliefs, and daily life of these early Georgians.

The Iron Age: Emergence Of Complex Societies

Transitioning into the Iron Age, around 1,100 BCE, Georgia witnessed the rise of more complex societal structures. The introduction of iron tools and weapons facilitated advancements in agriculture, warfare, and crafts. This period is marked by the establishment of early kingdoms and the development of trade networks. The discovery of richly furnished graves in Vani, a site in western Georgia, points to a society with a complex social hierarchy and rich cultural practices. These graves contained gold and silver ornaments, pottery, and iron weapons, indicating a society that had advanced metallurgically and artistically.

The Cultural And Economic Life In Early Georgia

As we delve deeper into the Iron Age in Georgia, the cultural and economic aspects of these early societies become increasingly apparent. The region, due to its geographical position, became a melting pot of various influences, from the Near East to the Eurasian steppes. This cross-cultural interaction is evident in the artifacts found, including jewelry, pottery, and weapons, which exhibit a blend of local and foreign craftsmanship.

One significant aspect of this era was the development of metallurgy. Georgian tribes became proficient in working with iron, leading to the production of superior weapons and tools. This advancement not only improved agricultural practices but also had a profound impact on trade. Georgia, with its rich resources, notably metals and timber, became an important player in the regional trade networks.

The economic prosperity of these times is also reflected in the burial practices. The graves from this period, particularly in western Georgia, display a wealth of goods, suggesting a society with a well-established social hierarchy and wealth distribution system. These goods, ranging from everyday household items to luxury goods, provide a glimpse into the daily life and socio-economic conditions of the early Georgians.

The Role Of Religion And Mythology

Religion and mythology played a pivotal role in the lives of Georgia's early inhabitants. The archaeological evidence points towards a rich tapestry of religious beliefs and practices. The discovery of various figurines and sacrificial altars suggests that these early societies practiced animism and worshipped natural elements and deities. The religious practices were closely intertwined with their daily life and agricultural cycles, indicating a deep reverence for nature and its forces.

In addition, the Iron Age in Georgia is noted for the emergence of more organized forms of religious practices. This is evident from the construction of temples and religious sanctuaries, which became centers of spiritual and social life. The religious beliefs of these times laid the foundation for the rich mythological tradition that Georgia is known for, influencing its cultural and artistic expressions for centuries to come.

Early Georgian Societal Structure And Governance

The societal structure during the Iron Age in Georgia was complex and hierarchical. The presence of richly furnished graves, along with the remains of large architectural structures, suggests the existence of a ruling class. This class, likely composed of chieftains or kings, wielded significant power and influence.

The governance in these early societies was probably based on a combination of tribal and monarchical systems. Tribal councils, comprising elders and influential members, likely played a key role in decision-making and maintaining social order. The distribution of wealth and artifacts found in archaeological sites indicates a society with distinct social classes, including warriors, priests, artisans, and farmers.


The journey through Georgia's prehistoric past reveals a story of human resilience, innovation, and cultural amalgamation. From the early Homo erectus at Dmanisi to the sophisticated societies of the Iron Age, Georgia's early inhabitants laid the foundations of a rich and enduring cultural heritage. The archaeological discoveries, ranging from primitive tools to exquisite gold jewelry, paint a vivid picture of these ancient societies. They were not just survivors of their time but were architects of a culture that resonated through millennia, influencing the course of Georgia's history and its identity as a nation.

This exploration, grounded in archaeological evidence and scientific research of Georgia's early inhabitants. Their story is a testament to the enduring human spirit and its capacity to adapt, innovate, and thrive in a changing world.

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