Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationJohn Cronin and Associates
Grant numberGr. 9774
Approve DateApril 28, 2019
Project TitleAnderson, William (John Cronin and Associates) "Multitemporality and the persistence of practice in the south Caucasus highlands"
WILLIAM ANDERSON, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, was awarded funding in April 2019 to aid research on “Multitemporality and the Persistence of Practice in the South Caucasus Highlands.” Agropastoral farming communities who combine transhumance with settled cultivation have shaped the highland Caucasus landscape into a mosaic of villages, droveways and terraced fields. The formation of this landscape over long timespans — through varied social and environmental conditions — has involved people engaging with the knowledge and material fabric of societies from the distant past. Archaeological investigations in the mountains of Samtskhe-Javakheti province, Georgia, examined how interactions with ancient places and objects by successor populations shaped settlement and land-use practices. The project focused on Varneti, a complex of sites along a ridge of the upper Kura River valley, where occupation spans more than six millennia. Excavations on the summit of Tavghalo Hill revealed monumental, Classical-era structures of the 5th to 2nd centuries BC that overlay Late Bronze Age occupation; nearby tracks and enclosures were formed in the late antique and medieval period, from which time settlement transferred further downhill. Classical and medieval Varneti maintained its earlier significance as a strategic interface between valley and upland pasture, but shifting usage of the place was accompanied by subtle changes in the topographic and elevational focus. Rather than replicating prehistoric modes of land use, the material past was referenced and reconfigured for contemporary purposes.