Skip to navigation – Site map
Case studies

Geoarchaeology of Phasis (Georgia)

Géoarchéologie du Phasis (Géorgie)
Vakhtang Licheli
p. 119-128


The City of Phasis is located on the East coast of the Black Sea (Georgia). The location of the biggest and most successful of the colonies established by Ionian Greeks is still not known, a subject that has attracted interest from scholars for almost two hundred years. Based on written sources, geomorphological and archeological data, it is assumed that, due to tectonic and geomorphological changes, part of the ancient settlement/cultural layers dating back to the 1st mill. BC are below current sea level. These two changes mean that the present landscape is completely different to the 1st mill. BC situation. This observation is significant in resolving Phasis’s location. We report that: 1. The Greeks did not establish the city of Phasis adjacent to a lake. 2. The early city was located north of the river. 3. Early Phasis (6th-4th c. BC) is consistent with the settlement of Sagvichio or east of it.

Top of page



Full-text article available to subscribers or on a "pay per view" basis. It will be available on this URL in January 2020.
Read it


1 - Culture of the Pre-colonial Phasis area
2 - Phasis – problem of identification
3 - Archaeological findings
4 - Peat in the Phasis area
5 - Stratigraphy of the settlement of the “colonial area”
6 - The coastline, lake and city of Phasis

First lines

1 - Culture of the Pre-colonial Phasis area

Colchis kingdom, where Miletus established the city of Phasis, was considered as being at the edge of the world both during the Greek colonization and in the following period as well [Socrates: “and then I believe that the earth is extremely large, and that we who live between the pillars of Heracles and Phasis inhabit some small part of it around the sea” (DILLON and GARLAND, 2010)]. At the end of the 2nd mill. BC and at the beginning of the 1st mill. BC Colchis appeared to be one of the most developed state/tribal units in the Caucasus region (LORDKIPANIDZE, 2001). As a result of archeological investigations a most impressive picture of the society’s development has been revealed: developed bronze and iron metallurgy, agriculture (producing wheat, millet, fiber and oil plants; wine), traditional architecture (wooden construction), artwork, a developed society and harsh differentiation of property. This is the most significant period in th...

Top of page


Electronic reference

Vakhtang Licheli, « Geoarchaeology of Phasis (Georgia) », Méditerranée [Online], 126 | 2016, Online since 01 January 2018, connection on 19 January 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/mediterranee.8317

Top of page

About the author

Vakhtang Licheli

Institute of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, Tbilisi, Georgia,

Top of page


Tous droits réservés

Top of page