Headless skeletons and burials of skulls discovered in Georgia

Unusual burials were discovered by a joint team of Polish and Georgian archaeologists that conducted excavations on the Beshtasheni burial site, south-eastern Georgia. This season over 16 graves were excavated, dating back to Late Bronze and Early Iron Age.

Excavations at the site (by Katarzyna Pawłowska)
Excavations at the site (by Katarzyna Pawłowska)

The Georgian-Polish Archaeological Expedition in Beshtasheni consisted of archaeologists from Institute of Archaeology of University of Warsaw and Georgian National Museum. The discovered graves are dated between 13th and 6th century BC. Most of them were covered with either a stone or dirt mound, either large stone slabs. Most extraordinary was a double burial of a man and a woman that were found decapitated within the grave.

Double burial of two headless individuals (by Katarzyna Pawłowska)
Double burial of two headless individuals (by Katarzyna Pawłowska)

The man was between 19-25 years old and the woman between 17-25 years old at the time of death. The woman’s skeleton had two bronze points within the skeleton, which probably were the direct cause of her death. Beside them the buried had an iron dagger, as bronze pin with geometrical motifs and a couple of clay vessels.

Bronze arrowhead seen under the ribs of the deceased woman in the double grave (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili )
Bronze arrowhead seen under the ribs of the deceased woman in the double grave (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili)

Another grave contained only a head of a woman, possible between 17-25 at time of death. The skull was placed on a flat clay plate surrounded by other small vessels, beads and small metal objects. The last ones are hard to identify at present, due to their poor condition.

Burial of a skull (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili )
Burial of a skull (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili)

Largest of the graves contained a burial of a man placed in foetal position. He was equipped with a dagger measuring nearly half a metre in length. The weapon was decorated with depictions of deers and horses. Other finds include a set of bronze arrows and iron, a horn, animal bones, and a pin decorated with geometrical motifs. Additionally a whole pig was placed in the corner of the grave.

Largest burial discovered this season (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili )
Largest burial discovered this season (by Dimitri Narimanisvhili)

(after Nauka w Polsce, Dimitri Narimanisvhili & Katarzyna Pawłowska)

3 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Where could one find more write ups on this project?


    1. // Reply

      We’re not sure whether a project site exists, but you can follow publications of the Polish coordinator of the project, Jacek Hamburg, on his Academia.edu profile:
      https://uw.academia.edu/JacekHamburg
      and also here, as we will inform about any developments in this intriguing case.
      -Archaeofeed.com Staff

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