Scientist Study Confirms Georgian Writing Dates Back 3,000 Years

TBILISI – US Based radiocarbon dating laboratory Beta Analytic has confirmed that a fragment of unidentified Georgian writing found at Grakliani Hill, near the main highway, in 2015, in fact dates back 2700 years.

This new unique discovery suggests that an alphabet was used on the territory of Georgia 2700 years ago, far earlier than previously thought.

Scientists claim that this is the oldest script to be discovered in the whole Caucasus region.

Last year, an archaeological expedition from the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) discovered a one line inscription of as yet unknown Georgian writing on the altar pedestal of a 7th century BC temple dedicated to a fertility goddess at Grakliani Hill, in the eastern Kaspi region.

Head of the Institute of Archaeology of Georgia’s State University, Vakhtang Licheli, said with this "significant discovery”, Georgia steps up among the elite civilizations that used written languages thousands of years ago.

“We sent the three samples to Beta Analytic laboratory in Miami and a few days ago received a sensational result. They confirmed that those findings date back to the 11th or 10th century BC,” he said.

"The writings on the two altars of the temple are really well preserved. On the one altar several letters are carved in clay while the second altar’s pedestal is wholly covered with writings,” Licheli said.

The TSU professor believes that the inscription is so important it goes beyond the limits of Georgian science and will be the subject of an international study. "The new discovery will change the particular stage of the history of the world’s manuscripts,” he said.

Glakliani Hill is believed to be the only monument to reveal almost all layers of human development, a non–stop 300,000 year chain from the Stone Age onward.

Until now, the Bolnisi inscriptions were believed to be the oldest Georgian language inscriptions, written in the Georgian Asomtavruli script on the Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral, a basilica located in Bolnisi Municipality, Georgia. The inscriptions were dated 494 AD. This meant among the world’s 14 writing systems, Georgian was ranked as the fifth oldest script.

The new discovery should change the world ranking, as the Grakliani writing is now the third oldest writing system following on from the 3,500-year-old Chinese hieroglyphs and Cuneiform script.

Photo: Ministry of Culture

25 July 2016 22:10