Emperor Vespasian’s baths… In Gonio
04 September, 2014
Emperor Vespasian’s baths… In Gonio
Georgian-Polish joint archeological expedition has unearthed extremely old Roman baths and ruins of other buildings at the territory of a fortress in Gonio-Apsarosi , located in the Adjara region in southwestern part of Georgia. The baths date back to 1st century A.D., and according to archeologists’ estimates, were built in its second half, during the rule of Emperor Vespasian.
The archeological dig was conducted by both Adjara’s Cultural Heritage Protection Agency’s Gonio-Apsarosi Museum-Preserve and the Archeological Institute of Warsaw University.
The first stage of the expedition is already complete. In expectation of more archeological discoveries, the second stage is planned for 2015.
Head of the Polish side of the expedition declares that the baths were most likely built for Roman legionnaires stationed in Western Georgia. Mosaics decorating their floors point at the significance of these baths for the Romans. Polish archeologists, together with Georgian ones, plan to unearth the baths in their entirety, conserve the ruins and build a roof over them.

Shota Mamuladze, professor of Gonio-Apsarosi Museum-Preserve and head of the expedition, explained the discovery in detail:

“We have discovered remains of buildings that date back to I and III centuries A.D., among them Roman baths, which we managed to study only partially. Among our discoveries is a tiled floor, a water reservoir and the remnants of a mosaic. The latter fact points at the particular significance of the bath.

– Which Roman forces and how many of them were stationed in Gonio?

– Five cohorts total, according to historians, but there is no data regarding whether they were legionnaires or auxiliaries. However, insignias discovered at the site point at auxiliaries. We even know the designations of the cohorts. One cohort was comprised from 200 to 300 soldiers. Here at the fortress, from 1,000 to 1,200 people were garrisoned, which was enough for exercising control of both land and marine routes, as well as keeping an eye on and preventing possible threats from the north.

– You mentioned that archeological research was conducted in four areas. What else did you uncover?

– Besides the baths, some quite interesting ruins were unearthed. Soldier barracks, discovered in the southeastern part of the fortress, were a particularly interesting find: they are equipped with a multi-tiered floor and some parts have hypocaust heating. Plumbing and sewer systems are also present. Cultural sediments of various epochs have also been found in the same location. For example, remnants of certain settlements can be found here, dating back to VIII-VII centuries BC, which seem to be dedicated to a cult. They are chronologically followed by Roman sediments, dating back to I-III centuries A.D. and are represented by two construction styles. The same region is also home to cultural sediments of the Ottoman Empire (XVI-XIX centuries), which are distinguished by the relatively modern plumbing, tiles and other remnants. In the southwestern part of the fortress, more Roman ruins were unearthed, especially distinguished by the discovery of furnaces designed for working with ceramics.

Gonio-Apsarosi Fortress (222m length, 195m width, total area – 4.75 ha)

Located 12 km from the city of Batumi, it lies on the left shore of the Tchorokhi River (known as Apsarosi/Akampsisi/Harpasosi in the past). This is the region where Colchian metallurgy was born and the first Georgian states, Kolkha and Diaokhi, were formed (XIII-VIII centuries BC). According to Roman and Byzantine written sources, it was in this period when Apsaros was established as a settlement. As various historians and ethnographers claim, among them are Stephanus of Byzantium, Artemidorus Ephesius and Procopius of Caesarea. The name of the settlement is related to the Argonauts’ journey to Colchis, their murder of Absyrtus, son of Aeetes and his burial here.
According to Pliny the Elder, the fortress was already built by 77 A.D. Apsaros was a strategic, political, economical and cultural center of Rome’s eastern border. Five auxiliary cohorts (about 1,200-1,500 soldiers) were stationed here; there also was a functional theater and a hippodrome. According to some sources (Epiphanius of Salamis, Sophron and others) this is the final resting place of apostle Matthias. In the 40s of the VI century, Byzantines established themselves in Apsaros and in X century this place became known as Akampsi. In the XII century it was renamed Gonio. From 1547 to 1878, a significant Ottoman force was stationed here.
Among the first to become interested in the fortress’s history was Heinrich Schliemann, Nicholas Marr and Fyodor Uspensky. Archeological digs at the site began in the 60s of the past century.
Print
Other Stories
Get to know Georgian Inventor Students travelling to NASA Space Center
Sophio Chikhladze (Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy), Mariam Gamrekelashvili, Giorgi Rigishvili, Aleksandre Kajaia (School AIA-GESS) and Iona Iobidze (Kutaisi School Progress)
Georgian village, where nearly everybody could sing
It became necessary to construct a new building for a hotel
One Night Trip to Breathtaking Kazbegi
Georgian photographer Giorgi Shermazanashvili has recently visited Kazbegi
Atlas Obscura about the Foundation of Tbilisi and Sulfur Baths
Atlas Obscure has recently devoted an article to the sulfur baths in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
5 facts about Georgian wine
Georgia claims to be the cradle of wine.
A road from Mestia to Chalaadi Glacier
"Are these mountains real?" this question was asked by a tourist from Dubai visiting Svaneti.
Explore Tbilisi during Spring Nights
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia founded in the 5th century.
Laboratory of Eshera – Secret Facility in Abkhazia That Remains a Mystery till Today
The truth about a cave located in Abkhazia and, presumably, housing Russian military base and a secret seismological laboratory, remains largely unknown to the public.
Celebrate warm spring days in Georgia
Spring has come and the nature of Georgia is becoming greener and greener every day.
The loggerhead sea turtle, found in Black Sea, remains in Georgia for rehabilitation
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was found off Black Sea coast in Poti
Stefan Rohner’s Bike Tour in Georgia: Fresh Start with Chacha
Stefan Rohner, a traveler rode to Georgia, visited and took photos of beautiful places in the country.
Lado Apkhazava congratulates Peter Tabichi on his victory
The winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2019 was announced at an awarding ceremony in Dubai.
Surami Fortress captured by Georgian photographers
Surami is a mountain resort surrounded by evergreen coniferous forest.
Zviad Tsikolia working on the First Georgian Airplane “Lizi”
Zviad Tsikolia, a Georgian designer, has been refining the first Georgian airplane model “Lizi”.
Georgian Watch Brand “Tsikolia” may bring the production from Switzerland to Georgia
Georgian designer Zviad Tsikolia may bring the production of his watch brand from Switzerland to Georgia.
Newsweek: Georgia is Europe’s New Cultural Hub
“The former Soviet Republic of Georgia is the hot new place for travelers in the know,”
“As If God himself created Tbilisi…” – What does a Lebanese Tourist say about Georgia?
Tbilisi – the city of churches which has nothing to do with the American Dream.
From Tbilisi Civil War to the Present Day
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia relegated its turbulent days of the civil war to the past.
American Traveler impressed with Georgia
Nicole Heker is a traveler from the U.S. Nicole has been traveling for 4 years.
5	Differences between a country and a state of Georgia
Georgia is internationally recognized as one of the most interesting and popular destinations.
Why is Georgia Land of The Wolves?
Georgia is described as Land of The Wolves on the map published by the Culture Trip.
Mila Kunis appears in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere
Mila Kunis appeared in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere on the 10th of March.
Dwellers of a village in Afghanistan call themselves Gurjis
The 31st battalion of Georgian armed forces in Afghanistan has brought great news to Georgians.
Sulguni with Lapland Motives
Marika Niklason from Georgia, lives in Asele in the south part of Swedish Lapland, with her husband and children and produces Georgian smoked cheese called “Lapplands Mejeri”.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
18.04.2019
19.04.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6931
2.6939
EUR
1
EUR
3.0456
3.0323
GBP
1
GBP
3.5137
3.5053
RUB
100
RUB
4.2150
4.2087