Discover Georgia
Discovery in Racha: Seashells found 1200 meters above sea level reveal unique information about Black and Caspian seas
13 September, 2016
Speleologist Yuri Davlianidze says he and his friends, Levan Lepsveridze, Temur Kirvalidze and Nodar Karashvili have discovered seashells hardened into stone in the northwestern Georgian region of Racha and that their possible age is millions of years.

- Why did you decide to explore that specific place? Did you suspect anything or was this discovery accidental?

- I became interested in that place when one of my friends told me a very interesting story. He is originally from Racha’s village of Zemo
Bari, in Oni municipality. He told me that the river Barula that flows from Zemo Bari, originates in a very large cave. He then went on to tell us that his grandfather who went to that cave very often and that it was so large that the man needed two kerosene lamps to see it all. So, we went to see that cave. The locals told us, a hunter named Petriashvili knew almost everything about that. So, we met that hunter in Zemo Bari, where only three individuals live. However, when we saw him, he couldn’t tell us anything about the cave. Others told us that the river Barula originates from Mravaldzali village.
- It was on how many meters above sea level?

- The GPS on my mobile phone said it was approximately 1200 meters. Unfortunately, we could find neither the cave nor the origin of the river. But local youths said they could show us more interesting places and so we followed them. We turned from the village and reached the so-called Chatekhili canyon that is located close to the river Barula. The youths told us that the canyon is dry most of the time and the water comes here only in spring, during heavy rains. It was very interesting and the most important thing was that we saw seashells hardened into the stones. The children told us they had some of those seashells at home too.
- So, what can it mean? How could the seashells be found 1200 meters above sea level?

- That proves the old hypothesis that in ancient times, Black and Caspian seas formed one larger body of water. As for these mountains, I am neither a geologist nor an archaeologist and I cannot tell you for sure how old are they. However, I suppose they were the bottom of that large body of water millions of years ago. That must be the same time when dinosaurs walked in what is now Sataplia and left their traces there.
By the way, this story is largely unknown and not even the population of Zemo Bari is aware of this interesting hypothesis. So, we think, this must be a very important discovery.

By Irma Kharshiladze for Kviris Palitra

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