The Manglisi Project

Do you want to join us on a journey of discovery? The Manglisi Project offers the unique and exciting chance to be involved in a brand-new international research initiative full of adventure, archaeology and of course world-famous Georgian wine. Whether you simply wish to excavate our medieval settlement, uncover the bones of your early ancestors or be responsible for discovering new ground-breaking sites, our archaeologically rich project is the ideal summer vacation for you. We welcome all students and keen non-students, wanting an archaeological experience of a lifetime. Feel welcome and valued whilst excavating a previously untouched historic Georgian landscape.


Manglisi is situated in south-east Georgia in the region of Kvemo Kartli on the southern slopes of the Trialeti Range, Lesser Caucasus. The region is an area of natural beauty and is steeped in history. In the 4th century Manglisi acted as one of the earliest centres for early Christianity in the region. In 2017, an extremely large mountainous private reserve was surveyed for archaeological potential and over 30 sites encompassing Palaeolithic, Bronze Age, early Christian and medieval were identified. The landscape is extremely challenging in parts, but efforts have been made to enable access to many of the newly discovered sites. Therefore in 2018 Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia, under the guidance of Dr Nika Tushabramishvili, began test excavations in the reserve on Bronze Age and medieval sites. What they found was a hidden medieval settlement with a church and numerous Bronze Age and later burials.

The reserve has the potential to produce in excess of 100 sites, and therefore is of regional an international significance. The landscape is littered with evidence of human past across a number of multi-period archaeological settings ranging from early prehistory to later medieval. Dr Nika Tushabramishvili has even discovered caves in the area containing burials and Palaeolithic implements. In 2020, Past to Present Archaeology will be supporting the project by continuing excavations while opening test excavations in new locations. These are the early stages of a long-term research initiative to evaluate, excavate and understand the network of archaeological sites hidden in all parts of the reserve, and we want you to be a part of our adventure. Not only will you make new and interesting discoveries, but you will experience Georgian culture, cuisine, the beautiful landscape of the Caucasus Mountains and their exceptional wine.


31st May to 27th June 2020 (four weeks)

28th June to 25th July 2020 (four weeks)

Our sites are situated in a protected private reserve and currently focus on a Bronze Age burial landscape and medieval settlement. The project is in its infancy and therefore participants would have the chance to not only work on the ongoing excavations but undertake survey and test excavations on newly identified sites. Our friendly, approachable and knowledgeable specialist team will instruct you to a British professional standard and we offer training in the following disciplines tailored to either beginners or those looking to enhance their excavation skills:

· Excavation and recording techniques

· Environmental sampling and processing

· Finds processing (Osteological short-course subject to numbers)

· Archaeological survey (including GIS mapping and digitization of archaeological drawings)

· Geophysical survey

Excavation activities will include, stratigraphic excavation, photography and full recording of archaeological features and deposits, archaeological site survey and planning. During your time with the environmental team you will have the opportunity to collect samples, process them and analyse the results. Our finds processing and artefact studies area will allow you to handle artefacts, process them and photograph them for our catalogues. If you have a specific specialism, we can tailor your experience to suit your needs. The archaeological survey team will undertake field walkovers, distribution analysis, survey the landscape and undertake test excavations to identify new sites. Finally, geophysical survey for interested individuals is on offer. You will learn how to operate equipment and understand the results.

You will have the opportunity to participate in all activities, but full courses in environmental sampling and processing and artefact studies are offered.

No formal credits are offered but each participant will have the opportunity to complete a skills passport.

During your four week stay, we will take you on two excursions, scheduled for the end of your 1st and 3rd weeks. Your first visit will be to the world famous early hominin site of Dmanisi, where the cranial remains of early hominins was discovered during excavating of a medieval settlement. Our second trip will take you to Dzalisi, an ancient Georgian archaeological site where excavations revealed the remains of four palaces with hypocaustic baths, acropolis, swimming pools, administrative areas, water supply system, burial grounds and impressive mosaics. At the end of the second week you will have the opportunity to explore Tbilisi if you wish.

A room will be made available inside the main house for anyone with religious needs. During the evenings you will have the option to engage with our optional nightly entertainment, such as, karaoke, quizzes, talks, board games and fun team-building activities. There will be an evening campfire to relax by and a telescope for anyone wishing to view planets in the clear, unpolluted Georgian night skies. As a souvenir of participating in our project, you will each receive a custom t-shirt, which will accompany other goodies in your welcome pack. Evening lectures will be provided by Past to Present staff or by Ilia State University, and there is some surprise Friday night entertainment on offer too.

Full-board is included in your donation. You will be staying in the shared space accommodation split across three houses on the reserve, sleeping a maximum of four to a bedroom. The accommodation provides 4 showers, 3 toilets and 4 wash basins, Wi-Fi is also available.

A delicious hot evening meal will allow you to sample all the best that Georgian cuisine has to offer. Meals will be served on a veranda in front of the manin house, and are provided by our excellent hosts. At time of booking, please indicate any dietary allergies.


For a four-week block either June or July, the total inclusive cost is £2000 ($2650). Alternatively come and stay with us for two weeks for £1300 ($1720).

Fee includes educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation, a welcome pack, skills passport, administrative costs, evening entertainment and excursions included and even some world-famous Georgian wine 😉 Trips to a local shop will take place twice a week. Flights are not included. A non-refundable 25% deposit is required within 2 weeks of acceptance to secure your place.

The deadline for booking is the 31st March 2020 for places in the summer of 2020. Places are limited and are given on a first come first served basis. To book please follow the link below.

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