On the Semantics of the Trialeti Petroglyphs

Main Article Content

Maia Izoria
Ana Kldiashvili


The article discusses Trialeti petroglyphs - prehistoric rock art discovered in the Southern Georgia, Tsalka district of the Kvemo Kartli (Eng. Lower Kartli) region, village of Gantiadi (Eng. Dawn). They were found in the canyon-like valley of the Avdriskhevi river on the bare rocks of the river terraces. According to the typological characteristics of the lithics they date back to the Mesolithic period, as well as the early and late Bronze Age.

The study which started in the late 1990s focuses on the Trialeti petroglyphs. Results of the research were published in 2001 in the book “Georgia I” being the first attempt to analyze the bare rock scraped images from the art historical point of view. The images from different periods revealed that for an extended period this massive rocky area, historically known as Trialeti, served as a sacred (holy) site.

Based on the semantic structure of the scraped images, it became clear, that the scholars were dealing with conventional forms, i. e. the images conditioned by the social customs and the belief systems of their creators. The petroglyphs should not be understood as direct illustrations (mimesis) of hunting scenes, but rather a depiction of sacred and symbolic essence of hunting. Pictorial language of the Trialeti petroglyphs is very laconic and schematic with no analogues found in the world. All discovered details point to a continuous presence of a certain tradition on the territory. It takes its origin from the ancient times and demonstrates unbroken and consistent development over a long period of time.

Published: Nov 13, 2022

Article Details

How to Cite
Izoria, M., & Kldiashvili, A. (2022). On the Semantics of the Trialeti Petroglyphs. Academia, 107–115. Retrieved from https://academia.openjournals.ge/index.php/academia/article/view/3548