GIS in paleogeographic and historical reconstructions of the coastal zone of Northwstern Colchis in the ancient and medieval periods

DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2023-2-29-277-290

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About the Authors

Galina V. Trebeleva

Institute of Archaeology Russian Academy of Sciences,
19, Dmitriya Ul’anova str., Moscow, 117292, Russia,

Andrey S. Kizilov

Federal Research Centre the Subtropical Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
2/28, Yana Fabritsiusa str., Sochi, Krasnodarskij Krai, 354002, Russia,

Vladlen G. Yurkov

Institute of Archaeology Russian Academy of Sciences,
19, Dmitriya Ul’anova str., Moscow, 117292, Russia,

Vasiliy A. Lobkovskiy

Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
29, Staromonetny per., Moscow, 119017, Russia,


For northwestern Colchis, many questions about both the ancient Greek colonization and the later Roman presence remain controversial. To a large extent, this is due to the poor preservation of the archaeological sites of the coastal area, which is one of the most dynamically changing natural formations. Therefore, one of the main objectives of the study was to investigate the paleo-landscape and paleo-climate of the area. At present, there is a lack of research in this area. For this purpose, a special GIS of the north-western coast of Colchis was created, which allows the summary, combination and analysis of data and results from various studies (historical, archaeological, paleogeographical, etc.), cartographic material (including historical coastline maps) and UAV surveys. In order to analyze the coastline of the study area, a series of maps were digitized. This allowed the different timelines of the coastline in ancient and medieval times to be represented in a GIS and combined with a modern map of the depth of the sea near the coastline. It was found that in contrast to modern times, the Black Sea coastline in the study area was more indented in ancient and medieval times, necessitating more detailed study of individual areas selected based on GIS analysis of the spatial location of archaeological sites. They were described, and soil samples were taken for further analysis during the field season of 2022. The discovery of a previously unrecorded Holocene marine terrace system was one of the interesting results of the survey. The analysis of the location of archaeological sites in GIS has shown that Byzantine and Medieval sites were mainly recorded on the coast. Ancient sites are mostly found in areas with strong accumulation of rivers (Pitsunda, Sukhumi Cape), while they are often located relatively far from the coast. The GIS currently contains information on 1 780 archaeological sites and will be updated with paleogeographic data on selected Holocene terraces and soil samples.


geographic information system, Northwestern Colchis, historical maps, archeological monuments


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For citation: Trebeleva G.V., Kizilov A.S., Yurkov V.G., Lobkovskiy V.A. GIS in paleogeographic and historical reconstructions of the coastal zone of Northwstern Colchis in the ancient and medieval periods. InterCarto. InterGIS. GI support of sustainable development of territories: Proceedings of the International conference. Moscow: MSU, Faculty of Geography, 2023. V. 29. Part 2. P. 277–290. DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2023-2-29-277-290 (in Russian)