Visiting the Dmanisi Archaeological Site

Some of the earliest hominid remains outside of Africa have been found at the archaeological site of Dmanisi. The remains have been dated to 1.8 million years ago. Several of the skulls are typically on display at the Georgain National Museum. The museum was unfortunately closed for renovations. I was determined to at least see the site. The site, as it turned out, was closed until the peak tourist season (beginning in May) and guarded by three policeman sitting around doing nothing. If not for a friendly Georgian man named Vassily, a friendly man and his carload of small children, a friendly dog, an amazing landscape, an old church, medieval ruins, engraved stone sheep and an open excavation our trip to Dmanisi might have been a complete waste of time…

Travelling to Dmanisi from Tbilisi - metro from Rustaveli to Sangori/Samgori. Exit Sangori station to the right and walk to the far end of the car park. First bus leaves at 9 (or earlier if full). 6 lari.


After roughly 1.5 hours on the bus, we passed an intersection with a Dmanisi billboard and a Dmanisi sign (16km) pointing to the right. The bus driver told us to get off but the locals decided this was not the best place. We got back on the bus and drove another 2km or so up hill passed a small village. Near the peak of the hill, as the building density thinned into farmland, we got out woth Vassilli who guided us along a path on the left side of the road through the farms to a ridge line.


Walking along the ridgeline...


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Vassilli then led us down a path to the road below. We kept walking towards the bridge in front of the arse-end of the Dmanisi promenatory. A car came by. Vassily stopped it and ushered us in. Five small children squished together to fit us three adults in. A kilometre later we were at the entrance to The Dmanisi archaeological site.


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Walking back towards the bridge.

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More photos (including excavation photos) at Flickr

Overview of the history of Dmanisi

More info on the importance of the Dmanisi fossils.

For a summary of the geology, history of excavations and maps of the site see Chapter 3 of Adam Van Arsdale’s thesis

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4 Responses to Visiting the Dmanisi Archaeological Site

  1. Katie says:

    That is absolutely fantastic! What an amazing experience! Thank goodness for Vassily.

  2. Flit says:

    Amazing, simply amazing! Jealously is running high as always. Some of those ruins are simply breathtaking! And you got to be that close? With only yourselves and a dog? Brilliant!

    Also, that panoramic shot with you and that dog is brilliant and you need to put that up in your office one day when you’re back in the real world (don’t rush that, though) 😛

    That’s just amazing, and you’re so damn lucky. I think I need to go there. But will continue to live vicariously through you for a while longer.

  3. swabby429 says:

    Incredible artifacts in a stunning landscape.

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