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Interdisciplinary Study of Endangered Medieval Cave Monasteries of David-Gareji

Titel Englisch Interdisciplinary Study of Endangered Medieval Cave Monasteries of David-Gareji
Gesuchsteller/in Rey André-Louis
Nummer 128191
Förderungsinstrument SCOPES
Forschungseinrichtung Département des sciences de l'antiquité Faculté des lettres Université de Genève
Hochschule Universität Genf - GE
Hauptdisziplin Archäologie
Beginn/Ende 01.11.2009 - 31.07.2013
Bewilligter Betrag 100'000.00
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Alle Disziplinen (6)

Weitere Sprachen
Religionswissenschaften, Theologie
Allgemeine Geschichte (ohne Ur- und Frühgeschichte)

Keywords (15)

archéologie géorgienne; monachisme oriental; art chrétien médiéval; histoire médiévale; théologie orthodoxe; littérature chrétienne médiévale; architecture médiévale; Georgian archaeology; Eastern monasticism; Medieval Christian art; Medieval history; Medieval architecture; Orthodox theology; Christian medieval literature; Hagiography

Lay Summary (Englisch)

Lay summary
Some important cave monasteries belonging to the David-Gareji complex in Georgia are exposed to a short-term risk of collapsing. The project will realize the full survey and documentation of three small monasteries in order to allow the interdisciplinary study of their art, architecture, archaeology and history.The David-Gareji cave monastery complex takes its origins from the 6th century mission of the hermit St.David and his disciples, about which different hagiographic records and traditions exist. More than twenty monasteries dating from the 6th to the 9th centuries are known in the area and have been surveyed from 1921 to this day. The Georgian partner of the project, the Fund of Science "Udabno", has carried prospecting expeditions and studies of this area from 1995 on. The interdisciplinary character of the study of this monastic complex must be strongly emphasized: historical and hagiographic sources are brought together with architectural, epigraphical, archeological data and the art history study of the pictural remains.The primary scope is to rescue the data that still exists despite the process of wheathering and degradation of the soft rock-cut sandstone structures that make up the monasteries under study. The monasteries selected for this study are of special interest because they came down to us in their initial form, without later modifications. They belong to different phases of the development of the Georgian monasticism, spanning from the 8th to the 13th centuries, and they show signs of byzantine influence. The study will allow to complete the assessment of the endangered areas and the scientific documentation and analysis of the monuments. Their significance for a possible development of eco-tourism in the David-Gareji area will be taken into consideration. The archeological and literary data will be carefully assessed against the background of local and byzantine monastic and hagiographic traditions, and special attention will be paid to analyzing the peculiarities of the local monastic life. The scientific results of the study will be published in english in book form together with a translation and commentary of the 12th century metaphrastic version of the Life of St. David. Web pages will allow a broader access to the essential information and results and conferences will be held in Georgia and Switzerland to discuss the issues and disseminate the results in the scientific community.
Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 21.02.2013

Verantw. Gesuchsteller/in und weitere Gesuchstellende

Wissenschaftliche Veranstaltungen

Selber organisiert

Titel Datum Ort
Organizing solitudes, from the Libyan Desert to Caucasus 25.04.2013 Genève, Université et Fondation Hardt


The project envisages study of three small cave monasteries belonging to the David-Gareji cave monastery complex in Georgia. The very first monasteries within the complex were founded in the 6th c. by St. David and his disciples. The project deals with a) Mravaltskaro monastery (ca VIII-IX cc.) with its three dependences: Shavi Senakebi, Tetri Udabno and Berebis Mta; b) Tsamebuli monastery (ca X c.) and c) Qolagiri monastery (ca XII-XIII cc.). The monasteries are of special interest because they came down to us in their initial form, without later modifications. Importance of their studying is enhanced by the fact that they bear signs of Byzantine influences, therefore their research is of special importance for the history of Eastern Christendom in general. Documentation and research of the above monuments is topical as they are rock-cut in soft sandstones severely exposed to weathering processes. With collapse of the caves unique architectural designs and murals are vanishing forever.This project is interdisciplinary one: it will study the above-mentioned monuments from the viewpoint of history, architecture, art and archaeology. The following objectives will be scored: The sites under consideration will be surveyed and documented. Based on this inventory, caves with their architectural features, mural paintings, medieval graffiti and superficial artefacts will be documented and analyzed in detail against the background of local and Byzantine traditions. Written and epigraphic sources will be studied. Peculiarities of the monastic life will be established and analyzed. The 12th century Metaphrastic version of “The Life of St. David”, the founder of the monasticism in David-Gareji, will be translated into English and analyzed for early Medieval local monastic traditions. A book comprising relevant scientific results and a translation of “The Life of St. David” will be published in English, and a web page with essential results launched. Conference will be held in Switzerland and Georgia to ensure wide dissemination of the results.