The lecture will present some results of the joint Georgian-Italian archaeological project of Ca' Foscari University of Venice in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum in the Shida Kartli province of Georgia, focusing on their relevance for the integration of the pre-classical cultures of the Southern Caucasus into the general framework of Near Eastern archaeology. In particular, recent excavations at Aradetis Orgora, one of the main sites of the region, yielded a continuous occupational sequence able to highlight the development of local societies from the Early to the Middle and to the Late Bronze Age and, together with data from the neighbouring site of Khashuri Natsargora, contribute to the ongoing debate about the Kura-Araxes culture.
Elena Rova is associate professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Ca' Foscari University of Venice. Her research interests concentrate on the study of the first urban civilizations of the Near East, with a special focus on the archaeology of Upper Mesopotamia and its connections with the Southern Caucasus during the Late Chalcolithic and the Bronze Age (4th-2rd millennia BC). She has been doing field research in Northern Iraq (Tell Karrana 3) in Syria (Tell Leilan, Tell Beydar) and, since 2009, she is director of the "Georgian-Italian Shida Kartli Archaeological Project" of Ca' Foscari University of Venice in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum of Tbilisi (excavations of Natsargora, Okherakhevi and Aradetis Orgora). Among her main research topics are: the comparative chronology of the first urban civilizations, the interconnections between Mesopotamia and the neighbouring areas, the chronological and geographical distribution of ceramic styles, seals and iconographies (both with traditional methodologies, and with the help of mathematic-statistical analysis methods). She is the author (or co-author) of 6 monographs and of more than 100 articles and reviews in scientific journals, conference proceedings and miscellaneous volumes, and the editor (or co-editor) of 4 volumes of conference proceedings and miscellaneous studies.