As mentioned in the entry on the large basilica in Areshi, the site was a huge city in late antiquity/middle ages and it was believed to have a church in every quarter. This small three church basilica was excavated under the direction of the Academican Levan Chilashvili in the 1970s and 1980s but was not subject to conservation and so has deteriorated severely in the intervening period.
This late antique basilica of the three church type is moderate in size and falls in between the other two churches at Areshi mentioned on this site in dimension. As with the smaller basilica, it has not been conserved and has suffered as a result - in this case being overgrown and having tree roots compromise the integrity of the standing remains. In the case of this church, a chapel was added and other alterations were carried out in the High Middle Ages, around the twelfth century.
A large number of churches were excavated in and around the village of Mtisdziri (called Areshi in the archaeological literature), Kakheti, in the 1970s under the direction of the Academician Levan Chilashvili. The large village that stands at Areshi today is only the remnant of an extensive medieval city that once occupied the territory north of the current settlement into the foothills of the Greater Caucasus mountains. Today many of these excavated monuments have deteriorated or been swallowed by vegetation but this sizeable basilica was conserved after excavation and stands on the western fringes of the current village. It dates probably to the fifth century and follows the standard form of Kakhetian three church basilicas. The large central nave had an arcade with two arches (three pillars) on either side and a small pastophorion to either side of the apse, which was inscribed within a flat east wall. Both the north and south external aisles terminate in apses and there is evidence on the west and south sides of decorative pilasters on the outside of the central nave. The south aisle was open to the elements with a five column arcade - having said this, the 'columns' had two square and three circular bases. There is evidence of cross-shaped piers at the junctions of the north and south aisles with the central nave and it is difficult to interpret the narthex as the two entrances do not align with the west door of the central nave, suggesting that it was subject to later alteration. All columns were created of rubble and mortar, as were the pilasters, showing that they were constructed in the vernacular Kakhetian building technique. The stepped base on the south side of the central nave could suggest a link with Armenia, where the same practice has been encountered.
Dvin, also sometimes referred to as Duin, was the late antique/early medieval capital of Armenia and today is located in Ararat Province. It is a pivotal location for this research project as it was at the Third Council of Dvin (609-610) that there was a formal parting of the ways between the Armenian and Georgian Churches. This was the culmination of a series of post-Chalcedon debates on the nature(s) of Christ and ultimately ended with the Armenians remaining steadfast in their opposition to the Christological definition promulgated at Chalcedon, whilst the Georgians decided to join with Constantinople in upholding the Chalcedonian definition of orthodoxy. Today there is little sign of the former significance of the site and parts of the ruins have been overtaken by the modern village, however excavations are still ongoing in parts of the ancient site and a significant Islamic complex is currently being uncovered.
The basilica of Yereruyk is located in the village of Anipemza in Shirak Province in Armenia, right by the border with Turkey. It is believed to date to the fourth and fifth centuries and is one of the earliest Christian monuments in the country. Since the nineteenth century frequent comparisons have been drawn between this site and basilicas in Syria based largely on floor plans and a few images. However there is little more contemporary literature that explores this analogy in any detail and this question is considered on this site in the article entitled The Missing Link? Preliminary Fieldwork in Armenia.
These images were taken on the final day of the excavation season.
This test trench was dug at the westernmost end of trench 3 to confirm that there was no earlier occupation level under the Byzantine era dwelling.
This was the final extension to the trench and details such as thresholds, doorposts and a tannour (clay oven) were revealed.
This was the third extension to trench 3.
These pictures are taken some days after the last images and show the second extension to the trench, by which point it was clear that the trench was uncovering a street of terraced one room dwellings.