• NATIA DEMURISHVILI PH.D in History, Deputy Curator of Oriental Collections, Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Art. Georgian Nationa Museum Georgia, St. Tbilisi, Rustaveli st. 3
  • VAZHA MAMIASHVILI Doctor of Archaeology, Chief Curator of Medieval Archaeological Collections of Simon Janashia State Museum. Georgian National Museum Georgia, St. Tbilisi, Rustaveli st. 3


The article examines one group of Islamic ceramic vessels, known as sphero-conical vessels, kept in the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, Dmanisi storages. They were obtained during archaeological excavations in the old city Dmanisi in the 1960-80s.

Archaeological Islamic ceramics that are kept in the museum's collection, including the so-called sphero-conical vessels, are evidence of the active functioning of trade and trade routes between Georgia and the Islamic world over the centuries.

The wide distribution of sphero-conical vessels in the Middle Ages has been confirmed in a number of countries in the Middle East and West, as well as in Transcaucasia, Central Asia and African countries, etc.

There are many hypotheses about their purpose. Among them is one of the earliest and most widespread opinions about the battle purpose of sphere-conical vessels: they are considered the so-called "Greek Fire"- a hand-launched projectile. Opinions have been expressed about the purpose of them as a travel container for various liquids, etc. There is no consensus on this issue till today.

In our country there is the variety of imported ceramics found in different archaeological layers, which gives an accurate information about the history of trade, economic and cultural relations of Georgia with the outside world. Despite the often fragmentary nature of the sphero-conical vessels of the Dmanisi collection, their study has once again shed light on the importance of Dmanisi as a strategic city on which trade and caravan routes connecting Transcaucasia with the Islamic world passed. The presented collection is proof of the functioning of these roads.

               In the framework of the present study, the chronological limits of the collection of sphero-conical vessels were specified, which, based on the parallel material, was determined by the 10th-13th centuries. Most importantly, we were given the opportunity to express our own opinions about the functional purpose of the dishes in our country: it is clear that, just like in other big cities of Transcaucasia, sphero-conical vessels were used for commercial and practical purposes and in everyday life. Maybe it was a container for transporting mercury, pharmaceuticals or even drinking liquid. The lack of an exact answer is due to the fact that there are no traces of specific substances left on the vessel.The imported sphero-conical vessel of Dmanisi collection will be published for the first time and, accordingly, it will become known and accessible to the international scientific community.

Key words: Islamic Ceramic; Dmanisi; Middle Ages; Sphero-conical vassels;