GEORGIA: APPEAL TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF AN IMPORTANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani, located in southeastern Georgia, is the oldest known gold mine in the world, dating back to the fourth millennium BC. On 12 December 2014, the Government of Georgia, without any prior public consultation, revoked the cultural heritage status of the site. This decision was taken on the same day on which the permit for disassembling the site was required by the Russian private gold mining company RMG Gold, in clear violation of national law. The next day, the company blew up the mine and started industrial excavations. Despite the extensive damage, an important part of this unique heritage site can still be saved. Europa Nostra has joined the protest campaign carried out by heritage NGOs and civil society in Georgia and asks its members and supporters to sign this petition.
“Europa Nostra has been informed of the serious damage that was inflicted on the site of Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani, which is, according to various international experts, the oldest known gold mine in the world. We urge all parties concerned to take all necessary measures to stop the destruction of this unique heritage site. Europa Nostra is willing to offer its expertise and its network to help the Georgian people preserve their exceptional cultural heritage,” stated Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra, who signed the above-mentioned petition.
“We wish to express every solidarity and every support with the protest campaign carried out by heritage NGOs and concerned citizens in Georgia. Europa Nostra stands ready to support your campaign in any way which could help you in preventing any further destruction on the site of Sakrdisi-Kachaghiani,” added Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, who is also among the signers.
A detailed report of the main actions and decisions related to Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani, which has been prepared by the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), can be read here.
Following the protests by civil society, at the end of December, the Georgian Parliament approved the request to create an independent commission that will investigate the actions and decisions related to Sakdrisi-Kachaghiani.
On 13 December 2014, the Russian gold mining company RMG Gold blew up the mine and started industrial excavations on the site of Sakrdisi-Kachaghiani. Photo: Courtesy of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association / Giorgi Bukhaidze.