In Gonio, south of Batumi, a team of researchers discovered baths built and used by the Roman military about 2,000 years ago. – We were surprised by both the age of the foundation and the high quality of its workmanship – told PAP Dr Radosław Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski, head of excavations.
Research is conducted inside the ancient Apsaros fort built by the Romans in the second half of the 1st century CE. The only convenient road from Colchis (western Georgia) to the Roman provinces in Asia Minor ran past the fortress.
– As a rule, thermal baths built for the army were not distinguished by splendour. That’s why we were surprised to discover a mosaic decorating the floor. We also exposed a large part of the pool to cool water – the so-called frigidarium – says Dr Karasiewicz-Szczypiorski.
The age of the baths is also a surprise for archaeologists. Researchers expected to discover buildings from the 2nd-3rd century CE. Meanwhile, the baths found almost certainly come from the second half of the first century CE. Therefore, they trace the early presence of the Romans in this area. The building was most likely built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian.