Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Georgian Martyr Queen's Remains Found in Goa

Monday, December 23, 2013

473px-St. Queen KetevanHYDERABAD, INDIA—An arm bone retreived from the pieces of a stone sarcophogus found in the ruins of a church in Goa on the west coast of India likely belonged to Ketevan, the 17th century queen of the Kingdom of Kakheti in eastern Georgia. Literary sources say that when Kakheti was conquered by the Persians in 1613, Ketevan was taken prisoner. After refusing to join the Persian emperor's harem, she was tortured and killed 11 years later, and a portion of her body was said to have been taken to St. Augustine's Chuch in Goa and kept on a window. Since the mid-1800s, the church has fallen into ruin, but Georgian and Indian archaeologists managed to recover an arm bone from what was left of the stone box. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA from the bone suggests its much more likely to have come from a Georgian than an Indian, providing a tantalizing clue that it could be Ketevan's.