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Donskaya Arkheologia Journal

Vol. 1,2000


Table of Contents

Editorial note 4

Tribes and Peoples 6

Potapov V.V Pre-Scythian Tribes of the East European Steppes 6

Articles, Publications, Notes

Zolotaryov M.I. Trade Communications between Khersones and Scythia in the Late IV Century – First Third of the III Century B.C. 22

Matyukhin A.Ye Upper Paleolithic Workshop Biryuchya Balka (Biryuchya Balka Iv) 27

Prokojyev R..V., Potapov V.V.  Settlement Malakhovsky Yerik II of the Don River Delta 45

Prokopenko Yu.A. Economic Links of the Stavropol Height Population of the IV – II Centuries B.C 56

Kulcsar V.  New Aspects of Ethnic Identification of the Hevizgyork Burial Mounds 64

From the History of Don-land Archaeology

Lunin B.V. Bidding the Beads of Reminiscences (Foreword by T.I.Konevskaya) 73

Archaeological Masterpieces

Ivanov A.A., Kopylov V.P., Naumenko S.A. Belt Sets of the Khazar Time Burial Mounds Located between the Don and the Sal Rivers 81

Bezuglov S.I., Ilyashenko S.M. A Rich Hun Time Burial near Tanais 91

Critical Essays and Bibliography

Current News 104

Donskaya Arkheologia 1998 – 1999. Contents 105

Abbreviations 109


Pre-Scythian Tribes of the East European Steppes
    This work is a popular essay on some problems of the archaeological monuments located in the steppe-land south of Eastern Europe and referred to the pre-Scythian time. These monuments belong to the Chernogorovsk culture and are represented by mounds of various stages and groups of funeral rites. The early stage is characterised by the prevalence of writhed, mostly lying on their left side buried figures, accompanied by peculiar pottery, bronze knives, bridles and arms, as well as costume and horse attire furnishings. Some types of articles characterise individual local distribution zones of early Chernogorovsk burials. The following four zones of the kind can be singled out: North-Western, Low Dnieper, Orel-Samara, and North-Eastern. The late stage is characterised by the prevalence of elongated skeletons, finds of iron swords and daggers, definite types of arrow-heads, etc. There is no positive connection between the chronological and ceremonial groups: the elongated burials appear back in the end of the Bronze Age, yet they start dominating at the late Chernogorovsk stage, while the writhed ones, prevailing at the early stage, survive up to the early Scythian time.
    The formation of the Chernogorovsk culture was a consequence of the cardinal changes in the household set-up of those people inhabiting the European steppe, i.e. the transition to nomadic cattle husbandry. This period caused intensification of intertribal contacts and material culture levelling, establishment of close ideological views and, as a result, of the alike funeral traditions. The appearance of warriors’ and horsemen’s burials testifies the greater role of the military stratum in the life of the society. The transition to nomadic cattle husbandry caused a need to maintain interchange contacts with settled farmers. One may assume that thus formed were the zones of interaction between nomads and settled tribes.
Trade Communication between Khersones and Scythia in the Late IV Century – First Third of the III Century B.C.
   The territorial formation of the Khersones city state was completed in the last third of the IV century B.C. The land redistribution and agrarian measurements that followed caused the formation of two specialised agricultural regions where saleable grain and viticulture products were produced. Comparison of the production of saleable grain and wine gives ground to consider the Khersones state to be the largest viticulture producer and exporter in the North Black Sea areas. The corn grown was mainly home consumed.
    In the end of the IV – first third of the III century B.C. Khersones started to play the leading role in the wine trade of the Pontic areas. Khersonesites’ successful exploitation of land permitted Khersones tradespeople to redirect from intermediate trade to self-produced viticulture trade. The trading activity of Khersonesites was now turned to the very heart of the barbaric world, Scythia first and foremost.
    The sources analysis shows that in the last quarter of the IV – first third of the III century B.C. Khersones wine was most actively exported to the Kamensk site of ancient settlement on the Dnieper and the Yelizavetvovskaya settlement of the lower Dan-land areas. The goods, Khersones wine included, could first go to the Greek emporiums of the above-said settlements and then, due to change and trade, get to the barbarous inhabitants of this steppe region. By the last quarter of the IV century B.C., a reliable sea trading system connecting Khersones and Scythia, was formed. It provided mutually advantageous contacts until the break of the first third – second third of the III century B.C.

Upper Paleolithic Workshop Biryuchya Balka (Biryuchya Balka 1v)
   The article is dedicated to upper paleolithic workshop Biryuchya Balka Iv located in the Seversky Donets valley, near farmstead Kremenskoy, in the Konstantinovsk District, Rostov Region. The site is linked with the left Biryuchya ravine slope It was twice researched by the author in 1990 and 1992. The section of the trench revealed alternating brownish loams with fossil soil under them. The age of the soil is about 32-24 thousand years. There was flint art in one 5.5 m long and about 1.5m wide cluster.
    Flint industry is represented by more than 5 thousand artifacts. It includes cores. flaves and lames, debris and tools. The cores are basically plate ones. Volumetric cores are infrequently met. Rather numerous are regular flaves and lames, i.e. blanks. Of certain interest are tools. There is a small series of side scrapes, end scrapes, pebble tools, denticulate and notch tools, as well as with a basal thinning. Triangular points and bifaces make relatively large groups. Some chopping-tools, bifaces and end scrapers bear traces of utilization on them. However the bulk of the tools (mainly bifaces and coarse side scrapes) are unfinished triangular points left on the initial and middle manufacturing phases. The site industry witnesses its reference to mixed profile workshops where triangular points and regular chipped blanks were made. From the typological standpoint the material of the site stands close to the Biryuchya Balka 2 ensemble and belongs to the Streletskaya culture. Taking into consideration the stratigraphic position of the culture horizon and the chronological framework of the fossil soil, it would be rightful to date it within the limits of 32-34 thousand years. Biryuchya Balka Iv is among the earliest upper paleolithic sites of Eastern Europe.
Settlement Malakhovcky Yerik II of the Don River Delta
   This work is dedicated to the results of research of the Malakhovsky Yerik settlement located in the Don river delta. Three horizons of finds were represented in the monument.
    The upper horizon contained debris of biconical Thasos, Heraclean and Sinopean amphorae referred to the IV – III centuries B.C. The aureola of the Heraclean amphora reveals a fragment of a stamp belonging to the second quarter – middle of the IV century B.C. The upper layer also revealed a monomial wire fibula (I century B.C.) and a burial of the second half of the XIII – XIV centuries with an iron knife, a stirrup and a curb-bit.
    The second horizon contained fretted pottery of the late Bronze Age end, as well as sinker complexes of the Kobyakovo type. The latter are interpreted as the remains of rather narrow drag-nets. The finds permit to synchronise the horizon with the adjacent Kobyakovo culture monuments. However while the latter one, due to a number of features, may be referred to the western commonness block of the roll pottery culture (RPC), the researched horizon may be compared with certainty to the RPC eastern block.
    The third horizon is linked with the finds of the pottery of an early Srubnaya culture look.
Economic Links of the Stavropol Height Population
   The commercial links of the people inhabiting the Stavropol highland with the settlements of the Kuban areas referred to the IV-III centuries B.C., are witnessed by the following: the analysis of the ethno-political situation of the North Caucasus in the period under consideration; distribution of antique and Meyotic imports in the Central pre-Caucasian zone (amphorae manufactured on the island of Rhodes, Cnide, etc., black lacquered red-figured vessels like kantharoi and bowls, Meyotic pottery like jars, kantharoi and tray bowls, vessels with vastly shaped necks; terracotta medallions – gorgoneia, terracotta necklace fragments, beads of various types); finds of antique coins in the Stavropol highland; distribution of horse harnesses and arms typical for the people living in the Kuban areas.
    The Sarmatian invasion of the early III century B.C. stopped the movement of caravans along the steppe road. However in the second half of the III century B.C., in different parts of the region, the people returned to settled life, and the trade contacts were again maintained. This is witnessed by the finds of a Rhodian amphorae dated from the second half of the III – II centuries B.C., in the monuments of the Stavropol highland.

New Aspects of Ethnic Identification of the Hevizgyork Burial Mounds
   Several Sarmatian finds of the Carpathian Basin (the most representative are the ones from Hevizgyork and Vizesd-puszta) show a number of similarities with a group of equestrian burials concentrated at the Lower Don. These burials dated to the end of the 2nd — beginning of the 3rd century A.D. are related by such grave-goods as certain pieces of horse harness (buckles without a tongue, metallic, usually silver, beads decorating the belts), similar attributes of relatively short (80 — 90 cm long) swords (chalcedonic pommels, «magic» pendants made of semi-precious stones), so called Sarmatian buckles and belt terminals with faceted decoration, Roman glass vessels (in the cases of Hungarian finds Hevizgyork and Vizesd-puszta without analogies). It seems to us that the burials of the Hevizgyork Vizesd-puszta group represent a new migration wave (possibly Alans mentioned in this context in Vita Marci) arriving to the Great Hungarian Plain in the course or after the Marcomannic Wars, directly from the region of Azov. It is still to be resolved, what was the relationship between this ethnic group and the one that also appeared in the Alfold at the end of the 2nd century probably originating from the North West Pontic region.

Belt Sets of the Khazar Time Burial Mounds Located between the Don and the Sal Rivers
   The article analyses the belt sets, which were found in the burial mounds located between the Don and the Sal rivers and belonging to the Khazar time. This is one of the most expressive and informative categories of finds originating from the monuments of the type. The authors conclude that the clasps and belt garniture details, along with the numismatic material, can be regarded as a reliable material permitting to date the complexes of the find from the second half of the VII – fist half of the VIII centuries. Besides, based on the materials under consideration, the authors express the idea that those nomads who left burials in the mounds with shallow square ditches, had belt sets of their own special style. The stylistic peculiarities of the belt garniture may be regarded as one other criterion characterising the ethnographic specificity of the people who left the discussed group of monuments.

A Rich Hun Time Burial near Tanais
   The article contains data and analysis of a complex originating from a rich burial found during sand recovery at the sandpit of the south-east outskirts of village Sinyavka in the summer of 1998. The effective metal implements and ornamentation of the burial permit to date it from the first half of the V century A.D. Determined is the reference of the complex to the large super-regional group of antiquities spread from Western Europe to the North Pontic steppes. The Sinyavka burial of 1998 is of special interest in connection with the well-known find of 1958 also confined to the sandpit of Sinyavka. From the standpoint of the latest research it may be presumed that this place accommodated a small aristocratic necropolis belonging to the social elite of late Tanais. The culture of the people who left monuments like those of the Sinyavka 1958 and 1998 graves, organically blends together various, mainly Alanic and East German, elements. 

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