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Donskaya Arkheologia Journal

Vol. 1-2, 2001

With Summaries


Table of Contents 

Editorial note 5

Tribes and Peoples 6

Gutnov F.Kh., Dzarasov A.V. From the History of the Alanic Towns 6

Articles, Publications, Notes 14

Dyomkin V.A., Golieva A.A., Sergatskov I.V., Dyomkina T.S., Riechl S. Burial Mound Group «Kolobovka–3» of the Volgograd Area (an Experience of Integrated Archaeological and Natural Scientific Study) 14

Matyukhin A.Ye. Upper Palaeolithic Workshop Biryuchya Balka 1 26

Glukhov A.A. Small Ritual Stone Vessels of the MiddleSarmatian Burials of the Country between the Volga and the Don Rivers 37

Garbuzov G.P., Tolochko I.V., Misiewicz K. Barrows Bolshoi Chuletsky, Raskopanny, Tsarsky 47

Bezuglov S.I. Finds of Ancient Coins in the Nomadic

Burials of the Lower Don Reaches 57

Aksyonov V.S. Rubezhansky. Catacomb Saltovo-Mayatskaya Culture Burial Ground of the Seversky Donets Area 62

Larenok V.A. Polovtsian Sculptured Figures of the Taganrog Preserve Museum Collection 79

Nidzelnitskaya L.Yu. An Early Medieval Amphora of Tanais 89

From the History of Don-land Archaeology 95

Perevozchikov V.I. The History of Archaeological Investigation of the Textile Craft of Azak-Tana (Preliminary Topographical and Chronological Data) 95

Archaeological Masterpieces 109

Dyukov Yu.A. On a Private Ancient Coin Collection 109

Archaeological Mysteries 112

Kuznetsov V.A. An Archaeological Mystery from the North Caucasus 112

Anniversaries 116

Archaeological Curiosities 117

Kosyanenko V.M. An Enigmatic Helmet 117

Critical Essays and Bibliography 119

Current News 121

In Memory of the Scientist 122

Abbreviations 124

Contents 127



From the History of the Alanic Towns
This article is dedicated to the history of the Alanic towns formation. The authors believe that the major factors of their coming-to-be are the development of settlements into administrative, socio-economic (trading) and ideological centres. The formation of the early town centres was facilitated by their status of the rulers’ and their armed force’s residences.

Burial Ground “Kolobovka–3” of the Volgograd Area (an Experience of Integrated Archaeological and Natural Scientific Study).
This article is dedicated to the problem of an integrated study of the subsoil burials belonging to the ancient and medieval steppe zone tribes and found in Eastern Europe. The subject of inquiry is the “Kolobovka–3” burial mound group located in the second bottom of the Volgo-Akhtuba terrace in the desert-and-steppe zone of the Volga river. Some Sarmatian culture and later burials which underwent a biomorphical analysis, are given a brief archaeological description. The above analysis helped determine the composition of the material once used as beddings in the burials: that was ash-tree timber, bark, grass, horse dock, leather. Investigated were the morphological, chemical, microbiological properties of the buried palaeosoils of the middle and late Sarmatian epochs. Based on the palaeosoil and microbiological data, reconstructed was the dynamics of the region atmospheric moisture during the I – III centuries A.D. It is shown that the droughty conditions gave place during these centuries to some moistening with a further enhancement of aridity. However the revealed climatic fluctuations did not produce a cardinal impact on the state of the soil covering; they rather effected the intensity and direction of the migration of salts, gypsum and carbonates in the two-metre soils layer, as well as the state of microbe communities.

Upper Palaeolithic Workshop Biryuchya Balka 1.
The current paper deals with a preliminary observation of the Paleolithic site Biryuchya Balka 1 situated in the Konstantinovsk District, Rostov Region, which was thought to be the least investigated site, poor in both number and composition of finds. Recent excavations revise the mentioned site estimation. Flint artefacts (layer 2) were associated with yellowish loam and occurred at a depth of 1 m beneath the modern surface. These form a large concentration, which contains exclusively flint artefacts. The artefacts comprise cores, flakes, blades and also debris and tools. The cores are mainly represented by examples of parallel plane knapping mode. Among the flakes not only amorphous but also regular forms are presented. Blades are small in number and raw. Tools are representative in forms. Also found are atypical and typical scrapers, points, rough side-scrapers, retouched flakes, flakes with basal thinning, a hammer made of flake, atypical macrotools as well as bifaces, bifacial leaf points, etc. The tools of the lattermost type are single. According to the typological compound of the assemblage there should be set a question of attributing this complex to leaf point production workshops. It is too early to establish the cultural attribution of the site. Typologically the assemblage of Biryuchya Balka 1 resembles the inventory of the 2-nd and 3-d layers of the Biryuchya Balka 1a site located in close vicinity. Further works should answer the questions raised in this paper.


Small Ritual Stone Vessels of the Middle Sarmatian Mounds of the Country between the Volga and the Don Rivers.
This article is dedicated to the small stone ritual vessels found in the burials in the country between the Volga and the Don rivers. The author gives consideration to the problems of typology, chronology and application of the funeral implements referred to this category. Small alabaster vessels of various forms gain their greatest popularity in the 1st century A.D. A special group of vessels are those with zoomorphic handles shaped as a lying cat family predator. The latter vessels are closely linked with the zoomorphic pottery and expensive metallic plates and dishes having beast-formed handles. Such vessels can be found in both women’s and men’s graves. Stone vessels occupied an important position in the Sarmatian obsequies: they were often placed into graves alongside with the articles of ritual application such as mirrors, abradant plates, shells and pieces of chalk. Small alabaster vessels were used by Sarmatians up to the late Sarmatian era and probably passed out of use in the first half of the 2nd century A.D.

Barrow Bolshoi Chuletsky, Raskopanny, Tsarsky.
The article scrutinises the possibilities of use of an integrated natural scientific analysis for the study of the northern section of the Tanais barrow necropolis. Space and air photography, visual and geophysical surveying, archive materials on the 19th century excavations of the barrow are used for the monitoring of the object which is the Tsarsky mound and its close environs. As a result of the investigation, new data concerning the geography of the northern section of the Tanais barrow necropolis and the construction character of the burial mounds have been obtained.

Finds of Ancient Coins in the Nomadic Mounds of the Lower Don Reaches.
This article is considering those ancient coins found in two Sarmatian burials of the lower Don reaches. The analysis of the composition of these coin finds permits to assert that they show fair dating possibilities. It seems quite obvious that copper coins could be neither actual lawful money, nor a prestigious diplomatic rank gift for the Don steppe Sarmatians. The author establishes that the idea of currency based on metallic coins was alien to the nomadic Sarmatian world during the whole period of its existence.

Rubezhansky Catacomb Saltovo-Mayatskaya Culture Burial Ground of the Seversky Donets Area.
The article is a publication of the Rubezhansky catacomb burial ground (the Volchansky District, Kharkov Region). This ground, in accordance with the ritual distinctive features, can be included in the range of those necropoleis which correspond to the Verkhnesaltovo-Yutanovskaya funeral tradition. The burial implements are typical for the Saltovo-Mayatskaya antiquities, however the outer look of some artefacts permits to narrow the chronological limits of the burial ground existence. Thus, judging by the bracelet (Cat. No. 4), “horned” clasps (Cat. No. No. 4, 6, 8, 16), bronze finger ring design (Cat. No. No. 4, 8), handle of the bronze kopoushka (Cat. No. 13), belt set plaques (Cat. No. 3), iron fibula (Cat. No. 1), tweezers ornament (Cat. No. 1), the burial ground can be dated by the second half of the 8th – early 9th centuries. The outer look and ornamentation of the pottery from Cat. No. 4, 8, 7, 10 do not contradict the above dating of the burial ground.


Polovtsian Sculptured Figures of the Taganrog Preserve Museum Collection.
This article presents the materials connected with a number of Polovtsian sanctuaries of the north-eastern Azov Sea territory.
The remains of a Polovtsian sanctuary with a stone sculptured figure were found in the village Daryevka of the Neklinovsky District, Rostov Region. The sanctuary was erected upon a Bronze Age burial mound. The surface had debris of the sculpture upper part on it, standing on a stone pavement. A sculpture fragment is the upper part of a male figure. The sanctuary found in the course of excavations of the burial mound group Tavria-I (the Neklinovsky District, Rostov Region) was also located on the top of a Bronze Age barrow. Two sculptures were dug in so that they faced east. Their foundations only were preserved. An alike Polovtsian funeral monument was found in the Matveyevo-Kurgansky District, Rostov Region, during the excavations of the burial mound group Samarsky-II. There were two stone sculptured figures dug in so that they faced east, in the centre of two stone circles on a high barrow erected during the multi-roller pottery culture period. Stone cromlechs built earlier were used as a compositional element of the sanctuary. A sacrifice once took place at the ground near the sculptures. Most probably the sculpture was ritually ruined after this sacrifice.
Another sanctuary was excavated near khutor Semyonkina in the Volgodonsk District, Rostov Region, at the left bank of the Don river. A large and high Bronze Age barrow (No. 10) had three dug in wooden sculptured figures located in a single north-south raw and facing east. A sacrifice of pieces of a sheep carcass was made to them, after which the funeral construction was completely covered with soil. The sculptured figures’ sex cannot be established.
The article also contains a description of a number of sculptures kept in TLIAMZ.

An Early Medieval Amphora of Tanais.
This work sheds light on some poorly studied materials of the excavation of the suburban section of the Nedvigovsky site. For the first time attention is given to the fact that Tanais has not just medieval burial moulds but also a soil level containing early Byzantine pottery. The most significant finds of this layer are the amphorae whose presence indicates the commercial relations between Bosporus which was under Byzantine influence and the people inhabiting the lower Don reaches in the 6th – 7th centuries A.D.

The History of Archaeological Investigation of the Fictile Craft of Azak-Tana (Preliminary Topographical and Chronological Data).
This article describes in a consistent chronology the archaeological investigation of the pottery industry artefacts of the medieval site named Azak-Tana and located on the territory of the modern town of Azov. The work step by step traces the development of the knowledge on the Azak fictile craft from the beginning of its study up to the present days. Guided by the collected materials the author compiled a table and a sketch map showing all the presently known archaeological objects associated with fictile art. Taking into account the significant scattering of the pottery industry remains around the site territory, the author expresses a number of hypotheses concerning the possible forms of its organisation: a craft of just a farmstead or a free individual type, coexistence of individual workshops belonging to free potters and farmstead workshops where dependent craftsmen worked, simultaneous coexistence of several blocks of the potters of various ethno-cultural belonging, or a single quarter, yet at different times and in different districts of the ancient town. Based on the coins found in the archaeological sites and cited in the article, the author concludes on the general chronological limits of fictile craft in Azak-Tana: this is the early 14th (perhaps late 13th) century – the first half of the 1390s.


On a Private Ancient Coin Collection.
This is a publication of a small private collection of ancient coins which includes gold Olvian hemidrachmae, silver Olvian staters, a gold Pantikapaean hect, silver Pantikapaean hemidrachmae, gold Aspurgian staters, a gold Mitridatan stater, a gold Tarentan stater. The latter coin is perhaps of the greatest interest in this collection. Probably all these coins originate from the northern part of the Black Sea territory with an exception of the gold Tarentan stater, although it was possibly found in the named region.

An Archaeological Mystery from the North Caucasus.
This is a publication of an accidental find from the city of Vladikavkaz of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. The find is a fragment of an earthenware disk of a 10 cm diameter with hieroglyphic signs drawn on the one side upon raw clay. The signs are concentrically organised in four circular areas crossed by vertical lines. The closest analogue of this find is perhaps the well-known disk with hieroglyphic signs found in 1908 by A. Evans in Festa (the Isle of Crete).
The first investigation of the disk fragment from Vladikavkaz was carried out by an expert in Old Greek written language Ephi Poliyanaki who dated the artefact to approximately the 12th century B.C. In our opinion, the Vladikavkaz find, notwithstanding its accidental and undocumented nature, is worth a further study by specialists.


An Enigmatic Helmet.
This is a publication of an accidental find from the environs of Rostov-on-Don. In due time the artefact caused arguments about its application and time of manufacture.

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