Sarmatian treasures reconsidered. Some remarks in the new book by Leo Klein
A new book about “Sarmatian Treasures” is written by Leo Klejn, a world-known author, the name of whom is particularly familiar to those interested in the theory of archaeology.
we may assume that during the Sarmatian period the neighboring “centers of civilization” exercised considerable structural influence over the culture of the peoples who inhabited the steppe zone of European and partly of Asiatic Sarmatia (i.e., the territories adjacent to the northern coasts of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea). The mere existence of these centers and the political and economic developments that took place there were one of the factors that, to a great extent, determined the changes observed in the material culture of the peoples who populated the “barbarian” territories.
There are published results of study of the grave 1 excavated in the necropolis of Luchistoe-2, which is yet the only known archaeological site of the Southern Crimea with burial structures of the Early Roman period. As a result there is proposed a general idea about the size and chronological position of the necropolis, as well as about the funeral ceremony, ethnographic costume, and cultural connections of the society using the burial ground. There was established that the published grave contained a burial of a woman of a high social status (probably, a priestess), which was committed at the late 1st or early 2nd century AD. The analysis of the archaeological material in comparison with the information about location of the necropolis and the data of contemporary epigraphic documents and ancient narrative tradition, leads to the conclusion that the burial ground was located in ‘Taurica’ – the territory between the Greek polis of Chersonesos and the Bosporan kingdom. It was used by the population, which was named in written sources as Scytho-Taurians (Plin. NH. IV, 85–86; Arr. PPE. 30). Evidently, these peoples were bearers of the so-called Late Scythian archaeological culture, and were incorporated in the sphere of cultural influence of the Bosporan state. This information can be used in further reconstructions of the ethno-political situation in the Crimea in Roman times.
The idea for this book concerns the Northern Black Sea in antiquity. It is published in memory of Heinz Heinen, who was writing on the Roman Imperial period in the Northern Black Sea region for this volume and planned to call his chapter "The Long Way to Pontic Unity". Later, at any rate, he admitted that the term "unity" did not seem adequate to him: "Pontic Networks", he said, would be "more realistic". The piece was never written - Professor Heinen died in July 2013 - but his deliberation on his chapter's title reflects the ideas that permeate the entire book. The question of identity is one of many addressed in several chapters of this book. Together, the nine chapterd comprising the volume cover a broad variety of topics, but by no means offer ab exhaustive study of the region.
The article concerns cultural and historical processes in the "barbarian" world of the Crimea studied on the material of burial assemblages of elites.
Publication of fieldwork 1994-96 in the Iron Age to early medieval cemetery of Klin-Yar (near Kislovodsk, North Caucasus), with descriptive and analytical chapters on graves, finds, human bones, and animal bones
The Sarmatian Animal Style objects are found in North Pontic burial contexts belonging to the social elite. An analysis of finds from the region shows that most of the Animal Style objects may be interpreted as emblems of power. Their appearance in ‘Barbarian’ burial contexts was previously interpreted, generally, in an ethnic sense, as having been brought physically to the Northern Pontic region by newcomers from distant eastern lands. However, the patterns of their distribution in graves of several chronological periods most probably reflect the development of network contacts of political elites.
Review of Wegener's monograph on Sarmatian finds, particularly weapon burials, east of the Caspian Sea.