A Warrior Burial from the Ust’-Al’ma Necropolis (Mid-1st Cent. AD)
In 2015 during excavations in the Ust’-Al’ma necropolis there was discovered a niche-grave No. 1074 with a burial of male 25-35 years old having many intravital injuries which should be traces of battle strokes. The burial complex is dated to the mid-1st century AD. It belongs to a group of burials of barbarian elite accompanied by gold funeral wreaths and face-coverings (eye- and mouth-pieces). Most of these graves are earthen catacombs located along the road leading towards the ancient fortified settlement of Ust’Al’ma on the western coast of the Crimean peninsula. Male burial complexes of this group usually consist of weapons (sword, bow, arrows). As a rule, the burial goods are plentiful and rich. The utilitarian elements of burial dress are often made of precious metals, and are represented by arm-rings, brooches, pendants, amulets, elements of belt-equipment, sewn plaques. Among other burial goods there are amphorae, wooden utensils with carved figures of animals, and Roman imported bronze and silver ware etc. Taking in consideration the use of the burial structures of a special type, placement of the graves in a special area along the road leading to the settlement, as well as the extraordinary splendor of the funeral equipment, it can be concluded that here there was buried representatives of the social elite of a highest rank. The use of a not usual type of the burial structure (a nich-grave) and the relative scarcity of funeral inventory presenting, however, signs of a high social status (funeral wreath, face-coverings, a sword) indicate the special status of the buried in the grave No. 1074 person.