A Female Burial with Gold Jewellery from the Ust’-Al’ma Necropolis (Crimea) Dating from the 1st Century AD
There is published a female burial in the catacomb 1119 of Ust’-Al’ma necropolis situated on the southwestern shore of the Crimea. There are found personal jewellery (gold ear-rings, amphora-pendants and beads of a necklace, sewn plaques) as well as grave goods (gold leaves of a funeral wreath, gold eye-pieces, two hand-formed ceramic incense-burners, a ceramic jug, an iron knife, a ceramic unguentarium of the bulbous type, a ceramic red-slip bowl, two ceramic spindle-whorls). The grave might belong to a representative of social elite, and dates to the period from the first half to the middle of the 1st century AD.
he new data that has become available in the last two decades show that the Scythian kingdom with the capital in Neapolis Scythica which existed in the Crimea in the 2nd c. BC, was much closer to Hellenistic states ruled by Barbarian dynasties than to the nomadic kingdom of the Scythians of the 4th c. BC. At the same time, these data allow us to return in part to the old view formulated by Rostovtzeff about continuity between the Scythia of the 4th c. BC and the Late Scythian kingdom, from which most researchers refused in the last thirty years. It turned out that this continuity existed at least at the ideological level, and the excavations at Ak-Kaya (Vishennoe) filled the chronological gap between the Scythian kingdoms of the 4th and 2nd c. BC. Apparently, Ak- Kaya became one of the political centers of the Scythians as early as in the late 4th c. BC, before the fall of the “Great Scythia”, and the capital of the Crimean Scythians was located here before moving to Neapolis. In the formation of the Late Scythian culture and the Late Scythian kingdom with the capital first in Ak-Kaya and then in Neapolis, apart from the Scythian elements, sedentary Tauroi as well as probably the Greeks and the Hellenized population of the chorai of the Greek cities of the north-western Crimea, took part. A key role in changing the character of the Scythian culture was apparently played by a change in the economic-cultural type and the transition from nomadic pastoralism to settled agriculture. This article also proposes a new interpretation of the inscription on the mausoleum of Argotas, discovered in Neapolis in 1999. Argotas was apparently not a Scythian, but a Greek, despite his Scythian name. This Bosporan aristocrat with Scythian family ties married the widowed Bosporan queen Kamasarya in the second quarter of the 2nd c. BC (CIRB 75). He played an important role in governing the Bosporan kingdom and its protection from attacks from the east. Then, most likely after the death of Kamasarya, he moved to the neighboring kingdom of the Scythians, where he became one of the leading generals, the right hand of the king and the tutor of his children. After his death in ca. 130–125 BC, he received from King Skiluros unprecedented honors – a heroon in front of the facade of the royal palace was erected for him, and this was the only truly Greek building in Neapolis: it was built in accordance with the rules of the order architecture and decorated with Greek statues and reliefs, as well as a metric epitaph with numerous Homeric forms and expressions.
The author analyzes archaeological materials from the settlement and necropolis near village of Zolotaya Balka situated in the lower reaches of the Dnieper dating to the period from the 2nd c. BC to the early 2nd c. AD. A qualitative, quantitative and spatial analysis of features of the burial rite has been done. The groups of burials with a special set of burial equipment were singled out, which seem to differ in social status. It is assumed that the ancient population of the settlement had a horizontal corporate organization, which, in turn, was incorporated into a more complex social system (chiefdom). There are revealed similarities in funeral rites between the necropolis of Zolotaya Balka and cemeteries of Cherniakhov culture, which are apparently due to the ethnic and cultural continuity.