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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

«Крымская Скифия» и «Позднескифская культура Крыма»

С. 15-33.

The terms “Crimean Scythia” and “Late Scythian Culture of the Crimea” are modern concepts reflecting an interpretation model formed by the study of written and epigraphic sources. The term “Late-Scythian Culture” appeared rather late in comparison with other culture-terms known in the Northern Black Sea Region, after 1946, in the frame of the work of the Tauro-Scythian expedition headed by Pavel Schulz. It is formed according to the ethno-chronological principle for the designation of the material culture of the “Scythians” supposedly superseded by the “Sarmatians” from most of the territory occupied by the “Great Scythia” of the 6th till the 4th BCE, and formed two enclaves – the Crimean-Dnieper and the Thracian, both known from Strabo as the “Scythia Minor” (Strabo, Geogr. VII.4.5).

The term “Crimean Scythia” for the designation of the Crimean part of the Strabo’s Scythia Minor appeared in the late 1980s – early 1990s under conditions of the collapse of the USSR. The continuity between the Scythian kingdom in the Crimea and the Great Scythia was questioned. It seemed that its formation took place in the conditions of the appearance of new ethnic groups in the Crimea, first of all the Sarmatians of Prokhorovka culture. In this sense, the term “Crimean Scythia” reflects the idea of the appearance in the Crimea of a separate new Scythian state and, in fact, represents an expression in historical terms of the concept of the Late Scythian culture of the Crimea.

At the present stage, the phenomenon of the Late Scythian archaeological culture of the Crimea seems to be a reflection of the economic and cultural development of the Barbarian population of the Crimean peninsula in the context of its involvement in the world-system with two geopolitical centers – Rome and Parthian Iran. Their weakening or destruction in the 3rd century AD led to the rupture and reformatting of most of the networking systems – ideological, military, trade and economic. Under these conditions, the idea of transforming the Late-Scythian culture under the influence of “Sarmaticization” seems meaningless. The migrations from the steppe or the Caucasus being very likely, which are confirmed by the data of physical anthropology, had a much lesser effect on the functioning of social networks and the economic and cultural appearance of the Crimean Scythia than the proximity of the ancient cities and geopolitical aspirations of the main hegemonic powers.