Культурно-исторические процессы в «варварских» социумах Крыма ΙΙΙ в. до н. э. – ΙΙΙ в. н. э. по материалам погребальных комплексов элиты
On the basis of archaeological sources, it is expedient to study cultural transformations conditioned by events of a socio-political nature. Networking in the political sphere is closely connected with the exchange of symbols of power and status. In material culture, such symbols might be represented among the so-called ‘prestige objects’. Changes in the assortment of such items observed over a long time-span can help us visualize the development of domestic and external relationships among social elites. Proceeding from such preconditions, the present paper will look at funeral complexes of the Crimean ‘Barbarian’ elites located on the territory between Chersonesus Taurica and the Bosporan kingdom dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. In the late 4th century BC, a fortress of central importance was erected at Ak-Kaya. Here and in other strategical places, there are traces of fires and subsequent restoration or enhancements of the defensive systems dating to the 270s BC. Shortly afterwards, the burial complexes of the ‘Barbarian’ population display prestige La-Tène-style objects belonging to the military elite. These elites controlled probably the territory of the Crimean ‘Barbaricum’, as well as the steppes adjoining the Crimea from the north, including settlements from the nearby territory of Olbia. By the mid-2nd century BC, the consolidation and centralization of the elites seems to have taken place. The capital fortress was moved westwards (Neapolis Scythica) and developed into a capital of a state of early-Hellenistic appearance. The process of consolidation was interrupted in the late 2nd century BC through the annexation of the Crimea by Mithradates VI Eupator. For a short time, the region got under his direct influence, which allowed for further elite contacts. Since their victory upon Mithradates, the Romans recognized the strategical importance of the region, not least during their conflicts with Parthia. The elite burials reflect interactions with new contact zones. On the one hand, they contain Roman bronze and silver tableware, and funeral wreaths – customary for Greco-Roman burial rites. On the other hand, there are Chinese Lacquer Boxes and the silk clothing. The subordination of the ‘Barbarian’ elites to the centers of the Greco-Roman civilization continued throughout the second and third centuries AD until the demise of Roman imperial policy in the region.