Scholarly Traditions in the Studies of the 'Late Scythian Culture of the Crimea' and 'Crimean Scythia'
The expressions ‘Late Scythian culture’ and ‘Crimean Scythia’ are modern concepts. The first term appeared soon after 1946, and it was intended to designate the material culture of the Scythians, supposedly superseded by the Sarmatians in the 3rd century BC and later replaced by the Slavs, thus making a direct historical bridge from Scythians to Russians. The Late Scythian culture consisted of two enclaves, the Crimean-Dnieper and the Thracian one. The Crimean-Dnieper enclave was represented by two slightly different variants located in the Crimea and in the Lower Dnieper region. The term ‘Crimean Scythia’ was invented in late 1980s – early 1990s, and reflects the idea of the formation of a new separate Scythian statehood in the Crimea. According to the predominant point of view, the Late Scythian culture of the Crimea was constantly transforming in the course of the ‘Sarmaticization’ process. This position seems to be unsustainable. In fact, some migrations to the Crimea from the North Pontic steppe or the Caucasus could have likely occurred. However, the newcomers (‘Sarmatians’?) certainly had a much lesser effect on the functioning of the social networks and the economic and cultural appearance of the ‘Crimean Scythia’ than the proximity of the ancient centres and geopolitical aspirations of the world hegemonic powers.