Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 2227-4952 / 2708-6143
Total articles ≅ 443

Latest articles in this journal

S. V. Makhortykh
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 58-74;

Central Anatolia is one of the regions of Western Asia, where the most significant concentration of archaeological materials connected with the Eurasian nomads of the Early Scythian period is recorded. The flat plains of Central Anatolia had good pastures and served as a space where different cultures communicated with each other since ancient times. In the 7th—6th centuries BC this territory was located between Western Anatolia with Lydia and the eastern Greek centers and Eastern Anatolia, which was the zone of interest of Urartu and Assyria. Small local «principalities» were localized here. These «principalities» were probably controlled by well-armed and mobile nomads, who used this territory as a base for raids on neighboring as well as more distant regions. Finds of nomadic types from Central Anatolia include weapons (bronze arrowheads of various types, iron sword and axe, bimetallic pickaxe), horse equipment (bits with stirrup-shaped loops on the ends, three-looped cheekpieces, harness fittings), and objects made in the traditions of Scythian animal art style. Most numerous category of nomad inventory coming from the region is constituted by socketed arrows found in burials in the province of Amasya, Imirler, Gordion and on the local settlements (Boğazköy, Kaman-Kalehöyük, Kerkenes Dağ). The article introduces their typology and provides analogies coming from the Eurasian monuments of the 7th—6th centuries BC. The study of early nomadic complexes from Anatolia shows their syncretic nature, which is influenced by artifacts of Cimmerian, Scythian, and Сentral Asian origin as well as the local Near Eastern items. It highlights the complex ethnic composition of the nomadic groups located here in the 7th—6th centuries BC that does not allow attributing all these materials to a single group, for example, the Cimmerians.
Yu. B. Polidovych
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 75-92;

The paper analyzes the images on the gold gorytos covers of the second half of the 4th century BC (fig. 1). These items were found in the Chertomlyk kurgan (now the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine), the Melitopol kurgan (now the Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine), the kurgan near the town of Ilyintssi (now Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine) and the kurgan 8 from group of Piat’ bratiev (Five Brothers) near the stanitsa Elizavetinskaya (now the Rostov Oblast, Russia). All gorytos covers are of the same size. They were made using a bronze matrix (or a set of matrices) at the same time and in the same workshop. Most modern researchers accept the interpretation of the central images on the gorytos covers as the scenes from the life of Achilles, the hero of the Greek epic, who was revered by Greeks as divine protector. K. Robert proposed this interpretation in 1891. B. V. Farmakov­sky singled out five scenes from the life of Achilles which sequentially represent the Hero from his childhood to the death (fig. 2: 1). In this paper the author identifies nine scenes (fig. 2: 2). Upper frieze: 1) a young man (possibly Apollo) teaches the boy Achilles archery; Thetis stands side by side, she worries about the fate of her son Achilles (fig. 3: 3); 2) Achilles says his mother Thetis goodbye before leaving to the island of Skyros; 3) Odysseus finds Achilles on the island of Skyros; 4) Deidamia, the wife of Achilles, runs away in despair; 5) Peleus hands over his weapon to his son Achilles. Lower frieze: 6) Briseis regrets her fate as a slave (fig. 3: 1—2); 7) Zeus establishes the events in the fates of the heroes (fig. 3: 4); 8) Achilles accepts the gifts from Agamemnon and makes peace with him, a wounded Odysseus is standing beside him; 9) Thetis carries the bag with ashes of Achilles and mourns his death (fig. 3: 5). All scenes tell about the events that preceded the manifestation of Achilles as a great warrior and hero: the beginning of warfare training, the events on the eve of the beginning of the Trojan War, the events at the walls of Troy and the quarrel with Agamemnon. Perhaps these images are associated with the magic of knowledge about the beginning, about the origin. In this case, this is knowledge about the origin of Achilles as a hero. Such magical knowledge made it possible to wield the power of the Protector Hero and direct it to the right direction like a prayer or a spell. Gorytos was the Scythian weapon. This gorytos series was made in some workshop of a Greek city-state, possibly in the Bosporus kingdom. They were donated to the Scythian rulers with a secret purpose: with the help of magical images to restrain the warlike moods of the Scythians, to pacify them. Therefore, these gorytos were like a wooden horse which, according to the Greek epic, the Achaean warriors left as the so-called gift of Troy and with its help captured this impregnable city.
D. S. Grechko
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 44-57;

The paper is devoted to one of the important pages of the ethnic and cultural history of the population of the forest-steppe of Dnieper Left Bank area in the Scythian Age — settling of the forest-steppe parts of the basins of Sula, Psel, Seim, Seversky Donets and Middle Don rivers. The analysis of material culture of new sites in the region allowed us to make several conclusions. Most of the handmade pottery forms and the main decorative elements of the ceramic complex of the sites of Eastern Bil’s’k type dating to the middle — second half of the 6th century BC are genetically related to the forest-steppe of Dnieper Right Bank area and to more western regions of forest-steppe. Materials from the Vorskla sites of the second half of 6th century BC are significantly differ and continue the local traditions of the previous time. The differences are clearly visible when comparing the material culture of that time of Western and Eastern fortifications of the Bil’s’k settlement. This indicates that the settlements of the Dnieper-Donets forest-steppe at this time did not reason due to the demographic explosion in the Vorskla and Psel interfluves. The set of the jewelry and a costume of the migrants of the mid-6th century BC at the forest-steppe of Dnieper Left Bank area has straight analogies among the materials of the Right Bank of the Early Scythian Age. It can be assumed that the initial migration areas could have been the Kyiv Dnieper region, the eastern and western Podolyan groups of the sites where the settlement systems and burials disappeared simultaneously. The participation of the population from Ros’ river and other regions in this process can’t be ruled out. Thus, in the development of the settlement system of the forest-steppe of Dnieper Left Bank area two main events that radically influenced the settling of the region by the sedentary population during the Scythian Age can be distinguished. First, during the Zhabotin period, on the territory of the Lower Vorskla and the Vorskla and Psel interfluve the settlements of the migrants from the forest-steppe of Dnieper Right Bank area appeared. In the Middle Scythian Age, as a result of the new movement of the tribes from the west, a ramified settlement system emerged. New migrants have created the settlements that are geographically united into several local groups: two in Sula, Vorskla and Seim basins, three in Psel and one each in Uday, Merle and Kolomak basins. It is interesting that new groups of the population bypassed in their resettlement the territories occupied at that time by migrants of the Zhabotin period.
S. A. Zadnikov,
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 203-233;

Bilsk is the largest fortified settlement of the Early Iron Age in Europe. The defensive line of the site consists of a rampart and the moat of more than 30 km length surrounding the area of ca. 5 thousand hectares. Over the years of the exploration of this archaeological site the idea of the time of settlement of certain parts of the archaeological complex, the origin and peculiarities of the creation of grand defensive structures was gradually formed. A special role in the process of their formation and use was played by the Eastern fortification, the fortified walls of which existed for more than two centuries. Recent exploration of its rampart and moat taking into account the results obtained last years suggest the creation of strong defencive system on the place of unfortified settlements and offered new vision of the appearance of fortified walls. The analysis of excavation materials of different years allows us to state that the territories occupied by unfortified settlements in the pre-fortress period were much larger and went beyond the future line of wood-earth fortifications. For more than a century and a half in the western part of the settlement complex there were no defencive structures. Only open settlements are known, which appeared in the last third of the 8th century BC. The situation changed in the second half of 6th century BC when the eastern part of the complex was occupied by the population with other traditions. Probably at the beginning of the third quarter of the 6th century BC the founders of the settlement, located in the eastern part of the watershed plateau, surrounded the most important part of the village with a wooden fence (a wall of logs, or mud). A similar wall defended the settlements within the modern Western settlement. The defensive line of the Great Fortress was later planned according to the same principle. We believe that such a light fence, without additional engineering structures, had no defensive significance but determined its own social space of settlements, which housed the estates of local tribal leaders, the most important public buildings and other facilities. Probably belonging to the different tribal groups prompted the inhabitants of the two settlements to strengthen the system of defence and surround the perimeter of each of them with an earthen rampart. The settlements gradually turned into a kind of residence of the local elite. We can assume that in the last third of the 5th century BC or at the beginning of the last quarter of this century, most likely, in the unstable situation in the region, the single strong defensive line in the form of an earthen rampart with a wooden wall on the ridge and a moat in front of them was created. The rampart and moat of the Great Fortress probably delineated the boundaries of the centre of the tribal union. The representatives of different ethnic groups and different social groups lived in this large area. The created defensive line with a length of 35 km was relevant until the middle of the 5th century BC until the time of the appearance of the settlement within the Western settlement. In the Eastern settlement life continues for another century and a half, until the endof the 4th century BC.
S. S. Rzhewuska
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 241-255;

The paper is devoted to the history and historiography of the research of the Pidhirtsi group of sites of the Upper and Middle Dnieper basins of the Scythian Age. The source base includes 131 sites (82 of the Pidhirtsi type and 49 of the Mylohrad culture), which are located within the administrative boundaries of modern Ukraine. Chronological range is defined extending from the middle of 7th to the second quarter of 4th century BC. The territory covers the Middle Dnipro, Desna, Upper Horyn and Southern Buh basins which are the border between the forest-steppe and the mixed forests zones. The majority of the sites were explored during fieldwalking survey with prospect trenches. On the excavated Pidhirtsi settlement special openwork bronze adornments identical to the Pidhirtsi treasure were found. Based on these materials in 1950 V. M. Danylenko singled out the Pidhirtsi group of sites. There are four stages of research of the Pidhirtsi sites — from the accumulation of the materials to the interpretation. The first one (1915—1950s) is associated with the formation of the source base. In the second stage (1950—1970s) systematic study of the sites of the Upper and Middle Southern Buh and Lower Dnieper basins began. The third stage (1970—1990s) is characterized by attempts to systematize the identified materials. In the fourth stage (since the 1990s), researchers begin focusing on the interpretation of Pidhirtsi type adornments and implement the results for reconstructing the ethnic and cultural situation of the Middle Dnieper region in the Early Iron Age. For a fact, the openwork bronze (bimetallic) adornments are cultural and chronological markers of the Pidhirtsi group of sites. In conclusion, topical issues of future research will be related to technological and morphological aspects of the Pidhirtsi type adornments, the origin, classification and dating.
K. P. Sylenok
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 234-240;

Over the centuries, archaeological heritage of Ukraine has been developing under the influence of many factors. Research on such antiquities is a significant task of science for a detailed study of our history, deeper understanding of all stages of the formation, development and promotion of modern culture. Issues arising while protecting archaeological sites are relevant not only for Ukraine but also for many countries of the world. Preservation of history is the important task of every civilised country. Each monument is the source of information, and artefacts of a certain period in their totality represent a holistic cultural layer of history of people who lived in Ukraine no matter whether they were our ancestors or not. The paper outlines the issues of legal regulation of the research of movable archaeological objects (artefacts). Attention is drawn to the legislation on protection and preservation of archaeological and cultural heritage, procedure of cultural properties circulation in Ukraine. The main focus is on enshrining the concept of movable archaeological objects in legislation of Ukraine and some foreign countries. The issue of elaboration of this topic in the legislation and in forensic science is also addressed. Movable archaeological objects are exchanged and traded, such as Palaeolithic art, Bronze Age ornaments, stone axes, etc. Since they can be subject of crimes, and accordingly, can be investigated in forensic institutions, it is required to create a methodology for investigation of movable archaeological objects (artefacts) and conduct systematic research activities for the needs of forensic experts to ensure efficient provision of justice in Ukraine. It is also emphasised that while forensic examination of movable archaeological objects it is vital to establish their authenticity or non-authenticity.
M. Burghardt
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 33-43;

The paper presents some remarks concerning social stratification of the inhabitants of the forest-steppe areas of the left-bank Dnieperland between the 2nd half of the 6th and 4th/3rd century BC. The main aim of the article was to propose a new interpretation of the status of deceased buried in various grave complexes of this cultural phenomenon. The process of identifying groups occupying different positions in hierarchy was multi-level. One of the first things considered in the analysis was the context of graves of individuals belonging to subsequent clusters. The next stage of the study involved an attempt to recognize social classes and groups known from written sources and / or described for other societies of similar (Scythian) cultural model among previously distinguished clusters of grave complexes. It was established that the highest place in social hierarchy of the analysed communities was occupied by the individuals of the higher classes. This social class was not homogeneous; thus, we could divide it into at least few smaller subgroups. The richest and the most elaborate graves belong to local leaders of groups of various sizes (e. g. individual tribes or their federations) of diverse statuses. Slightly lower position was attributed to the forest-steppe aristocracy of the middle rank. This social stratum included of members of the (ancestral and / or tribal) aristocracy, leaders of small groups (clans) of the forest-steppe elites of the lowest rank, as well as the so-called «elite troopers». At the bottom of the social hierarchy of the forest-steppe elites was aristocracy of the lowest rank — the most diverse group belonging to the higher classes. It seems that leaders of smaller groups utilizing specific cemeteries / kurgan groups might have had similar social status. Yet, formally speaking, the latter social stratum most likely already belonged to the middle classes. The so-called «ordinary people», or simply common folk, constituted the majority of the analysed communities. This large social class could be divided into two main groups — wealthy individuals of slightly higher social status among the middle class, and the remaining «ordinary people». The lowest place in the presented hierarchy of nominally free members of the studied populations was taken by not so numerous representatives of «the poor». The list of social classes and groups distinguished within the analyzed society is completed by people with more or less limited rights, who were socially dependent on the members of higher classes (servants or enslaved domestic workers). The interpretation of the system of social stratification presented in the study was supplemented by the analysis of differences in the number of grave complexes assigned to a specific place in hierarchy. The obtained results raise the question of the level of representativeness of the social structure of the populations of the forest-steppe areas of the left-bank Dnieperland described in the study. First and foremost, in the analysed set there is an extremely high percentage of grave complexes assigned to the higher classes. The article offers fer possible explanations of this phenomena, including the theory that the unusually high percentage of grave complexes linked to the more privileged groups was a consequence of a vast underestimation of the number of burials of the individuals occupying lower positions in hierarchy. It seems that the disrupted proportions between burials belonging to the higher and the lower classes may have resulted from various factors, including the source database itself. We should keep in mind that most of the grave complexes that had to be excluded from the statistical analysis have features characteristic for burials of the individuals of middle and lower social status.
O. D. Mogylov
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 256-263;

During the period between First and Second World Wars a large-scale archaeological research was carried out in connection with the construction of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (the DniproHES). Large number of ancient sites felt into the area of flooding and destruction. In order to study them the Dniprobud expedition was organized which carried out significant excavations in 1927—1932 under the head of D. I. Yavornytskyi. Among the excavated sites there was also the necropolis located on the eastern side of the 3rd quarry of the Dniprobud, on the right bank of the modern Zaporizhzhya city, on a high rocky slope of the Old Dnieper. The works took place in September — early October 1931 headed by the Dniprobud expedition member P. I. Smolichev. At the time of the excavation most of the necropolis included more than a dozen stone pavements had been destroyed. Only two burials survived under single-layer stone pavements with a diameter of 5.6—8 m. A menhir-like stone was recorded near grave 1. Single burials of the necropolis were made in catacombs with stone chambers’ barriers. Supposedly a child and a warrior were buried. Child’s burial was without grave goods. The man was accompanied by the arrowheads and pot. The necropolis near the 3rd quarry of Dniprobud is a part of the whole system of Scythian necropolises with moundless burials on the Lower Dnieper. The area of such necropolises coincides with the Scythian settlement network. Settlements are often located near such necropolises which gives grounds to connect these burials with the population of such settlements. The topography of the necropolis on the slope above the Dnieper is typical for burial mounds in the Dnieper area. Burials made of stone are also typical for this region. This tradition dates back to the Bronze Age and is also known during the pre-Scythian period. The graves near the 3rd quarry of Dniprobud can be dated to the 4th century BC based on the types of burial structures and grave goods. Moreover, they can be considered to belong to the local ordinary nomadic Scythian population which began to change their way of life to the settled one. However, it preserved typical traditions of nomads’ funeral rites. In addition, the implementation of burials under stone pavements may indicate that the new ethnic substrate of the region, formed in Scythian Age, may have included some part of the aboriginal population that lived here since the Bronze Age and pre-Scythian times.
D. V. Karavaiko
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 155-162;

The Shyriaeve hillfort has been permanently explored for 5 years. Сonsidering the excavations of the late 1940s and 1950s, the total excavation area reaches 556 m2. The period of existence of the fortified settlement covers the late 6th—4th centuries BC. As a result of recent work, three chronological horizons have been distinguished. The spectacular material is obtained which allows us to get closer to the characteristics of different aspects of life of ancient inhabitants. One of the least studied cases is the degree of development of the bronze foundry. The information available today allows us to describe this craft in general terms and draw preliminary conclusions. Copper and (or) bronze were imported goods. Finds of the fragments of amphorae, glass beads and cowrie shells should be included in the category of other imported items. Exchange links with the neighbors have been established but the extent of their intensity remains unclear. The consequence of activities of local craftsmen are the findings of clay tapholes and crucibles. Other tools, including chisels, are made of iron. There is no complete certainty about its use by artisans — foundries, because such things were multifunctional. Other finds include the bronze or copper bars which were commodity ingots, in the primary raw material for smelting various products. Craftsmen also used colored scrap metal in the form of various plates and fragments of objects. Indisputable evidence of local production is its remnants in the form of splashes. The conducted analyzes with care allow to assume smelting of copper from ore directly within the settlement. The ways of getting copper ore (bronze) and a number of other things to the Shyriaeve hillfort have not been clarified yet. It is possible to assume that the main importer was the hillfort of Basivka — the central point of the Sula river basin. To date there is little material for a full analysis of the foundry of the residents of the Shyriaeve hillfort. Its study has just begun.
A. M. Khazanov
Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, Volume 42, pp 163-192;

Interregional long-distance trade in silk certainly existed in ancient and medieval times, but the transcontinental and regular «Great Silk Road», whether overland or even maritime, is a myth, a phantom. Its existence is not confirmed either by written sources or by archaeological data. A concept of the Silk Road implies at least know­ledge of macro-routes and their final destination, as well as transcontinental connectivity. The latter, if it existed in antiquity and medieval times at all, was much more occasional than regular and intentional. As a rule, such trade involved many middlemen. The «Silk Road» and the trade in silk, even a trans-regional one, are quite different notions. The transcontinental overland trade existed in but a few short-lived historical periods; it was neither confined to silk nor was it even a road. The «silk roads» were only one of many long-distance continental and transcontinental trading itineraries that existed in the Old World in premodern times. It is also important to remember that transcontinental trade was limited only to high-value, low-volume goods. The exotic appeal of long-distance trade in luxuries combined with a striving for political correctness often results in distorted and exaggerated opinions on premodern commerce in general. Not only silk and other luxury and prestige goods, but also people, religions, languages, scientific knowledge, inventions, innovations, new technologies, know-how, chemicals, minerals, metals, plants, medicine, cultural transmissions and artistic styles and fashions, cuisine, and musical instruments moved along its numerous itineraries, but on the negative side, epidemic diseases and epizootics were also disseminated across Eurasia along with them. Finally, it is worth stressing again that the long-distance Eurasian trade not only directly or indirectly stimulated movements of people and created ethnic diasporas. Frequently it was just members of these diasporas who brought new knowledge and technological knowhow and contributed to their practical applications in the new milieus. That was the main achievement of Eurasian trade, with no continuity between the trade in silk in the ancient and medieval times.
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