3rd International Workshop on the Black Sea in Antiquity
“Peoples in the Black Sea, from Prehistory to the Roman period”
International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, 21-23 September 2018
Friday, 21 September
Mikhail Rusakov and Anastasia Marchenko, The time of appearance of early Scythian sites in
the steppe zone of the Northern Black Sea region
The time of appearance of early Scythian sites in the steppe zone of the Northern Black Sea region
The time when Scythians first came to the Northern Black Sea area is one of the most controversial issues in Scythian archaeology. Early Scythian culture is traditionally fixed in two regions – Ciscaucasia and Dnieper forest-steppe zone. At the same time the vast steppe territories situated between the mentioned regions have for a long time been unsighted because of the small amount of early Scythian sites.
Advance of recent archaeological surveys allows revising the position of archaic steppe sites within the early Scythian culture. To date we know about 100 archaic Scythian sites, situated in the steppe zone of the Northern Black Sea area. Most of these sites are located in the Lower Don region. It may be connected with the functioning of Taganrog settlement – one of the first Greek colonies in the Northern Black Sea area.
We suppose that the early Scythian period in the steppe zone of the Black Sea region lasted from the middle of the 7 th to the middle of the 6 th centuries BC. These dates are based on some categories of burial inventory, first of all on imported Greek ceramics. The earliest reliably dated site in the region is burial mound Krasnogorovka III. It should be mentioned that we don’t know any burial complexes in the steppe zone that were built within the second half of the 6 th century BC. Scythian burials reappeared at the beginning of the 5 th century BC; burial rite differs from the early one, which may testify for a new ethnic group of Scythians to come.
Considerable amount of early Scythian sites found lately in the steppe zone of the Northern Black Sea region makes it possible to adjust the hypothesis concerning two early Scythian areas and consider the steppe zone as the third centre of the archaic Scythian culture.
Zaur Hasanov, Mirrors with Zoomorphic Handles from Mingachevir in Comparison with the Olbian Style Mirrors of the Northern Black Sea Region
Mirrors with Zoomorphic Handles from Mingachevir in Comparison with the Olbian Style Mirrors of the Northern Black Sea Region
Bronze mirrors with zoomorphic (rarely anthropomorphic) handles were widespread in the Scythian archeology of the Northern Black sea region, Northern Caucasus and Carpathian Basin. Handles are often decorated with sculptured depictions of a ram, a feline predator, or a deer. T.M. Kuznetsova dates their appearance to the second half of the sixth century BC, but K.V. Chugunov points to the recent findings of the mirrors of this type in two graves belonging to the seventh century BC. Researchers often call these artifacts – mirrors of the Olbian, or the Graeco-Scythian style. Bronze mirrors with zoomorphic handles were also found in two Scythian type earth pit graves of Mingachevir necropolis in Azerbaijan. They are dated to the seventh to fourth centuries BC. According to the classification of Kuznetsova, the mirrors from Mingachevir are local modification of the class II compound mirrors of the Olbian style. Many researchers believe that these mirrors were produced locally in the South Caucasus, because they have a number of differentiating features, such as a depiction of a horse at the end of the handle. Most of the researchers are convinced that the Graeco-Scythian style mirrors originate from Olbia. V.M.Skudnova believes that the Olbian Greek craftsmen only modified these mirrors by adding the side handle to the mirrors with the central handle, which were brought from China. N.L. Chlenova points to the existence of the mirrors with the side handle in Central Asia in the second millennium BC. Thus these mirrors in Azerbaijan could originate both from the Northern Black sea region and Central Asia. Scythian type objects of both Northern Black sea (arrow heads) and Siberian (granulated earrings) style were found in the Mingachevir Necropolis. The existence of differentiating qualities on the mirrors from Mingachevir could either point to their origin from Central Asia, or local (South Caucasus) modification of the Olbian style mirrors from the Northern Black Sea region. Future findings will help to clarify the problem of their origin. (This research has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 734645, “Knowledge Exchange and Academic Cultures in the Humanities. Europe and the Black Sea Region”).
Victor Cojocaru and Lavinia Grumeza, Greeks and Non-Greeks in the BCOSPE II and BCOSPE III
Greeks and Non-Greeks in the BCOSPE II and BCOSPE III projects
BCOSPE II (Archaeologica) and III (Ars, res sacrae & mythologica) are the second and third of a planned series of six volumes dedicated to the bibliography of the northern Black Sea shore in antiquity. An up-to-date bibliographic guide to studies in the ancient history of the Northern Black Sea has long been a desideratum, both for Western and Eastern scholars. The events occurring in the Black Sea countries since 1990 made possible an increasing cooperation towards re-establishing connections that bridge the divides between Classical scholarship in the western and eastern hemispheres. Nevertheless, the historiographic positions on the Northern Black Sea coast remain to this date conflicting for the most part. Looking for a way out of this aporia, the first author of this paper began the compilation and gradual digestion of a - as complete as possible - bibliography of the Northern Black Sea coast in Antiquity, based on his personal experience of cooperation with both Eastern and Western European colleagues. With the publication of the first volume it became obvious that the importance of BCOSPE, its scope, originality and the diligence of its implementation do not leave any room for doubt that this book series will become a standard tool for everyone working on the Ancient Black Sea Region. This paper provides the opportunity to expand on the topic of the historiographic debate over time on the Greeks and Non-Greeks (esp. Sarmatians) from the perspective of BCOSPE II and III projects. The objective of this approach is not only to obtain a clearer understanding of the ancient peoples of the northern Black Sea region, but also to bring attention to some modern perceptions of history “that take the nation as timeless, the state as predestined, and the region as ephemeral” (cf. Charles King, The Black Sea. A History, Oxford 2004, p. 239).
Alexander Podossinov, “Barbarian” peoples of the Northern Black Sea region on the
Tabula Peutingeriana in comparison with the evidence of the literary tradition
"Barbarian" peoples of the Northern Black Sea region on the Tabula Peutingeriana in comparison with the evidence of the literary tradition
The paper is devoted to examine the “barbarian” peoples and the areas they were depicted on the Roman map, the so called Tabula Peutingeriana, in the Northern Black Sea region. Many of them have analogies in the texts of ancient geographers, some ethnonyms are hapaxes. Their placing on the map among other geographical objects (mountains, rivers, lakes and sea) can help in understanding their geographical localisation in some literary descriptions
Manolis Manoledakis, “Barbarians” in the southern Black Sea
“Barbarians” in the southern Black Sea
One of the particularities of the southern Black Sea littoral in Antiquity is that it was inhabited by more than twenty different peoples, spread in the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the sea. Not a single one of these peoples has left either any identifiable traces of material culture or any written texts. Thus everything we know of them is derived from the literary sources of other peoples, mostly the Greeks. However, these sources are enough to make us distinguish between peoples regarded by the Greeks as “more civilized” and peoples considered by them as “more barbarous”. The Mossynoikoi, who have been described as “most barbarous” by some Greek authors, surely belong to the latter category. This assumption based on specific narrations about the customs and way of life of the Mossynoikoi. These narrations will be the core of this essay, in an effort to illuminate the Greeks’ perception of the Mossynoikoi.
Adela Sobotkova, Burial mound builders of the Western Black Sea: through space and time
Burial mound builders of the Western Black Sea: through space and time.
Burial mounds span from Central Asia to Western Europe and are ubiquitous in the Black Sea littoral as well as its hinterland. The first burial mounds appear in the Early Bronze Age and are built as late as the Medieval Period. The long use span often seduces one into thinking of mounds as markers of cultural continuity and homogeneity. Alcock in her foreword to a 2016 volume on Tumuli as Sema, however, cautions the readers that the meaning in the tumuli changed vastly through time. These monuments were often reused, serving a distinct set of needs each time. Furthermore, one should not forget that long use span may contain hiatuses, too. In this paper I look at mounds as a regional phenomenon and compare the spatial constellation and morphology of burial mounds in two areas of Bulgaria over time. I explore how mounded landscapes contribute to the formation and reproduction of local communities and how their shifting spatial pattern reflects the changing needs and organisation of the living population.
Petra Janouchová, Quantitative approaches to epigraphy: Epigraphic production in Thrace as
a mirror of social organization
Quantitative approaches to epigraphy: Epigraphic production in Thrace as a mirror of social organization.
Historians and archaeologists often use inscriptions as an illustrative evidence of historical events or as a proof of existence of archaeological sites. However, when analyzed in bulk, epigraphic texts can tell us much more about the current social organization, the attitude of the political authorities towards the preservation and dissemination of information, and more importantly, the role inscriptions played in the lives of common people. On the example of epigraphic production from Thrace, I will demonstrate how the approaches towards publication of inscriptions changed over the course of thousand years (6th c. BC to 5th c. AD) and discuss the potential relation between the current socio-political organization and the size of epigraphic production. I argue that on the pre-state level society, inscriptions were seen and used as social prestige markers that only a few powerful individuals were able to secure. The preserved inscriptions, therefore, are not numerous and the text itself had only marginal importance for the entire society, but it was often executed on an object made of precious material, valuable for the owner. In contrary, in the state-level political organizations, such as those of the Greek poleis or the Roman Empire, inscriptions played an important role in public sphere enabling data dissemination and information preservation required for successful management of a complex society. However, namely in the Roman period inscriptions were increasingly used also in the private sphere as part of dedicatory and funerary practices and their contents reflected the current social hierarchy and social structure. The habit of publishing inscriptions became a relatively widespread phenomenon in the mid- to upper strata of the society of all cultural backgrounds, represented by soldiers, by magistrates with ties to the local government or by priests.
Alexandre Baralis and Vasilica Lungu, Dugout dwellings of Greek settlements in the Black Sea
area: the Caraburun Acic Suat case study
Dugout dwellings of Greek settlements in the Black Sea area: the Caraburun Acic Suat case-study
The so-called dugout dwellings constitute a typical feature of the Early Greek colonization along the Northern Black Sea coast. Facing the local climatic conditions, Greek settlers, during their journey toward their new homeland, had to adapt the architectural outlines of their houses, replicating models previously met probably in Thrace. Observed from Istros until Gorgippia, these particular dwellings cover a broad range of archaeological structures with circular or rectangular shape, with or without sleeper walls for the construction of the upper part of the building and varied depth. The presence of fireplaces on the soil still remains the main argument for the interpretation of these structures as dwellings. However, a last discovery made in 2017 in the chorai of Istros and Orgame, on the settlement of Caraburun-Acic Suat, shed new light on this very controversial issue.
Miroslav Ivanov Vasilev, The Plunderers of Salmydessus
The Plunderers of Salmydessus
The paper deals with the Thracians occupying the south-west Pontic coast, an area known as Salmydessos. It discusses all available sources mentioning the locals who plundered the wrecked ships and their crews. Who were these people? When exactly did they live? What was the chronological span of their activities, etc.
Despoina Tsiafaki and Amalia Avramidou, Consumers of Attic pottery in the Black Sea region
Consumers of Attic pottery in the Black Sea region
Peoples form ethnic groups, nations, common cultures, traditions or sense of kinship. They produce societies, ideologies, structures or objects. They are producers as well as consumers. Archaeology aims at the revelation of ancient people and their cultures employing Pottery among its primary tools, since it is one of the most popular material remains.
In ancient Greek culture, Athenian pottery enjoyed a remarkable popularity and distribution throughout Mediterranean as well as the Black Sea region, from the Archaic and in particular during the Classical periods (5th-4th c. B.C.). The archaeological evidence suggests that ancient Thrace and its people (locals, colonists, etc.) were among the consumers of those Attic vases. With a part of Thrace in Antiquity to include an area in the Black Sea, the aim of this paper is to explore this consumption there. Following the dispersion of the pots we attempt to get an aspect of the peoples that lived and the cultures that developed in the region during this period of time.
The up to date archaeological research has brought to light a considerable quantity of Attic vases in that part of the Black Sea area, covering the entire period from the 6th down to the 4th c. B.C. Taking also under consideration the fact that the archaeological evidence is accidental as a consequence of the irregular selection and distribution of excavated sites and of the uneven attention given to sherds, we aim to extract information from the vases as regards the people related to them, producers, transporters and consumers. Issues such as particular preferences and taste, contacts and exchanges or variations through time and site will be explored, in order to understand the presence and use of the Attic vases by the people of the region.
Saturday, 22 September
Ioannis Xydopoulos, The Other Greeks: The Achaei of the Western Caucasus
The Other Greeks: The Achaei of the Western Caucasus.
The paper deals with the west-Caucasian people of Achaei, encompassing many tribes. Their territory expanded from the eastern Black Sea coast to the hinterland, with Pityus and Bata being the main closest settlements. Due to the similarity of their name with the Greek Achaeans, a Greek origin was attributed to the Achaei, already by Pherekydes. What is interesting, however, is that their way of living had nothing to do with the Greek stereotypes of the Classical period. Instead, they could easily be perceived as barbarians, as they were famous pirates, surrounded by other minor tribes. An effort will be made, therefore, to illuminate the reasons for their perception as Greeks, despite the fact that they had all the characteristics of a perfect Other.
Madalina Dana, Greeks and non-Greeks in contact: commercial and epigraphical practices
according to the lead and
ostrakon letters from the northern Black Sea
Greeks and non-Greeks in contact: commercial and epigraphical practices according to the lead and ostrakon letters from the northern Black Sea
The private correspondence on lead and ostrakon is a privileged source for the writing, commercial and juridical practices of the communities in contact. Thus, this evidence attested for the northern coast of the Black Sea between the 6th and the 3rd centuries BC, gives access to realities that the local literary sources or official inscriptions do not allow to approach. Among these realities, we can stress the contacts with local populations, broadly debated on the basis of archaeological sources. Recent historiography leaves aside ethnicity to focus on Middle Ground phenomena, which, far from being characteristic for mixed populations, are the result of conscious or, more often, unconscious borrowings and exchanges. This complex situation is illustrated by our documents, which mention people bearing non-Greek names (which is not always indicative for an ethnic origin) involved in commercial transactions with the inhabitants of the Greek cities, as business partners, competitors or opponents. Beyond the territories of the Greek poleis, the legal framework for commercial transactions appears to be ensured by the local application of the Greek law, particularly for the procedure of seizure (sylan) if one of the partners has been harmed in his interests. The non-Greek populations can be mentioned in three manners: individually, as an identifiable group although not accurately located, or in general as “Scythians”. For an overview of these phenomena, the parallels could be made with similar documentation provided by the Phocaean settlements in the Gulf of Lion, in particular Emporion and Pech-Maho. This economic Middle Ground is doubled by a cultural one, as a result of the shared language, the Greek, writing practices and use of the written records, both correspondence and registers.
Hazar Kaba, Athenians in Sinope: Tracing the Archaeological Evidence
Athenians in Sinope: Tracing the Archaeological Evidence
Written sources inform us of an Athenian presence in Sinope, probably starting from around mid-430s BC. According to Plutarch, the main source of this information, this presence was established by the founding of an Athenian “colony” as a cleruchy by the settling of 600 Athenians in the city itself.
The archaeological evidence related to this cleruchy and the people that constituted it, namely the Athenians, is a less central subject within the scope of Sinopean studies. The few investigations on this subject, to a large extent, seem so far unable of going beyond being partial and superficial evaluations. Thus, up to today, the subject of Athenian presence in Sinope still lacks the backing of concrete and extensive archaeological data.
This paper aims to shed a little more light on the subject of Athenian presence and the presence of “Athenians” in Sinope by conducting a general, yet still large-scale, analysis of present archaeological data. An examination of a varia of archaeological data will be conducted to reveal more about this aspect of the Sinopean past. Grave markers and inscriptions, finds more possible to be linked with people themselves, will form the core of the study together with other finds, such as ceramics, which might only present an indirect yet supportive addition to the final result.
Margarit Damyanov, Emil Nankov, Daniela Stoyanova, Inconspicuous Presence? Macedonians on the West Pontic Coast in the Early
Inconspicuous Presence? Macedonians on the West Pontic Coast in the Early Hellenistic Period
Quite unexpectedly, the history of the Thracian coast of the Black Sea in the time of the Macedonian expansion in the later 4th and early 3rd c. BC remains largely unknown. Philip II reached the area, and we know of Zopyrion, praefectus Ponti under Alexander the Great, who was active in the northern part of the region. Nonetheless, the actual condition of the West Pontic poleis is unclear for the period when Macedonian efforts were concentrated in the East. After Alexander’s death, Lysimachus inherited Thrace and its Pontic coast and ruled the region for more than 40 years. The paper will focus mainly on this period (323-281 BC) and the processes that could be glimpsed from the very scarce written sources and the archaeological realities on the ground. A clear division emerges of two distinct areas. While the core of Lysimachus’ territories was in the southeast of Thrace, his activity along the coast of the Black Sea is attested exclusively to the north of the Balkan range – between Odessos and Kallatis, the region where barrel-vaulted “Macedonian” tombs appeared in the Early Hellenistic Period. In the same time, Apollonia and Mesambria to the south are curiously absent from the sources. The end of the 4th c. BC marked the beginning of the former’s decline that only deepened in the decades after Lysimachus’ death. On the other hand, the latter emerged thriving in the second quarter of the 3rd c. BC. Some details may raise questions to what extent Lysimachus actually controlled these parts. An attempt will be made to outline these trends and the main unknown areas that result from the current state of research.
Adrian George Dumitru, Thrace, Thracians and Antigonids – in between the wars, allegations and propagandas, from Kynoskephalai to Pydna
Thrace, Thracians and Antigonids – in between the wars, allegations and propagandas, from Kynoskephalai to Pydna
Weakened by the defeat at Kynoskephalai, the kingdom of Macedon had to give up any project of expansion towards continental Greece and therefore turned its attention towards the North and the East of the Balkan Peninsula.
Mila Chacheva, Aegyptiaca Pontica. New and old evidence from the West Pontic Coast in
Aegyptiaca Pontica. New and old evidence from the West Pontic Coast in Hellenistic times
Cross-cultural interrelations have always been of great interest to historical researchers. In the Hellenistic Period, when the ancient world seems to have been more globalized than ever before, examining the remote influences is both interesting and challenging. Egyptian and Egyptianizing objects have been found all over the Mediterranean since the Bronze Age. This trend is even better attested after the death of Alexander the Great when Egypt was under the control of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
The paper aims to present the Egyptian and Egyptianizing objects found on the West Pontic shores, mostly in the Greek colonies. Special attention is paid to some personal ornaments like faience scarabs, glass and bronze pendants, a finger ring with representation of a Ptolemaic queen, etc. These intriguing small finds could lead to some observations on the perception of Egyptian cults and magical connotations in a different cultural environment. Together with the evidence of imported pottery (Hadra Style) and faience vases, they provide a somewhat scattered picture of the cross-cultural relations between the Greek cities on the West Pontic coast and Egypt.
Mihail Zahariade, The Roman Policy in the Black Sea basin in the 1st-3rd centuries
The Roman Policy in the Black Sea basin in the 1st-3rd centuries
The paper discusses shortly the Roman naval policy and strategy in the Black Sea in the 1st-3rd centuries AD. The inheritance which Rome took over from the Hellenistic cities on the coasts of the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus) prompted the new administration to reorganize the defense structures both on land and sea. The eradication of piracy combined with a policy of protection of the Greek cities, and the turning of some important territories in Roman provinces allowed the Roman administration to confer a climate of peace and prosperity in the economic, political and social fields. If the second century AD was a period of progress due to the lack of any major threat from the north, the second half of the 3rd century was a time of crisis and vacillation. The Roman administration seems to have lost temporarily the strategic initiative in the Black Sea due to the devastating Gothic and Herulic invasions. Claudius II victory at Naissus (Nis) brought the restoration of the situation in the Black Sea. The setting of the new capital of the Empire at Constantinople is a major factor in the strengthening of the links of the Black Sea area and eastern Mediterranean basin.
Latife Summerer and Perikles Christodoulou, Cypriots in Sinope
Cypriots in Sinope
After the defeat of Mithridates VI, Sinope was conquered and incorporated into the newly founded Roman Province Pontus-Bithynia by Lucullus and Pompeius in the sixties of the first century BC. It was then raised in rank of colony (colonia) under Caesar around 45 BC together with other North Anatolian cities, such as Apameia, Parium, Heracleia Pontica and Lampsacus. Situated at the northernmost point of Asia Minor and at a natural harbour Sinope was an important marine base where soldiers and veterans from all provinces of the Roman Empire were stationed. The military presence in Sinope is mainly recorded in funerary inscriptions. Among them we encounter two members of the cohort Cypria. This paper aims to contribute to the scholarly discussion on the involvement of the cohort Cypria in the defence of Black Sea by the light of new inscriptions.
Şahin Yıldırım, The Burial of Mithridates VI and some Speculations on the Sinope Boztepe
The Burial of Mithridates VI and the Speculations of the Sinope Boztepe Tumuli
The city of Sinope, which has great importance with regards to the Black Sea archaeology and history, has also preserved its significance in Pontic Dynasty and maintained its status as capital of the dynasty for a long period. Inarguably, Mithridates Eupator VI, one of the most interesting characters of the dynasty, played a significant role for this city. Both ancient sources and modern researchers can not define the certain location of the burial place of the king. Yet the common opinion is that the possible location of the burial of Mithridates Eupator is in Sinope.
Mithridates VI the Eupator was not just an ordinary king or a local ruler. He was also a great commander who opposed to Rome’s ruthless and furious administrators who regarded Asia Minor as a source of wealth, income and an efficient slave market to be exploited. Thus, the returning of his corpse to the land where he was born by his own rival Pompey the Great, and the ceremonial funeral in accordance with the customs of his ancestors is very meaningful. At this point the positioning of the Sinope Boztepe in related ancient city and its identification with the notion of tumulus as a burial place of a respected commander, makes it one of the most suitable and possible locations for Mithridates VI Eupator’s deceased body.
In this respect, the tumuli located on the slopes of Boztepe peninsula, looking down to the city, in the district of Şahin Hill and thought to be the royal necropolis of Sinope are of paramount importance. The significant part of these tumuli is destroyed. Archeogeophysical studies were conducted on the two of tumuli that exist today.
Apart from the tumuli located on Şahin Hill, there is another tumulus on the upper slope of Boztepe peninsula where the flagstaff is erected. This tumulus is located in the former American airbase and it has a prominent location which differs from the other tumuli of the city. Also, this tumulus was destroyed in the ancient times. The significant part of the soil embankment of the tumulus does not exist today. The bedrock located inside the tumulus was carved out and the burial chamber and the very long dromos is visible. The entrance of the burial chamber and some parts of the burial chamber present stonemasonry of a high quality. But the most interesting part of the burial is its location. This tumulus and Saint George Monastery which were constructed in the Byzantine Period and the shrine of Hızır İlyas which was constructed in the Anatolian Seljuk period are found in the same area. Saint George Monastery does not exist today, but some architectural structures of it can still be seen near the burial. In addition to this some parts of the main wall of Hızır İlyas shrine are still in a preserved state.
Hüseyin Vural, In the light of recent discoveries: the palace of the Pontic dynasty in
In the light of recent discoveries: the palace of the Pontic dynasty in Sinope
Until recently, the only known mosaic from Sinope is the one that was found in the architectural structure known as the sanctuary of Serapis, during the excavations conducted by Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal and his colleagues between 1951 and 1953. Yet, the excavations conducted by Sinop Archaeological Museum in recent years have yielded pebble mosaics of high quality. All of these mosaics were made of white pebble stones. On these mosaics mythological scenes and creatures, the struggles between wild animals, floral, zoological and geometrical depictions are displayed. Some of these mosaics are compliant with the period’s painting style while on others the relief technique was used. Mosaics made by using relief technique present a high quality of art style and it seems that they probably belong to the place known as the palace of the Royal Pontic Dynasty.
|15.30-15.50||Gocha Tsetskhladze, Once again about Pit houses and Handmade Pottery|
Sunday, 23 September
Morning: Excursion to Pella (archaeological site and archaeological museum)