Varvara Busova

The Historical and Archaeological Context of the Taman Peninsula

The Taman Peninsula is located in the Krasnodar Krai with borders on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The warm climate, its strategically advantageous location, and the incredible fertility of the land in these parts have transformed the peninsula into a crossroads of cultures and civilizations: the Greeks, Maeotians, Scythians, and Huns, among others, have deposited a wealth of archaeological relics on the peninsula. Without these archeological finds, the modern world of Taman would be unimaginable today. This article describes the key stages in the historical development of the peninsula, supported by archaeological research and details of the most striking archaeological relics that have been discovered over the entire course of researching the peninsula: these are the archeological findings that form the "anchor" of the Taman Peninsula's history.
Chapter 1
General chronology: From the Stone Age to Modern Times
The cultural history of the Kuban region contains rich themes. A multiplicity of peoples have always been drawn here by the favorable climactic conditions, its sea and river routes, and the extensive opportunities for hunting and agriculture. Today, it is difficult to imagine another region on the territory of the Russian Federation where you can breathe in so much history of the past and literally walk upon the archaeology under your feet.

The fate of the Taman Peninsula has been dictated by its location (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. "Le Palus-Meotide et le Pont-Euxin", engraved by Alexandre Tardieu and published in "Voyage du Jeune Anacharsis en Grece", 1825. Size 22 х 15.5 cm. Image provided by
Taman lies at a geo-political crossroads, where various fascinating cultures intersected by#nbspmeans of#nbspinterethnic contacts.
Located between two seas, this was a pleasant place with a good climate and numerous resources. Millions of years ago, people valued its riches.

Kermek is the oldest site, not only in Russia but in the whole of Western Asia beyond the borders of the Caucasus. It is located on the Sea of Azov side of the peninsula, at the Akhtanizovsky settlement, a kilometer and a half to the northwest of the village of Za Rodinu. The site encampment is approximately 1.8-2.1 million years old. The people who left behind traces of their life and work here on the high seashore in the form of tools are believed by experts to be part of the Oldowan culture that was first discovered in African Tanzania and named Homo habilis (literally, "skilled man").

The Stone Age lasted for almost two million years, until man learned to source copper. The implementation of copper ushered in the Bronze Age. At the turn of the 4th–3rd century B.C., the Maykop Culture became the jewel of this region. Its craftsmen created magnificent golden bulls and pots made of sheet bronze. The culture had every chance of becoming a civilization of the same magnitude as those flourishing in Western Asia, but it was not to be.

From the middle of the 3rd century B.C., life began to develop towards the steppe, as people moved north in search of new grazing lands.

With the onset of the Iron Age (9th–7th centuries B.C.), the Doric Order and Sparta-Argos waged wars, Hesiod wrote poetry, Aesop wrote fables — and nomads, the Cimmerians and Scythians, made their way across the Taman Peninsula. Other barbarians lived a more settled way of life; namely, the Maeotians (as the Ancient Greeks called the native population of the Kuban region). It is difficult to say who these people were. There are fragmentary reports of them from Greek historians and Assyrian chroniclers, who described the trading journeys of their merchants or the battles of their military commanders. In those difficult times, the Cimmerians frequently became a military problem for many tribes.

A little later, in the 6th century B.C., the Greeks established city-colonies on the Taman Peninsula: Phanagoria (the southern outskirts of the village of Sennaya), Hermonassa (modern Taman), Kepy (the northern outskirts of the village of Sennnaya), and Patrei (the village of Garkusha). The colonists entered into trade and personal relations with the local populations, and gradually the state of Sindica arose. We know little of this state, but it clearly maintained a strong trade with Greece, which influenced the culture and way of life of its inhabitants and, to a certain extent, created blood ties with the Maeotians. However, the story remains a complex one.

Towards the end of the 4th century B.C., Sindica became part of the Bosporan Kingdom, with its capital in Panticapaeum (today's Kerch), inhabited by Greeks, Sarmatians, and the local peoples. By that stage, the Kingdom had grown weak, but continued to wage internal wars. In the 1st century B.C., it became a dependent of the Roman Empire, losing the right to mint gold coins. Then came attacks by the Goths from the West (2nd century A.D.) and an invasion by the nomadic Huns from Asia (4th century A.D.). Effectively having lost its cities (the Huns reduced them to ruins), the Bosporan Kingdom appealed to Byzantium for aid and subordinated itself to that state in return for protection. The Huns preferred to avoid an entanglement with Byzantium, and the Hun Prince Grod even adopted the Christian faith and began to collect tribute for Byzantium from his tribesmen and to fight against paganism. A Hun uprising that took place as a result of this treachery was crushed by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian: the Huns were driven off the peninsula and the Bosporan Kingdom was rebuilt anew.

However, this peace did not last long. By the middle of the 6th century A.D., a new empire had formed: the Turkic Khaganate, stretching from the Chinese border to the Black Sea region. At first, the two empires — the Byzantine and the Khaganate – acted as allies against Iran and even organized a northern branch of the Great Silk Road in order for trade to prosper, but relations quickly worsened and the Turkic forces, led by Turksanfa, attacked the Bosporan Kingdom, pillaging it and taking many slaves. However, the Turkic side did not enjoy their victory for long. Their ranks included the Bulgars who founded their own state, Greater Bulgaria, with Phanagoria as its capital(today the settlement of Sennaya). This took place under the leadership of Khan Kubrat (who spent his youth in the imperial palace in Constantinople and was raised in the Byzantine manner), and with the participation of a series of settled tribes from the Black Sea region. They became masters of the incredible riches of their predecessors, but Kubrat died and internecine conflicts broke out once again, such that Greater Bulgaria broke up into smaller regions.

The Bulgarians were eventually finished off by the Khazars, who in the 7th century developed a powerful, early feudal state. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Khazar Khanate occupied the Taman Peninsula and faced no opposition in the northern Black Sea region. The Khaganate's main town on the Taman Peninsula became Tamatarkha (formerly the Greek Hermonassa). Khazaria, which did not exist for long, is of interest to us for its religious order. Pagans, Muslims, and Christians numbered among the state's subjects, but at the end of 8th century, the state religion of the Khazars became Judaism.

However, in certain regions, practice of the Christian faith continued, one such place being the Taman Peninsula. We know of references to the diocese of Tamatarkhi dating to 8th century, as well as the Khazar mission of Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century, their route having taken them through Taman.

In the 9th century, the Pechenegs began to impinge on the Khazar Khaganate. The Grand Duke Svyatoslav Igorevich Khrabry ("the Brave", son of Igor the Old and Princess Olga) ultimately finished the Khaganate off by means of an alliance between the Pechenegs and the Ghuzz, a Turkic people. The Taman Peninsula was transferred to Kievan Russia, becoming the Tmutarakansky Principality, and Tamatarkha became Tmutarakan.

It is no accident that Tmutarakan is a name with negative connotations in Russian culture. The fate of this state is associated with continual infighting among the descendants of Svyatoslav Igorevich in the Middle Ages. In addition, Tmutarakan became a place of exile for princes who had lost their throne. The last reference to Tmutarakan in the old Russian chronicles dates back to 1094. In "The Tale of Igor's Campaign", we can find a reference to Tmutarakan as an "unknown land." According to the text of this important literary text, Prince Igor, upon heading off on his campaign, wanted "to search for the town of Tmutorokan."

In 1792, Admiral A. V. Pustoshkin and Lieutenant-Colonel X. Rozenberg (or A. A. Golovaty, according to one version of events) found the so-called "Tmutarkan Stone" during a redeployment of Cossack forces. The circumstances surrounding the discovery and the transportation of the object are steeped in legend. However, it is clear that this is an old and highly significant landmark in Russian epigraphy, if it is indeed authentic. The microscopic investigation of the erosion of the marble by doctor of historical sciences B. V. Sapunov has largely resolved the debate: the ancient provenance of the work can be established by micro-fractures where the text was carved into the stone. The inscription indicates that in 1068, the Tmutarakan Prince Gleb Svyatoslavich measured the distance between the central places of worship in Tmutarakan and Korchev (today's Kerch) and it amounted to 14,000 "makhovie sazhen", which is equivalent to 24 kilometers. The original stone has been preserved in the State Hermitage Museum since the mid-19th century.
When the Russian princes left the Taman Peninsula, it was gradually taken over by the Polovtsians and other local tribes who lived fairly peacefully and prosperously. But in 1239, the peninsula was seized by the Tartar-Mongols, and it became a part of the Golden Horde.
The Horde, in turn, broke up into khanates. Thus, at the beginning of the 15th century, the Crimean Khanate was formed, headed by Khan Haji-Girai, and its territory included the Taman lands.

It should be noted that even under the Tartar-Mongolians in the 13th century, Genoese merchants from Italy began to make inroads into the peninsula. Trading was not easy there and the merchants had to reach an agreement with Byzantium to be allowed through its channel, and then with the Horde to be allowed to establish a colony and to trade. As a result of these diplomatic efforts, the Genoese founded the city of Matrega (formerly Hermonassa, and prior to that Tamatarkha, now Taman), built according to their tastes. The population of Matrega was of the Orthodox faith, bearing witness to the fact that, despite all of its dramatic renamings and cataclysms, the city was founded by Greeks and continued its established way of life.

The history of Italians in Taman lasted for two centuries, ending in 1475 with the invasion of the peninsula by the Osman Empire. The Turks established the fortress of Khunkala in long-suffering Hermonassa/Tamatarkha/Matrega/Taman. The Turks did not destroy the Italian colonies, but they did subdue the Crimean Khanate and began joint raids on the neighboring Adygeans. In 1522, the Adygeans turned to Ivan the Terrible for assistance, and the Russians and Adygeans remained allies in their military operations against the Turks and Crimean and Astrakhan khans until the 1560s.

The Russo-Turkish war of 1768–1774 over a Russian outlet onto the Black and Mediterranean seas significantly destabilized Turkey's dominance, although Taman remained under Turkish rule. The diplomatic and military confrontation between Turkey and Russia in the Black Sea region and in Kuban continued right up until 1791, when Kuban, Taman, and Crimea ended up in Russian hands (Fig. 2) as a result of the Second Russo-Turkish War. This period in the history of Taman is closely linked to Catherine the Great, Alexander Suvorov, and Grigory Potyomkin.
Fig. 2 "The Cimmerian Bosporus or the Taman Strait seen from the Black Sea" and "Looking in the direction of the Sea of Azov with the conical mountain of Prekla on the right," engraved by Joseph Skelton on a picture by E. D. Clarke, published in "Travels in various countries…", 1810. Engraving. Size 20.5 x 16 cm, including the heading and margins. The image was provided by
As early as 1775, following the conclusion of the first Russo-Turkish campaign, Catherine the Great signed a decree on the settlement of the Taman Peninsula and Kuban by Zaporozhian Cossacks with the aim of protecting the Empire's southern borders. The order was only carried out following the conclusion of the second military campaign. In 1792–1793, 17,000 Cossacks and their families arrived on the Taman Peninsula in ships and made their way across the land. They established 40 homesteads and a white-stone church of the Holy Mother of God in Taman. To this day, the anniversary of the landing of the Zaporozhian Cossacks in Kuban is celebrated in Taman.

The Cossacks came to the peninsula with serious intentions to stay for the long term. They had to find a common tongue with the local representatives of the peoples whose ancestors had been linked to these lands: the Greeks, Turks, Tartars, Adygeans, Russians, and Jews, among others. Taman and its characteristic way of life was described by Lermontov in A Hero of Our Time. For the poet from Russia's capital, the officers of Taman were "tmutaran-ish", which is to say a dark, dangerous, and strange land.

The Taman Peninsula once again became a hotspot in the 20th century: it took the Bolsheviks three years to drive out the White Guard and to establish Soviet power on the peninsula. Brutal fighting raged on the peninsula during the Second World War. The Taman peninsula played a key strategic role in the battle for the Caucasus, and when it was freed in 1943, a salute was sounded in Moscow.

Following the liberation of the Taman Peninsula, for some time it remained a base along the road to Crimea. It was here that the Taman women's aviation regiment was located, commanded by Yevdokia Bershanskaya. At night, the female pilots would fly out to attack the fortifications of Kerch and to supply the ground forces with munitions.
The history of the Taman Peninsula continues to#nbspdevelop, and luckily, the last 75 years have been peaceful.
That brings our short historical overview to an end. We will now concentrate on the ancient history of the Kuban region and the Taman Peninsula, and the archaeological remains from the classical era located in the Temryuk district around the settlement of Golubitskaya.
Chapter 2
The birth of archaeology: Discoveries from the end of the 18th century to the present day
Every academic field has its origin. Archaeology began with the collection of ancient oddities and developed as a field within art history. Only towards the end of the 19th century did it establish itself as an independent academic discipline.

The Russian Empire acquired "its own antiquity" due to its victories over the Turks (1768–1774 and 1787–1791) and thanks to the enlightened Catherine the Great, who collected about 10,000 artefacts during her lifetime. It is true that prior to Catherine, there was Peter the Great's Siberian collection, which comprised golden oddities ("rarities" and "antiques"), acquired for the most part by means of robbing graves and burial sites in Siberia and the Volga Region. However, at this stage in the development of field, there was no demaracation of sites and discoveries by means of diagrams, plans, or sketches.

In the 18th century, numerous Europeans worked for the Russian Empire, particularly Germans, and they brought the traditions of European science to the nascent sciences of Russia. Soon after the second Russian-Turkish war, the academician A. P. Pallas traveled to the Crimea and to Taman with a scientific expedition in 1793–1794, where he noted a large number of burial mounds around ancient Phanagoria (at that stage a postal station, Sennaya). He bore an additional interest in the geology, flora, fauna, history, ethnography, and the economic activities of the local population. He published on all these matters in detail, and we can now trace his steps across the peninsula. He did not reach the villages of Golubitskaya and Temryuk: "as a result of the winds blowing in off the sea, raising the level of the Temryuk estuary, it was impossible to reach that town, which had little of interest, so I returned here.." (Observations made during a journey along the southern regions of the Russian state in 1793–1794, 1799–1801, p.107).

It should be said that during this period, archaeology was widely regarded as the study of classical heritage (which is to say antiquity) through monuments in the visual arts (Klein, 2014: 41). Architecture, sculpture, and wall paintings gained interest among the enlightened classes of society for their value in art history and philology, and these became enterprises that were potentially profitable. Other discoveries were not valued in this way. At the end of the 18th century, the first to excavate the Phanagoria necropolis was the military engineer Van der Weide, but almost all of his archeological findings were pilfered by the soldiers hired to work on the excavations. Numerous learned travelers visited the Taman Peninsula, leaving notes and observations. The academician Yegor Kohler (a curator at the Imperial Hermitage) traveled to the Crimea and Taman in 1804. At the Andri-Atam headland (now Boris and Gleb Hill), he found a monument dating back to the Bosporan Queen Komosaria (Kamasaria), whose reign had previously been unknown (Fig. 3). Under Kohler's direction, his discoveries were transported to the Hermitage in boxes, and the gold braiding in the rich entombments were quaintly described in the attached inventory listings as "spangles." In 1811, the Frenchman Paul Du Brux worked near Kerch, searching for antiquities to sell. However, he became so captivated by the area he was working in that he became an expert in the field and went on to take part in the organization of the Kerch Antiquities Museum. His archeological digs at the royal Kul-Oba burial mound near Kerch raised a veritable storm. From 1820 onwards, the local head of the town administration, Ivan Stempkovsky, continued his work. In Phanagoria, the Kerch bureaucrats Anton Ashik in 1836 (Ashik would go on to become the director of the Kerch Antiquities Museum), and Demyan Kareisha from 1839 studied the Phanagoria necropolis (burial site). The quality of their work was not ideal, but certain accounts have nevertheless been preserved for future generations.
Fig. 3. Statue of the goddess Astara erected by Komosaria. Drawing – Yegor Koehler (stored at the Kerch Museum-Reserve)
In the first half of the 19th century, "ancient stones" from the constructions of bygone eras were often used by the local population in contemporary constructions. Towards the middle of the 19th century, the concept of 'historicism' arose, and attitudes towards cultural antiquities was changed forever.
In 1852, the Imperial Hermitage opened its doors to the public, and its exhibition included artefacts from the Taman Peninsula.
It was there, two years later, that Ludolf Stefani published his three-volume work, Antiquities of the Cimmerian Bosporus preserved in the Imperial Hermitage Museum (Fig. 4), in French and in Russia. For ancient artefacts, whatever they might be, a new era had dawned.
Fig. 4, The cover of Antiquities of the Cimmerian Bosporus, 1854.
In the second half of the 19th century, the study of Phanagoria intensified. In 1853, following the discovery of a pedestal inscribed by a certain "Kassalia" in honor of Aphrodite Urania, studies were undertaken with the use of trenches that were fairly destructive. In 1859, another prominent specialist, Karl Gerts, was sent by the Imperial Archaeological Commission to the Taman Peninsula to carry out excavations, and 11 years later, having become a master of the theory and history of these arts, he presented and defended a thesis on their basis: The archaeological topography of the Taman Peninsula. In 1864, Ivan Zabelin, already fairly experienced in the "field", studied 9 burial mounds in a single session on the shore of the Taman Bay (Bolshaya Bliznitsa to the south of Phanagoria (Fig. 5)). It turned out that many of the burial mounds had already been plundered in ancient times. Nevertheless, as a result of his volume on these works, discoveries were made: a gold laurel wreath, a ring featuring a scarab beetle and a depiction of a deer, a cast statue of a female dancer, beads and buckles, bronze mirrors, a spoon, a coin (a gold stater) featuring Alexander the Great, a calathus basket with imprinted depictions of barbarians fighting griffins, pendants featuring nereids (sea nymphs) riding on seahorses, a head plate, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, four rings, buttons, a large number of sewn on buckles featuring depictions of Demeter, Persephone, and Hercules.
Fig. 5.1. Buckle with a depiction of Hercules © State Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Fig. 5.2. Headwear in the form of a calathus. Barbarians fighting griffins. Last third of the 4th century B.C. © State Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Fig. 5.3. A pair of pendants to be hung from the temples with depictions of sea nymphs on seahorses on the medallions (the nymphs are carrying Achilles' leg armor) © State Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Researchers maintained a huge interest in selecting burial mounds for digs as at such sites there was a good chance that they will find striking items that were worthy of a place in Hermitage exhibitions. If gold or artistic works were not found at the excavations, they were deemed unsuccessful (Tunkina, 2010, 78).
Fortunately, at the beginning of the 20th century something of an academic revolution took place with the typological approach of Oscar Montelius. This approach was based on the concept of the evolution of standards, which allowed for artefacts to be dated relatively accurately, and on the concept of archaeological cultures as an aggregate of specificities that characterize different ancient populations.
Against this background there arose an interest in "barbarian" cultures: everything became interconnected, such that a failure to recognize the influence of one culture on another became a serious academic oversight. The methodologies used to carry out excavations and to record and register discoveries improved, and the first methodological works appeared in the Russian language.

The historian Mikhail Rostovtsev paid particular attention to the phenomenon of cultural synthesis among the "barbarian" tribes in the region. He prepared Corpus tumulorum Russiae meridionalis for publication — a work dedicated to burials in the south of Russia. He was the first to note the major influence of the Scythians on Greek culture (Classical and Scythian antiquities of the northern shore of the Black Sea, 1918), and he called for systematic studies to avoid the thievery carried out by his colleagues.

Following the two revolutions of 1917, there was a period of temporary crisis in the field in conjunction with the death and emigration of many of the leading figures studying the Kuban region. The field did not immediately recover as the Soviet era got underway, but fairly quickly it began to serve the interests of the young state, which required sound foundations to justify its might and diversity. Archaeologists set to work, boldly using all of the technological achievements of the time (for example, topographical photographing of settlements and necropolises). Local universities and museums became involved in archeological work. From this period onwards, archaeology no longer represented the interests of prosperous individuals. Instead, it served the interests of the state and the state institutions. In the second half of the 20th century, emergency excavations were actively developed as a result of construction and economic development in the region. These excavations brought forth a host of fascinating finds.

From the 1970s onwards, excavations were sporadically conducted very close to the Golubitskoe Estate, 8 kilometers to the west of Temryuk, (Golubitskaya 1) at a fortress that had existed from ancient times right up until the 13th century B.C. The Taman expedition of the State History Museum (Moscow) has been carrying out archeological digs since 2004 at the Akhtanizovskaya 4 settlement, where the presence of the Roman era is evident to this day. On the other, opposing side of the channel (which has dried out and is now the shore of the Akhtanizovsky coastal lake), the Bosporan expedition from the same museum operates with the German Archaeology Institute to study the town of Golubitskaya 2 (founded in the second half of the 6th century B.C.). These fortified settlements are situated opposite one another and they were among the very earliest Greek colonies in the East.
The shoreline of the Taman Peninsula has changed over time; as a result, underwater excavations are also being carried out.
In the 1950s, the first to undertake such work was Vladimir Blavatsky's team, which identified the northern border of Phanagoria by means of dives. From 1999 onwards, underwater excavations became a more or less regular occurrence, and an independent team from the Archaeology Institute's Taman expedition has conducted annual, full-fledged research from 2004 with the support of the Volnoe Delo Foundation. It has now been established that the shoreline was located 220 to 250 meters further north of the current line (20–22 hectares of the total area of the town are now located underwater). The cribwork of the 3rd and 4th centuries has been studied, and apparently it was part of the foundations for a quay and created using second-hand materials, including fragments of different constructions, the pedestals for sculptures, and the head of a marble statue (Kuznetsov, 2014). In 2012, an entire vessel that had sunk in 63?? A.D. was discovered. How was this established? It is known that Mithradates VI Eupator sent a punitive force to subdue Phanagoria, which was rising up against him. In 2014, a bronze battering ram bearing the emblem of the ruler (a star and a crescent moon) was found alongside the sunken ship. Another important milestone in the history of local underwater archeology was when President Vladimir Putin descended to the bottom of the Taman Bay and discovered two fragmented amphorae in 2011. This is a fairly common discovery in this place: previously, broken amphora utensils used to transport goods were simply thrown overboard in the port.

I. V. Tunkin. The first research programs in classical archeology of the Northern Black Sea region (18th–mid-19th centuries) // Problems of ancient history. A collection of scientific articles dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the birth of Prof. E. D. Frolov. edited by D.I. and A. Yu. Dvornichenko. SPb., 2003, pp. 359-375

I. V. Tunkin. History of study // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. Institute of Archeology RAS. M., 2010, vol. 1, pp. 20–128

L. S. Klein. History of Russian archeology: Teachings, schools, and personalities. Vol. 1. General overview and pre-revolutionary times. St. Petersburg, Eurasia, 2014

Phanagoria. Results of archaeological research. Under the general editorship of V. D. Kuznetsova. Moscow: Institute of Archeology RAS, vol. 1., 2013, p. 492, ill.

Chapter 3
Culture of the Stone Age and Bronze Ages
The Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic) is the longest era in the history of mankind, and at the same time seems the most impenetrable. This era possesses few written sources and eyewitness accounts (few people were literate at the time). There is only the material evidence that archaeologists collect and study, like detectives. Most probably, the initial settlement of the Taman Peninsula came from Western Asia and the Caucasus. The oldest known site of the ancient Kermek man on the Taman Peninsula (Fig. 6) is located on the shores of the Sea ofAzov in the rural Akhtanizovsky settlement, 500m northwest of Za Rodinu village and dating back 2.1–1.8 million years.
The section of the cultural layer that has been studied contains stone tools from silicified dolomite, the fossilized bones and teeth of small and medium-sized mammals, and mollusk shells.
Fig. 6. Kermek site. Tools from silicified dolomite (V. Ye. Shchelinsky, A. S. Tesakov, V. V. Titov, A. N. Simakova, P. D. Frolov, S. V. Kurshakov. The early Pleistocene site Kermek in Western Ciscaucasia (preliminary results of multisite research) // Brief Report of the Institute of Archeology, Issue 239, 2015, pp. 240–257)
The most ancient inhabitants of Taman engaged in so-called costal foraging of high protein food: their yield included shellfish, dolphins, and fish that washed up on the shore. There are known to be similar settlements to the east of this site: Rodniki 1–4 (1.2–1.6 million years ago) and Bogatyri (1.0–1.2 million years ago). At the Bogatyri site, archaeologists have found the bones from the Taman elephant and Elasmotherium (Fig. 7). Notably, the Taman elephant was the "great-grandfather" of the woolly mammoth, and the Elasmotherium looked like very large rhinoceros.
Fig.7.1 The process of excavation at the Sinyaya Balka / Bogatyri site (in the photo, some participants are cleaning the bones of elephants and rhinoceroses and others are placing the discoveries into the site plan.
Fig. 7.2 Fragment of the Sinyaya Balka / Bogatyri excavation site (photo documentation); lower jaw of the Taman elephant
Fig. 7.3 Fragment of the Sinyaya Balka / Bogatyri excavation site (photo documentation); lower jaw of the Taman elephant (photo by V.V. Titov))
In general, in the Kuban during the early Paleolithic, people not only lived in caves, but also on open mountain slopes and river and sea terraces, which were warmed by the sun. There they built primitive huts; created primitive tools such as cores, points, and scrapers; and the entire collective hunted for mammoths, deer, bison, horses, wild boars, cave bears, and hyenas. Perhaps the main difference between the Paleolithic monuments from the Mesolithic and Neolithic is a gradual complication of the technique of creating stone tools, so-called "microlithization". Next the bow and arrow appeared, and hunting became easier.
10–9 thousand years ago, the last signs of glaciation disappeared, the climate turned warm, and the environment became similar to its modern appearance.
"Geometric microliths" were widely used to create complex tools (plates, trapezoids, segments). These were inserted into a wooden or bone base to form a knife blade. The Neolithic in the Northwestern Caucasus and the Kuban region is considered to be poorly studied; therefore, it is customary to speak only about the general characteristics of this era, relying on comparative data from neighboring settlements in the Crimea, Don region, and the North Caucasus. The most famous monuments of the late Neolithic are the Kamennomostskaya cave in the Kuban region and the Nizhnyaya Shilovka station near the town of Adler on the Black Sea coast, where a polished double-sided ax was found among stone implements, as well as the first signs of pottery: fragments of rough molded pottery. From this moment on, ceramics would become a permanent cultural marker in the everyday life of the local population until the middle of the 20th century A.D. At the same time, among faunal remains there appears the bones of wild animals (red deer, roe deer, bear, hare, forest cat, badger, and otter) and domestic animals (bull, sheep, goat, dog, and pig). The Eneolithic era and the Copper Age began, characterized by the emergence of a manufacturing economy and a sedentary lifestyle involving animal husbandry and agriculture. Another turning point for the Near East arises in the 5th century B.C., after which the world will never be the same again: the implementation of copper. At first, small items are made from native copper by means of the cold forging method: beads, rings, and other small jewelry items. In combination with various additional alloys, copper (as bronze or brass) acquired new qualities and became more widely used to create extremely varied items: weapons, dishes, jewelry, and tools.

In the second half of the 4th–beginning of the 3rd century B.C. the famous Maykop culture formed throughout the entire territory of the Ciscaucasia, including on the territory of the Taman Peninsula. The culture is named after the Oshad mound in the city of Maykop, excavated by N. I. Veselovsky at the end of the 19th century. This 11-meter mound was no exception to common practice. Unfortunately, as often occurred with excavations at the end of the 19th century, almost no complete documentation has survived, but a drawing of the burial is known, which was created by the archaeologist, seeming "by eye". At the moment, this remains the only documentation of these excavations. Three individuals were buried in a funeral pit divided by wooden partitions: a man and two women in a crouching position with their heads to the south and densely sprinkled with ocher. From the Upper Paleolithic, the use of red pigment in burial was widespread. Above the man was what was construed to be a canopy made of six silver rods, each about 1m high, decorated with bull figurines made of gold and silver (Fig. 8). The noble man was literally "covered" with gold discs stamped with images of bulls, lions, and rosettes, and with beads of silver, gold, turquoise, and carnelian. He wore a diadem on his head and gold earrings. At the eastern wall there were 17 vessels of gold, stone, and silver with food for the dead. One of the vessels was engraved with the image of a mountain range, the outlines of which researchers liken to both views of the North Caucasus and Armenia. These were the most impressive part of the burial. Comparatively fewer accompanying items were found in women's graves. The uniqueness of this complex was in its wealth, its undisturbed state, and the skill of artisans of the Bronze Age, comparable only to the archaeological complexes of the same period in Greece. The materials are kept in the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg). Similar items were found in a buried treasure-trove near the village of Staromyshastovskaya in the Kuban region: silver vessels, a bull and antelope figurine; gold objects in the form of three rosettes, about 40 temporal rings, and a lion's head; as well as 2500 gold and silver and more than 400 carnelian and lapis lazuli beads.

Fig. 8.1. Sculptural bull figurine. Mid-to-late 4th century, B.C. Maykop Kurgan © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Fig. 8.2. A vessel decorated with a landscape. Mid-to-late 4th century, B.C. Maykop Kurgan © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The inhabitants of Maykop bred nearly all types of domestic animals, but pig breeding, as well as cattle and sheep husbandry were of primary importance in their economy. The people of Maykop distinguished themselves in their ability to process valuable metals and they were also skilled in the production of ceramics. We know the prototype of a primitive potter's wheel appeared in Mesopotamia in the 4th century B.C., but it began to be used widely throughout the world only at the turn of the era (that is, 3–4 thousand years after the invention). Inhabitants of Maykop also used a rotary tool when molding pottery. At the same time, there are no traces of the use of such a tool in Eastern Europe. In a word, stylistically and technologically, the Maykop culture had a very Near Asian feel. The researchers wondered why the representatives of the Uruk culture (which in particular is suspected of having ties with the Maykopians), which existed in the Middle East at the same time period (early 4th–3rd century B.C.) might have needed to move to the Caucasus? The most plausible theory concerns the development of precious metal mining (copper, gold, and silver). This is essentially a resource theory. New traditions and people infiltrated the area by means of Iran, Transcaucasia, and the North-Eastern Caucasus, which brought them to the territory of the Kuban region. In ancient times, these territories were global in context. The development of ore deposits pushed people to search for new territories; it made certain lands more attractive for migration. One of these territories was the Circumpontic Metallurgical Province, which covered southern Europe and part of Asia, primarily concentrated around the Black Sea. In the 3rd century B.C., the mining of metals in this region intensified, directly influencing the prosperity of the population. During this period of time, the resulting bronze was used to produce objects characteristic of Maykop metal production: bronze awls, flat wedge-shaped and eye-shaped axes, chisel tools, spearheads, and meat hooks with anthropomorphic figures. A unique feature of late Maykop culture is the creation of metal cauldrons 21 to 57 cm in height that imitated clay vessels but were made from sheet bronze.

The Maykop culture ceased to exist in the 3rd century B.C. As often happens with such vibrant cultures, we do not fully understand how it arose and even less so why it disappeared without becoming a civilization with a complexly organized state structure. There is a theory that the Maykopians went east to the steppes of the Southern Urals and founded the Country of Cities. But this is not strictly true. They were replaced by the builders of the dolmens, the main habitat of whom did not reach the Taman Peninsula; the builders of dolmens preferred to stay in the foothills of the North Caucasus.

At the turn of the 3rd–2nd century B.C., the direction of contact changed abruptly in these territories. Contact with Western Asia as a whole remained in the past. Migrants from Eastern Europe begin to move in (metal was running out there and they required expansion of their pastoral pastures), and there appeared close ties with members of the Pit Grave culture. The historical continuity between the Pit Grave culture and the Catacomb culture has been proven, and then emerges the Timber Grave culture ("a special Kuban version of the Timber Grave cultural and historical community"). It should be noted that these cultures and communities are named by archaeologists according to the shape of their burial structures (pit, catacomb, log house). According to recent studies, the Sabatinovka culture also flourished in these parts in the late Bronze Age, which researchers associate with the Prarakians and the Carpathian-Balkan region. From about 2500 B.C., the environment began to change such people moved north to the steppe in search of new pastures as the climate became drier and the amount of arable land decreased. The inhabitants of the Azov and Taman regions were actively involved in the extraction of salt from drying lakes and estuaries; they supplied both in the steppe and the Caucasus, as salt had a wide range of use: salting meat and fish for long-term storage, leather processing, etc. Natural scientific research methods (isotope analysis) reveal that the steppe "Catacomb" people, especially men, spent a lot of time near the coastal strip, but at the same time periodically returned to the steppe (Shishlina, 2013: 137).

Man began to actively appropriate this region about 2 million years ago. It possessed a warm climate and an environment rich in edible flora and fauna for gathering and hunting.
The Maykop culture became a real jewel of the Bronze Age, whose development (according to the Near Asian model) lead directly from an early primitive form to statehood (Munchaev, 2010: 165). But here, in contrast to the Middle East, this path was not traversed to its logical end.

N. I. Shishlina. Steppe and Caucasus: A dialogue of cultures. // Bronze Age. Europe without borders. Publishing house "Clean sheet". SPb-M-Berlin, 2013, pp. 128–139

R. M. Munchaev. Culture of the Stone Age and Bronze Age. // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. Institute of Archeology RAS. M., 2010, vol. 1, pp. 146–167

Chapter 4
The early Iron Age as a "golden age" in Taman history: Meots, Sindi, Scythians and Sarmatians
The onset of the Early Iron Age did not take place simultaneously throughout the world, but advanced throughout the Eurasian continent from more or less from the beginning of the 1st century B.C. Notably, we still live in this era.

People came across iron long before the Iron Age, but most often archaeologists found it in the form of jewelry. The era fully comes into its own when iron becomes the primary material of tools. On the Taman Peninsula, this occurs in the early 7th–8th centuries B.C., and researchers associate these processes with "protomeotic" monuments dating back to the early Scythian time. Here, bronze was still the main raw material for equestrian equipment and spears, but at a later stage of the archaeological community, the preponderance of iron became noticeable: everything that was previously made of bronze was then made of iron.

The life of the Taman Peninsula during this period was closely associated with all nomadic and non-nomadic communities that lived and actively moved around: the Cimmerians, Meots, Sindi, Scythians, and Sarmatians. These are simply large communities of people who were ethnically very different, such that today it is difficult to give them any more specific description.

The work of historians and archaeologists is greatly facilitated (when everything converges) or sometimes complicated (when discrepancies arise) by the presence of written and epigraphic sources: ancient authors constantly write about their "strange" neighbors, trying to make sense of their customs.

Militant Cimmerians live in Eastern Crimea, the steppes of the Black Sea region, and Taman. They were so dangerous that Urartian, Persian, Greek, and Assyrian sources wrote about them. In the 8th century B.C., they marched across the entire Caucasus to Asia Minor, did it again by the end of the 7th century B.C., and then they dispersed under the onslaught of the Scythians. Archaeologically, they can be distinguished with the help of various local archaeological cultures; however, these do not show much difference from later Scythian culture.

The largest group in the so-called Maeotians were the Meots, who are known to us from the reports of ancient authors and epigraphy (most likely, this is where they got their name). The Meots were not a nationality or an ethnically homogeneous tribe, but a community of different tribes that lived on the southeastern and eastern shores of the Sea of Azov until the 4th–mid-3rd centuries B.C., when they became part of the Bosporus kingdom. The ethnonym "Maeotae" was first found in the work of Herodotus when describing the campaign of Darius to Scythia (Herod. IV. 123). In the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, whose lists date back to the third quarter of the 4th century B.C., the Meots were located behind the Savromats: "The Meots live beyond those ruled by women" (Pseudo-Scylax, 71). Strabo had already united different tribes under this name: "To the ranks of Meots belong the Sindi and Dandarii themselves, the Agras and Arrechs themselves, as well as the Tarpets, Obidiaken, Sittakens, Doshi, and others belong to the Meots" (Strabo. XI. 2. 11).

The Meots were active builders of fortified settlements; now there are known to be more than 200 of these, often with citadels and moats (Limberis, Marchenko, 2010: 191). Inside the settlements, oval buildings were erected from unfinished (unbaked) and kiln-fired hand-formed bricks on a wooden frame intertwined with reeds. The walls were covered with clay and whitewashed with chalk, the floors were mudbrick, and the roofs of some houses were covered with tiles. Ceramics diversified among the Meots in the 6th–5th centuries B.C. much more so than that of the previous proto-Maeotian population, including: black-polished ladles, jug-mugs, bowls, molded pots for storing grain, and jugs for water and wine (such as amphora). These remain until the 1st century B.C., when Sarmatian "animal" components emerge as handles: bears, wolves, wild boars, and rams (Fig. 14). At the turn of the era, oil lamps and incense burners appear (Fig. 9); this can be attributed to Roman influence. The Meots lived along trade routes from the ancient world to the Scythian-Sarmatians and acted as intermediaries, so their military culture became very syncretic: the Maeotian infantry soldier was armed with a short sword (in the ancient style), 1–3 spears (in a purely Meotian style), and iron and bronze arrowheads (in the Scythian style).
Fig. 14. An earthenware vessel with a zoomorphic handle. Sarmato-Alan culture, 2nd–1st centuries © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Fig. 9. Gray clay lamp, with the image of a flower on the spout. 1st century B.C. Bosporan Kingdom, Panticapaeum necropolis © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The burial rite of this culture is characterized by the placement of corpses in pits on burial grounds without tumuli. But sometimes tumuli appear on Maeotian that apparently belonged to the Scythian nomadic tribes (Kelermes and Ulsky kurgans), who had a great influence on the Meots. The Maeotian culture survived until the 4th century A.D. and then was simply reborn as the culture of the early Adygs (Kantorovich, 2006: 326–327).

Other neighbors of the Meots were the Sindi (the Sindica state), who lived on the modern territory of the Taman Peninsula (according to written sources). According to the testimony of Pseudo-Scylax, the Greek cities of Phanagoria, Kepa, and Patrey were located on their territory. Most likely, this was a union of ethnically differentiated tribes. But at the time of the arrival of the Greeks in these parts, apparently there was no permanent population. Since the western border of Sindica is not indicated by ancient authors, it is often extended to the whole of Taman. One might infer that the Greek cities were founded on the territory of a "barbarian" state, but this is not at all the case. First, Greek cities appeared, their inhabitants came into contact with the barbarians, intensifying internal state processes. In the 5th century B.C., the Sindi began to mint their own coins, but a Sindica state existed only until the second quarter of the 4th century B.C. before being subsumed into the Bosporus state. If we talk about their material culture, then it is easy to become confused because it was spread over territories more extensive than those assigned to the Meots by ancient authors, let alone Bosporan writings. It is generally believed that the Sindi belonged to this same culture. The most famous Sind sites are the Seven Brothers' Fortress and the Seven Brothers' Tumuli (Fig. 18). This settlement is historically associated with the capital of the Sind state: Labrys. The settlement is located 28 km northeast of Anapa and is located on the high left bank of the Kuban River. Its first researcher was V. G. Tiesenhausen in 1878. It was he who left the descriptions of the surviving high fortress walls (up to 3.2 m). During the 20th century, various researchers periodically undertook excavations here, but since 1986, when a slab with a dedicatory inscription to Leukon I was unexpectedly found (in the text of which it was stated that the city of Labrys was located here), the interest of researchers has increased.
Fig. 18. Rhyton with a tip in the form of a dog's half-figure. Mid-5th century B.C. Seven Brothers' Tumuli. Taman Peninsula. Excavations by V.G. Tiesenhausen in 1876 © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
A famous myth is associated with the Sindi, recorded by Polyaenus in the 2nd century in his work Stratagems. He describes the story of a strong independent Maeotian woman, Tirgatao, who married Hecateus, king of the Sindi. Finding herself in an atmosphere of inexhaustible sexism with her traitorous husband, she managed to escape and win over the many different tribes living around the Sea of Azov, bringing Sindica and the ruler of the Bosporan state to his knees, who was considered the infidel.

Not far from Labrys, there are the burial mounds of the Sind nobility and aristocracy: the Great Seven Brothers' Tumuli. Scholars have been riveted by them since the end of the 19th century, and now a rich inventory from there can be seen in the Golden Storeroom of the Hermitage (Fig. 19). These tumuli were at the crossroads of two worlds: the ancient world and the Iranian-speaking nomadic word. An example of this can be seen in the history of those times: the Sind king Hecateus bears a classic Greek name, whereas he gave his son the classic Scythian name Oktamasad. The ancient Greek historian and philosopher Nicholas of Damascus (64 B.C.–4 A.D.) wrote the following about the traditions of the Sindi: "The Sind throw as many fish on the grave as the number of enemies killed by the deceased". A worthy offering for the people living at the very edge of the sea.
Fig. 19. Signet ring depicting a panther attacking a deer. 4th–5th century B.C. Seven Brother's Tumuli © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Now we turn to the neighbors of the Sindi and Meots: the nomads or "barbarians", from whom these Hellenized peoples often had to defend themselves by building fortifications, and with whom they traded and mixed in every way. These are the Scythians and Sarmatians.
During this period, the role of nomadic cattle breeding increased, their way of life changed, and the custom arose to place a horse harness and weapons in the burial mound when a rider was buried.
The first mention of the Scythians are found in Assyrian written sources. Their cuneiform tablets mention peoples who came from the Black Sea region to Western Asia at the beginning of the 7th century B.C. It was they who for 28 years organized disturbances in Media and Nineveh and destroyed the state of Urartu in parting. At the end of the 7th century B.C., it was they who returned to the Black Sea region and fortified the area for the next 500 years. Scythia reached quite widely: from the Lower Danube and the Carpathians to the Don, to the Black and Azov Seas in the south, and to the forest zone in the north. But again, it is difficult to establish whether these were a single people. Scholars argue about this constantly: the ancient authors call Scythians everyone who lives like they did and their neighbors, about whom they have heard something, but which whom it would have been impossible for these authors to reach (for example, the Nevri, Melanchlaeni, and Budini).
The first Scythian mound was excavated back in 1763 by A. I. Melgunov.
An iron sword was found (Fig. 10) in a golden scabbard with images of lions shooting bows and winged bulls with human faces, which immediately suggests Assyria and Babylon (Martynov, 2005: 235). The most famous royal burial mounds are located mainly on the territory of Crimea and modern Ukraine: Solokha, Chertomlyk, and Kul-Oba. These are structures of fantastic size with accompanying burials of slaves and concubines, who were killed alongside their leader.
Fig. 10. Iron sword in a gold sheath from the Cast Barrow (Melgunovsky). 7th century B.C. © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
From here come such jewels of archeology as a vessel made of electra (an alloy of gold and silver (Fig. 11)) with the image of Scythian warriors in headgear doing household chores: one pulls a bowstring, another bandages the other's wounded's leg, and a third removes a friend's tooth (Kul-Oba). In Chertomlyk (a mound 20m high and 350m in diameter), there was found a vessel on which the Scythians are depicted catching and subduing horses. The Solokh mound (18m high and 100m in diameter) was excavated by N.N. Veselovsky. In addition to containing a richly decorated man's burial with gold plaques adorned with flowers, the mound held the accompanying provisions: a groom with five horses, a servant boy, and a squire. But this mound was truly famous for a golden comb bearing the scene of a Scythian battle (Fig. 12). It is comical that the leader of the excavations did not notice it at first. Count Bobrinsky and his son drew attention to it when they came to visit. In order for the reader to understand all the variety of cultural mixing that simultaneously took place in these parts, we can specify that in one niche there were Scythian bronze cauldrons with the bones of a ram, cow, and horse (in the nomadic style), and in the other – amphorae, in which oil and wine were likely kept (in the Greek style).
Fig. 11. Vessel made of electra with Scythians figures. Kurgan Kul-Oba. Second half of the 4th century, B.C. © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Fig. 12. Comb with an image of a battle scene from the Solokha mound. Late 5th–early 4th centuries B.C. © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Fig. 13. Onlay depicting a fantastic animal. Sarmato-Alan culture, 2nd–1st centuries. Kurgan 1 (excavations by N. I. Veselovsky in 1908). Prikubanye, Krasnodar Territory, Tiflisskaya village © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Interestingly, the favorite historian of all archaeologists, Herodotus, described how the Black Sea Scythians buried their leaders in great detail: the wax-soaked corpse of the leader was taken from tribe to tribe and displayed. Then his concubines, cupbearer, cook, groom, and servant were strangled and placed in a previously prepared grave, followed by food and gold bowls. In perfect congruence, here we see nearly the very same set of accompaniments.

In general, the culture of the aristocrats and the ruling elite is presented to us clearly. But how did the so-called middle-class Scythian live? Fortunately, settlements and mounds belonging to the ordinary population of Scythia are known in these parts. The tumuli here are quite small, raised over shallow pits. Most contain molded pots, bronze earrings and rings, iron knives with bone handles, and arrowheads. Slightly wealthier Scythians could afford to put antique imported vessels or hryvnias in their graves.

What is distinctive about Scythian culture? The Scythians were not a single people, but a collective name for a number of tribes of Eurasian nomads. These include the European Scythians, Asian Saki, and the Yuezhi of Altai and Tuva. If you look at anthropological data, then the earliest of them were Caucasians, although they traveled from east to west. According to Herodotus, the Scythians drove the Cimmerians out of the Northern Black Sea region and, trying to catch up with them, invaded Southwest Asia. They returned with booty in the 7th century B.C. and settled in the lower and middle reaches of the Kuban River. It is believed that it was they who subjugated the local sedentary barbarian population: the Meots. The second campaign to Southwest Asia took place at the end of the 7th century. B.C., and the Scythians again returned with plunder: some of them once again assimilated with the Meots, and some left to seek a better life westward in the Black Sea region. There are several theories of how the Scythians got to the Black Sea region. One is based on stories that Herodotus recorded from the Scythians themselves, who believed that they descended from the first Scythian named Targitai. The second was recorded from their Greek neighbors: the Scythians are the offspring of a local snake goddess and Hercules. But Herodotus himself trusted the third version: the Scythians came from Asia, spurred on by the Cimmerians. In fact, the main element distinguishing these nomads from everyone who came before and after them is the cultural unity in which the Scythian triad found its manifestation: weapons (acenaces sword; bow, arrows, and quiver belt hook; and spears), a horse bridle, and the Scythian-Siberian animal style. Thanks to these pillars, the Scythian culture can eb confused with none other.

Great changes took place in the 3rd century B.C., when the Sarmatians (another set of other nomadic tribes) who lived to the east of the Scythians swept through the Scythian territories and subjugated part of them. Another group went to the Crimea, where they founded the Scythian Naples. As a result, at the turn of era, Scythian culture was reborn so robustly that it began to resemble the urban culture of Greece and Rome.

The Sarmatians who ruled in the steppes of the Black Sea region from the 2nd century B.C. to the 4th century B.C. came from the Volga region and the Urals. This was also a commonwealth of tribes: the Siraks, Alans, Aors, Roxolans, and others. It was they who destroyed the famous Taman tholos (more about this a little later). In the 4th–3rd centuries B.C., the Goths and Huns walked beside them, dragging their remaining forces back to Europe. The Sarmatians were also great lovers of the "animalistic" style in art: they used small sculptures depicting argali, deer, wild boars, camels, and other Asian predators, many of which they have never seen (Fig. 13).

In general, the military culture of the Sarmatians was not strikingly different from the Scythians: they preferred to use long iron swords (Fig. 15). The Savromats (from the 7th century B.C.), and then the Sarmatians (from the 4th century B.C.) are famous primarily for their burial of women warriors. The inventory of male burials consisted of swords and arrows, a bridle set, and occasionally spears. The inventory of many female burials also included swords – confirmed by data from ancient sources about the participation of young Sauromat women in hostilities – as well as decorations, mirrors, stone dishes, altar tables, and bone ritual spoons. Domestic tools were also found in burial sites: iron knives, spinning wheels, bone punctures (Kantorovich, 2006: 328).
Fig. 15. A sword of the Sarmatian type with a circular pommel and a bar-shaped crosshair. 1st century. Necropolis of Nymphea © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Why can the beginning of the Early Iron Age of the Taman Peninsula and all its contact zones be called a "golden age"?
Firstly, the reader should immediately abandon attempts to plot the territory on a modern map and divide up the customs of the peoples who lived on these lands. They lived side by side and almost inseparably, endlessly influencing each other: the Meots and Sindi, and the Scythians and Sarmatians coexisted together.
There was trade between them, cults were borrowed, and wives and military traditions were exchanged. Even the Greeks who "colonized" the area later than the rest (but before the Sarmatians) could not isolate themselves from their strange neighbors. Secondly, the funeral customs of these peoples are associated with the placement of many gold items of various artistic levels of mastery in the burial mounds. Most of the kurgans were plundered by their contemporaries in antiquity. But archaeologists remain captivated by this "gold rush" and will continue to enthusiastically study these objects in the future.

A.R. Kantorovich. Early Iron Age // Archeology: A textbook. M .: Publishing house of Moscow State University, 2006.

A.I. Martynov. Archeology: A textbook. M .: Higher school, 2005.

R.M. Munchaev. Cultures of the Stone and Bronze Age. // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. Institute of Archeology RAS. M., 2010, vol. 1, pp. 146–167

Chapter 5
Greek colonization and ancient cities. The "silver age" of the Asian Bosporus
Beginning from the end of the 7th century B.C., the Black Sea region became an area of ancient civilizations: of the Greek, then the Greco-Hellenic, and then the Roman worlds. Ancient settlements were founded by the Greeks along the banks of the Kerch Strait as a result of the colonization of these lands (7th–6th centuries B.C.) near Kerch — Panticapaeum — on the opposite Kuban coast, where Phanagoria was located. During the first hundred years, the ancient Greek city-colonies were independent city-states with their own politics and economy, almost independent from the metropolis. At the beginning of the 5th century B.C., the cities of the Bosporus united under the dynasty of the Archeanaktids, and then the Spartokids. This is the fundamental difference between the Bosporus and the Greek city-states and city-states in other regions. Rural districts sprung up around them, and they traded with local barbarian tribes and with compatriots in Greece at the same time. The culture of each such ancient city was urban, with architecture, writing, theater, fine arts, crafts, and agriculture. Basically, the Greek cities of the Northern Black Sea region were not united under the auspices of one state, but the colonies located on the shores of the Kerch Strait were part of the Bosporus state. It had a very advantageous position, with a waterway from Greece and the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov (Meotida) to the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Meots. The end point of this journey was, apparently, the Taganrog settlement, and later the Elizavetovskoe settlement and Tanais. Panticapaeum towered over the strait on Mount Mithridates and was engaged in the grain trade; an antique plow and an ear of grain were depicted on Panticapaeum coins. A gymnasium was excavated right in the center of Taman Phanagoria, where young Greeks engaged in sports: shears were found (as in Panticapaeum (Fig. 20)) to remove dirt from their bodies and ariballa for rubbing athletes' bodies with oil. The Greeks buried their own in necropolises located not far from cities, in stone and wooden sarcophagi (more often without them) that were decorated with carvings. The cities were surrounded by rural settlements with small houses and plots of land, the owners of which earned a living by selling their produce. Traces of land use and land surveying are still noticeable when viewing black and white aerial photographs. Huge ceramic pithos were used for grains, and amphorae were used for transporting and storing wine. Around Panticapaeum, Phanagoria, and near Patrey (the village of Garkusha), many wineries have been found with pressing compounds, presses, and reservoirs.
Fig. 20. Shear with inlay. 1st century Necropolis Panticapaeum © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
In the 2nd century, B.C., an uprising arose in the Bosporus led by the Scythian slave Savmak. The Spartokid dynasty was overthrown and the Hellenistic state of Pontus attacked and defeated the rebels, and then subdued the Bosporus.

In the 6th century B.C., the Taman Peninsula becomes the direct center of historical events. First of all, this is life around Phanagoria and its settlements: Hermonassa, Kepa, and Patrey. On the western part of the ancient Golubitsky Island, on the shores of the Akhtanizovsky estuary, there is the settlement of Golubitskaya 2 (discovered by V. V. Veselov in 1962, investigated again by Ya. M. Paromov in 1982, and subject to a joint expedition of the State Historical Museum and the German Archaeological society since 2006). The earliest find at the settlement of Golubitskaya 2 is a fragment of a Corinthian cauldron, ornamented with concentric circles at the bottom. Usually such vessels are dated to 590–560 B.C. They also found dishes of Aeolian production, a fragment of a South Ionian goblet, a fragment of an amphora and oinochoi of Milesian production, and fragments of amphorae (Zhuravlev et al., 2010: 557). The monument is located on the bank of the Akhtanizovsky estuary (Kuban river delta) in the north of the Taman Peninsula, 10–15 m from sea level, on the western promontory of the Golubitsky Island that existed in ancient times (to the west of Mount Sopka, a mud volcano still active to this day). This is the closest archaeological site to the Golubitskoye Estate. An important feature of the monument is its favorable geographical position: together with the settlement of Akhtanizovskaya 4, located on the opposite bank of the estuary, it once controlled the land exit from the Bosporus Strait of the Kuban, i.e. from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. This settlement was mapped on the Taman Peninsula for the first time in the 1920s by the director of the Temryuk Museum, S. F. Voitsekhovsky. The settlements Akhtanizovskaya 4 and Golubitskaya 2 controlled not only the entrance and exit from the recently opened sea strait from Pontus Euxinsky to Meotida (Sea of Azov), but also the richest fishing grounds.

In the 6th century B.C., defensive structures in the form of a rampart and moat were erected on the site of the settlement of Golubitskaya 2, which was revealed by magnetic reconnaissance and regular archaeological excavations. Judging by the preliminary data, the construction of a moat and rampart at the Akhtanizovskaya 4 settlement dates back to the same time. In 2008-2012, more than 1000 square meters were explored at the site, as a result of which it turned out that the inhabitants of the settlement lived in above-ground houses made of adobe bricks, or in buildings with a frame of wooden poles and rods. Numerous household pits and one semi-dugout were discovered, as well as a large pit for the extraction of clay. Among the discoveries were Eastern Greek and Attic tableware, amphora containers from different centers of production, Bosporan coins, lamps, terracotta figurines, and bone skates for moving on ice, etc. Numerous archeological finds of imported amphora and table ceramics made it possible to say conclusively that the settlement was one of the earliest on the Taman Peninsula, dating to the first wave of Greek colonization (second quarter of the 6th century B.C.). It perished in a fire in the second half of the 3rd century B.C., but life continued on it until the turn of the 2nd-1st centuries B.C.

Another remarkable object in this part of the Taman Peninsula was the Taman tholos (round structure), dating from the second quarter of the 3rd- middle of the 2nd century B.C., located in the northern part of the Taman Peninsula near the village of Za Rodinu. It was investigated in 1970-1973 by the archaeological expedition of N. I. Sokolsky. From its original building, 30 stone squares of various parts of the stylobate, two plinths (supports for columns), a significant part of the cella wall, six poplite stones of the inner colonnade, and 12 slabs of the portico pavement have survived. Tholos was a round periptery with an outer diameter of 21.2 m. Inside were found the marble heads of Hercules and the goddess Tyche, from which one could make an assumption that the tholos served religious purposes. In the 2nd century B.C., the tholos was completely destroyed and dismantled for its stone, which was difficult to obtain in the region. Such buildings, found in other cities of the Bosporan Kingdom (the village of Beregovoy 4, the acropolis of Panticapaeum), could serve both religious and public purposes. In the 20s of the 2nd century B.C., another no less interesting building arose on the site of tholos: the house of Chrysalisk (a slab with his name was found during the excavation). At the beginning of the first century A.D., the house burned down as a result of the punitive action of the Roman minion Polemon. The building was two-story, with mud-brick walls on a stone foundation. One could trace how dishes collapsed from the second floor to the first during the fire. It is interesting that there was a home sanctuary in the building, from which terracotta figurines were removed. It seems that immediately after the fire, the neighbors cleaned out the master's "safe" under the altar. These were statuettes of Aphrodite and Eros, Cybele, a sacred bearded bull, Mithra killing the bull, girls with a goose, girls and kuroraphs, and horsemen (Zhuravlev et al., 2010: 567).

The temple of Artemis Agrotera was located just 2.7 km southeast of the southern outskirts of the village of Akhtanizovskaya, on Mount Boris and Gleb (an active mud volcano). It was still possible to identify the remains of the foundation at the beginning of the 20th century. The mountain is well-placed and still offers a picturesque view, so that, according to historians, it could also be used as a lighthouse.
The 6th–5th centuries B.C. were a period in history when the Taman Peninsula was inseparable from the rest of the world.
Technical and economic progress reached an incredible scale: the peninsula was engulfed by unbridled construction, trade was conducted in every accessible direction, and Greek culture penetrated all contact zones. Systems of defensive structures — ramparts and watchtowers — appeared on the borders of the Bosporus state. Civilization had finally arrived here. But for how long?

D. V. Zhuravlev, G. A. Lomtadze, and W. Schlotzauer. Monuments of the northeastern part of the Taman Peninsula // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. Institute of Archeology RAS, Moscow, 2010, vol. 1, pp. 556–580
Chapter 6
Transit of material culture from antiquity to Early Byzantium: Cults and culture
Archaeological culture and cults manifest themselves from material evidence, which can serve as written monuments and archeological findings. Why did we select precisely these two points from ancient culture that is so multifaceted in its abundance? Most likely because unlike trade or agriculture, they belong to the sacred part of human life, and therefore they are closer to art.

Religion and related cults in ancient times were polytheistic and extremely diverse. Moreover, in the Greek tradition, the gods are also people and they can experience anger, joy, envy, and love, even though they are immortal. Sometimes they enter into an alliance with ordinary people, from which heroes are born (Perseus, Hercules, etc.). In the ancient tradition, there was no strict religious doctrine — a single church and priestly hierarchy. Essentially, each Greek city-state had its own local version of how and to whom to worship. New tendencies were often introduced by local poets and authors of tragedies. Moreover, it is assumed that the colonists who migrated from Greece itself took away only partial knowledge of the customs of their community and did not try to restore customs in a traditional form. In general, everything was very simple: farmers worshiped Demeter, winemakers — Dionysus, artisans — Athena and Hephaestus. Sometimes there were some transformations: the worship of the goddess Demeter was combined with the worship of her daughter Persephone and Dionysus. The epigraphic sources testifying to the development of cult practices, as mentioned above, include stands for statues with inscriptions, although such finds are rare. Graffiti can be quite informative, but most often the inscriptions are too brief. Small statuary (terracotta figurines) and sculptures can serve as a good source with reach, because Greek art is very "flexible" and ancient authors had freedom of interpretation, so sometimes it is difficult to guess where one or another goddess is depicted. In the life of each city-state, there was a special plot and a special mythologeme about the patron deity that organized its sacred life.

In general, myths about gods and heroes became the main theme for the visual arts. And here cult and culture are closely intertwined. The flourishing of culture in the Asian Bosporus took place during the 4th–2nd centuries B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. In addition to the Greeks, the Bosporan nobility included members of local tribes, and they brought a barbarian element to the culture. While preserving ancient traditions in architecture, there are wall paintings depicting "barbarians" and their everyday scenes. Realistic portraiture and colorful decorative art (polychrome style in toreutics) also flourished.
If we talk about sculpture, then the earliest works were most likely delivered from Ionia and were classic examples of the archaic period (kuros and koura).
Few of them have survived, and mostly in fragments. For example, a head of a kouros was found on the Taman Peninsula in Kepakh. The head of a Sind from Phanagoria dates back to the 4th century B.C., made according to all the rules of Greek art, but depicting a local "barbarian" in a pointed hat (Fig. 21). That is, it can be assumed that local sculptors appeared and worked with local themes: a fusion of barbarian subjects with Greek technique takes place. In the first centuries of our era, the art of portraiture developed towards the individualization of facial features under the strong influence of Rome.
Fig. 21. Head of a bearded man: "Sind". Second half of the 4th century B.C. F-940. © The Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
In Phanagoria and Kepakh, the cult of Aphrodite Urania was very developed, and pedestals with inscriptions dedicated to her were found.
At the necropolis of Phanagoria, a terracotta figurine-vessel of Aphrodite was found in a slightly open seashell: a series of such images is not uncommon, but it is executed quite skillfully and resembles the polychrome sculptures of Phidias in color (kept in the State Hermitage Museum (Fig. 16)). It should be noted that often various kinds of figurines, which are almost mass material, are found in dumps near temples.
Fig.16. Lekyth figurine in the form of Aphrodite in a shell. 4th century, B.C. Phanagoria necropolis © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The fact is that they served as the subject of an offering, and when they accumulated in the temple in excess or fell into disrepair, they were dumped in one place on the territory of the temple complex. As the history of the excavations of the Parthenon in Athens shows, the figurines do not mark the cult of any one deity at all — figurines of all possible Greek gods and amphora with offerings to Apollo, Aphrodite, Zeus... and so forth were brought there (Koshelenko, 2010: 375). The statue of Aphrodite Taman (kept in the State Historical Museum) from the 4th–3rd centuries B.C. is also famous in its own way. It was decapitated, but the head was found by archaeologists nearby. It should be noted that in the mythology of the Greek population of the Taman Peninsula, a myth of fundamental importance was the transformation of the Black Sea region from an "inhospitable" into a "hospitable", bright civilized world thanks to the heroism of Hercules and the help of Apollo. The former rulers of these seas are chthonic beings, hostile to civilization and to everything Hellenic. They are the giants, children of Gaia and Uranus. Hercules visited these lands and fought with the Amazons, and Homer in the 11th canto of the Odyssey describes his arrival to the misty shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, where the entrance to the underworld was located. The most widespread cult here was the cult of Apollo, who was the protector of colonization and the harmonious organization of life and the arts. Demeter and her daughter Cora were responsible for fertility and welcoming into the land of the dead. The iconography of the worship of Demeter and her daughter is visually somewhat very similar to the Mother of God and the Child. They are associated with the famous Eleusinian mysteries or mysteries, so secret that those who possessed this knowledge could grow close to the gods and gain immortality.
It is interesting that the cult of Dionysus, widely revered in the European Bosporus, was significantly underdeveloped or almost absent in Taman in ancient times.
Researchers attribute this to the fact that in the archaic period, judging by the texts of ancient authors, grapes grew rather poorly on the Taman Peninsula, "yielded small fruit", and the vine had to be buried deep underground for the winter (according to Strabo). At the same time, there are no early archaeological traces of winemaking. Many years passed before Mediterranean grapes could adapt to the Asian Bosporus.

The resettlement of the Ionian colonists to the Taman Peninsula is, of course, the highest mission for the mastery of the eastern ecumene, but there was also the stress that mobilized citizens to consolidation and the manifestation of civil love. Therefore, Apollo and Aphrodite, multifunctional deities, were perfectly suited.

The new period and changes in society are associated with the entry of the Bosporus state into the Pontic state of Mithridates VI Eupator in 108 B.C. The vast Pontic state was inhabited by different ethnic groups, who began to arrive to the Taman Peninsula as managers or hired soldiers. During this period, the sacralization of monarchical power took place. During a period of strong Roman influence at the end of the 1st century B.C., Panticapaeum and Phanagoria were renamed Caesaria and Agrippia, and a politicized cult of Roman emperors (as of divine origin) arose and developed. The cult is headed by the king himself as the supreme priest for life. In the first centuries of our era, a drive for monotheism appears. As throughout the Mediterranean, this is apparently connected with Judaism. Jewish communities have existed since the times of Phanagoria and Gorgippia. Evidence of this is the found manumissions (with the inscription "God the Most High") and gravestones with inscriptions in Jewish (Taman Museum). As a result, monotheism found its expression both at the philosophical and theological level, and at the level of ideas of the local population.

At first glance, complex religious views depend directly on historical, political, and everyday factors. What we see on the example of the Taman Peninsula is that the cults of the Greek gods (Apollo and Aphrodite) that were brought by settlers from their homeland prevailed. At the same time, the agricultural syncretic cult of Demeter-Cora-Persephone developed (for example, the sanctuary of the Eleusinian deities in the village of Beregovaya 4), because people worked the arable land to grow wheat. Over time, the political environment introduced the cult of the deification of kings (Mithridates Eupator), and then the Roman rulers. Later, Judaism penetrated the area, as if echoing the idea of the necessity of a universal monotheistic religion.
Christianity began to spread in the Bosporus in the 4th century, and the first episcopal see would arise in Phanagoria in 519.
These changes were reflected in all areas of art.

Western European historians believe that the transition between Byzantium and the Roman Empire is hardly discernable, and by studying the culture of Byzantium, we can only ascertain a thousand-year "dissolution" of Rome. In general, the connection was not broken: the Byzantines called themselves "Romans" and were Christians (appropriating the entire Christian heritage). In 284, Diocletian came to power in Rome and decided to decentralize power: he divided the empire into the Western empire (he passed the reign to his friend Maximian Herculius), and the Eastern empire, which he left for himself.

Thus Byzantium became a continuation of the East Roman Empire in the Middle Ages. In the 5th century, Rome would fall to the attacks of the barbarians, and Byzantium would survive and proudly bear the memories of its Greco-Roman past. Byzantine literature grew out of the ancient literature, which was incredibly developed and written in the ancient Greek language, so very different in its literary form from the spoken language and nonetheless gradually replaced the Latin language (6th century). The empire reached its highest prosperity under Justinian I (527–565), the borders of the empire expanded until they included the entire Mediterranean: North Africa, Italy, part of Spain, Sardinia, Corsica, and Sicily. During the reign of Justinian I, paganism was finally suppressed (monotheism better promotes unification), and instead a line of continuity with antiquity was established. Medieval culture opposes itself to early Christian culture, appropriating the achievements of antiquity at all levels: from literature to architecture, but at the same time discarding its religious (pagan) dimension.

G.A. Koshelenko. Religion and cults // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. Institute of Archeology RAS., M., 2010, vol. 2, pp. 354–416
Chapter 7
Kuban treasures in Russian museums. A short guide
The vast heritage of the Kuban has spread over the past three centuries far beyond the Taman Peninsula. Could the ancient Maykopians, Greeks, Meots, Scythians, and Sarmatians imagine that the objects they created would in the future undertake such a long journey and that thousands of people would see them? Definitely not. The geography of their distribution is vast and significant. In this chapter, we will talk about the museums that are fortunate enough to have become the eternal guardians of these treasures from past eras.

In St. Petersburg, Scythian, Greek, and Roman antiquities are kept in the State Hermitage. A small number of archeological findings from different periods can be found in the first Russian museum: the Kunstkamera.

In Moscow, these are the State Historical Museum, the Museum of the Peoples of the East, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

The collections of many regional museums are based on private collections of the late 19th–early 20th centuries. For example, the National Museum of Tatarstan (Kazan) preserves an "antique collection" of 538 items that were transferred to it from the family of the Kazan landowner A. F. Likhachev, and occasionally replenished (with lekiths, pelicas, terracottas, rattles, and Roman lamps)... These items were bought in Temryuk, Kerch, and Taman from local antique dealers, who carried out "pre-sale operations" to their taste (Bugrova, Zhuravlev, 2010: 489).
The Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve, formed in 1826, enjoys the longest history of storage of artifacts from the Taman Peninsula in the region.
The collection is based on the materials of Paul Dubrux. For the most part, antique materials from excavations near Kerch are kept here, but over time, materials began to come from Taman. Most of the items were sent to the Hermitage, but the so-called "doubles" (mainly antique ceramics) and heavy objects remained here (sculptures and their fragments). The Soviet government traded in cultural heritage, and the Second World War caused colossal damage to the museum's collections.

The museum preserves a limestone statue of Astrata, found near the Akhtanizovsky estuary and dating back to the 4th century B.C., and a statue stand with a dedicatory inscription: "Demophon, son of Aegina, dedicated to his wife Agia Apollo, Physician under Leukont, the archon of Bosporus and Theodosius, and the king of the Sindi, Torets, Dandarii and Psess" from excavations near Hermonassa. In general, the collection contains many epigraphic monuments: lists of settlement residents, lists of winners of sports competitions, tombstones with farewell epitaphs, and lists of mercenary soldiers who became citizens of Phanagoria (Bykovskaya, 2010: 432).

The Museum of Oriental Art, located in Moscow on Nikitsky Boulevard, was founded in 1918 and initially bore the poetic name Ars Asiatica. The collection of the museum is extensive, but if you want to see the Scythian-Maeotian antiquities, then it is best to visit the Special Storeroom. Here you can understand what the animal style is, admire the rhytons that are paralleled in Iranian art of the 5th century B.C., and you can look en face at the bronze muzzles of feline predators from the village of Ulyap. It is here that the world-famous rhyton with the Pegasus protome (Fig. 17) and scenes of the struggle between the gods and titans (gigantomachy) are kept.
Fig. 17. Rhyton with the Pegasus protome from burial mound 4 near the village of Ulyap. © State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow
The Pushkin Museum (Moscow) stores a large number of antique originals from the museum's excavations in Phanagoria, Tiramba, and Hermonassa, in addition to casts. Basically, these are various types of antique ceramics, reliefs (a fragment of a frieze with a scene of the battle of the Amazons, for example (Fig. 22)), jewelry (beads and rings), and a necklace from the turn of the era carved from jet. At the same time, truly unique items are still preserved here: the statue of the ruler Neocles of Gorgippia (Fig. 23), erected in 187 and dressed in the Roman style, but with a face and hair like the people of Taman. The famous Taman relief depicting two warriors from the excavations of an antique estate of the 1st century B.C., where it was reused as a building material (Fig. 24). And, of course, there is a wonderful collection of terracotta figurines made of orange-yellow or pinkish Phanagoria clay with spangles.
Fig. 22. Relief with a scene of Amazons. 4th century B.C. KP-369695. F-1570. © The Pushkin Museum, Moscow
Fig. 23. A portrait statue of the ruler of Gorgippia from Anapa. 80s 1st century (statue of Neocles). KP-46110/1. II.1.a 817. © The Pushkin Museum, Moscow
Fig. 24. Headstone with the image of two warriors. 4th century B.C. KP-374525. F-1601. © The Pushkin Museum, Moscow
The Historical Museum in Moscow was founded in 1872, and until the middle of the 20th century, it primarily housed archeological findings from the European part of the Bosporus kingdom. Basically, the materials were brought from Kerch. Materials from the excavations of V. G. Tizengauzen and K.K. Hertz, and then the founder of the museum I. E. Zabelin from excavations in Phanagoria were brought here back in 1869. It was the Phanagoria archaeological expedition in 1936 that began to study the ancient metropolis on a regular basis, interrupted only for the duration of the war. The museum contains a unique "Taman sarcophagus", which was found in 1916 by local residents and smashed into pieces. Having learned of this, the director of the Kerch Museum V. V. Shkorpil took it from Kerch, but the First World War prevented his delivery of it to Moscow. Then during the German occupation, the Germans tried to take it out, and even brought it to a departure point, but forgot about it for some reason, breaking the cover on the way. The famous Aphrodite Tamanskaya from Kep is also kept here, as well as the head of a kouros.

The collection of limestone tombstones from the excavations in the fortress near the Akhtanizovsky estuary allowed the author of the excavations N. I. Sokolsky to single out a special Sindian sculpture (it was used during the construction). In 1906, in the area of the village of Golubitskaya, two fifteen-kilogram copper plates were found, which are now also kept in the State Historical Museum. Also here are items from the Scythian-Sarmatian collection, such as deer stones with images of axes, swords, earrings, and necklaces from the excavations of N. I. Veselovsky, horse equipment in the animal style, golden vessels, falars, fibulae, and other gold jewelry from the turn of the era (Zhuravlev, 2010: 297–326; Firsov, 2010: 328–352).

In the State Hermitage, the Golden Storeroom can be considered the most striking, which is based on the Siberian collection of Peter I. This is the earliest archaeological collection in our country. It contains items obtained by the grave robbers from the burial mounds of Siberia at the beginning of the 18th century. For example, there is a golden comb from the Solokha burial mound and other art monuments from the Black Sea. The Department of the Ancient World contains magnificent finds from the Taman Peninsula, which began to arrive almost regularly from the moment the peninsula was annexed by the Russian Empire, starting from the 1790s. All the best items were taken away and sent to the Hermitage.
The Krasnodar State Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve named for E. D. Felitsyna was founded in 1879 and now includes many branches.
This includes the Taman Museum Complex and the Temryuk Historical and Archaeological Museum, where you can learn about examples of local archeology without leaving the Taman Peninsula. The Archaeological Museum in the village of Taman was founded in 1921 and was called the Archaeological Experimental Station and Museum. The museum staff conducted independent excavations and made an archaeological map of the region. After the war, all collections were transported to Krasnodar, and only in 1977 did the small museum reopen. Now it again unites all expeditions working on Taman and has a good exposition that must be visited (Khachaturova, 2010: 13–55).

In conclusion, it is important to note that the history of the preservation of the ancient heritage of the Taman Peninsula is inextricably linked with the historical and political processes in Russia. Starting from the 18th century, especially valuable objects of ancient art became items of valuable gifts and sales and were redistributed not in favor of small local museums. Thus, some archaeological collections were divided and lost their context. Some things suffered greatly from their "restoration" in the 19th century, which was carried out in the taste and manner of local artists: items were retouched imaginatively, often in a vulgar way. Today, one can observe a generally positive trend towards the enrichment of the collections of local museums located near the excavation sites.

ON. Bugrova, D.V. Zhuravlev. National Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. M .: Nauka, 2010, vol. 3, pp. 476–490

N.V. Bykovskaya. Antiquities of the Taman Peninsula in the Kerch Historical and Cultural Reserve // Antique Heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. M .: Nauka, 2010, vol. 3, pp. 424–446

D.V. Zhuravlev. Monuments of the Greek and Roman periods // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. M.: Nauka, 2010, vol. 3, pp. 297–326

K.B. Firsov. Monuments of the Scythian-Sarmatian time and the early Middle Ages from the Kuban region // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. M .: Nauka, 2010, vol. 3, pp. 328–352

E.R. Khachaturov. Krasnodar State Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve. E. D. Felitsyna // Antique heritage of the Kuban in 3 volumes. M .: Nauka, 2010, vol. 3, pp. 13–55

We would like to thank The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, The State Museum of Oriental Art, The State Hermitage Museum and Kerch Historical and Archaeological Museum for providing the images.