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#Exhibit of the Month

The pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila is considered the main archaeological treasure of Ukraine (it is depicted, for example, on the logo of the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). This unique artifact of 958 gold, weighing 1140 g, was discovered as a result of excavations of the Scythian burial mound of Tolstaya Mogila (Tovsta Mohyla) on June 21, 1971 near the modern city of Pokrov (then Ordzhonikidze) in the Dnepropetrovsk region. Following the excavations carried out by Boris Mozolevsky and Yevgeny Chernenko, it turned out that a mound with a height of 8.6 m and a diameter of 70 m was filled over the representatives of the Scythian elite around 350s-340s BC. The Tolstaya Mogila mound was the family tomb of the Scythian aristocracy, in which а male burial of а "king" and then, after a short period, of a "queen" with a child was performed. Then, some time after the funeral, the burial of the "king" was robbed, but the robbers, fortunately, did not notice jewelry (a sword in a scabbard, a whip) lying in the dromos at the entrance to the tomb, including the pectoral.

It is believed that the pectoral was made by goldsmiths of Greek or Macedonian origin. It is kept in the Kiev Museum of Historical Treasures of Ukraine and belongs to the State Fund of Precious Metals and Precious Stones of Ukraine. The pectoral has a crescent shape; its composition consists of three tiers, separated by two hollow tubes in the form of a twisted rope. Two more of the same tubes frame the pectoral from above and below. The upper tier features several separate scenes with Scythians and domestic animals. In the center, two half-naked men are holding in their hands a stretched animal skin, similar to a sheep's skin. On the left and right, horses with foals and cows with calves are depicted; behind them, there are figurines of Scythian servants, one of whom is milking a sheep, and the other is milking a cow, holding in their hands, respectively, a clay pot and a small amphora. In the middle tier, among the stems of plants and flowers, there are figurines of birds. The lower tier depicts hunting scenes of fantastic griffins and real wild animals. The upper and lower friezes of the pectoral are lacy; the figurines of people and animals on them are made using the casting technique on the basis of a lost wax model. These are almost completely three-dimensional sculptures, flat only on the inside. Three-dimensional figurines of birds are attached with pins among flowers, the petals of which are covered with colored enamel.

It is obvious that a certain iconographic text was encrypted in the pectoral, although its understanding is very difficult. Therefore, it is not surprising that over half a century since the discovery, more than twenty interpretations of images in the pectoral have been put forward. One of the most accurate and innovative seems to be the primary interpretation of images in the pectoral, expressed by its discoverer Boris Mozolevsky. Already in his precise, insightful analysis, the smallest details of the decor, including floral ornaments, all the movements of the figures of the lower and upper friezes, gestures and the direction of the views of the characters of the central scene are noted, although they are not always taken into account in further research. B.N. Mozolevsky also proposed an analysis of the composition of the friezes, and the interpretation of the nature of the images, especially the central scene of the upper frieze. Dmitry Sergeevich Raevsky brilliantly entered the pectoral into the conceptual model of the Scythian universe, devoting a special study to it, in which the structure of the pectoral is read as the Greco-Scythian cosmogram. The plot of the upper frieze of the pectoral can also be based on a time-varying legend associated with the emergence of the Macedonian dynasty. Therefore, the pectoral could go to the Scythian leader as a trophy captured in a clash with the Scythians in 339 BC, received as a gift during negotiations, received as a gift from Ateas for helping in the war (and he, in turn, received it as a gift when they had good relations with Philip II of Macedon). Yet much remains unclear. The pectoral has no analogies, not only in the Scythian world, but also in the Greek environment. Until now, despite the possible correspondences to its elements and techniques found in other things, the pectoral remains a special work of art, still not surpassed in the skill of execution and the lightness of the idea of its creator.

The copy of the pectoral from Tovsta Mohila, an object of historical value of the Ukrainian treasury, was given as a gift to President Maia Sandu by his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during his visit to Kyiv in January 2021 and is currently part of the MNIM heritage.


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Publications Journal „Tyragetia"   vol. VI [XXI], nr. 1

Archaeological investigations at the site of Saharna Mare (2009-2011) (I)
ISSN 1857-0240
E-ISSN 2537-6330

Archaeological investigations at the site of Saharna Mare (2009-2011) (I)

Tyragetia, serie nouă, vol. VI [XXI], nr. 1, Arheologie. Istorie Antică

The Saharna Mare site (Rezina district) stands out among the monuments of the Middle Dniester area by its location and the degree of scrutiny. It is situated on a high rocky trapezoidal cape with an area of about 12 hectares, surrounded on three sides by deep canyons with inaccessible shores. Only from the south the cape is connected to the outside world.

Due to its strategic location, this area was inhabited as early as the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.

This monument drew the attention in the late 40s of the last century when there were conducted the first archaeological excavations (Smirnov, 1949, 93-96; Smirnov, 1949a, 189-202; Arnăut 2000, 93-104). Since 2001, an archaeological expedition of the Moldova State University conducts systematic research on the site. The results of studies conducted in 2001-2007 have been published in several articles and a monograph (Niculiță, Zanoci, Arnăut 2008a, 69-150). As a result of these investigations there were identified several cultural-chronological horizons: 1 - presented by complexes with incised pottery; 2 - relating to the Cozia-Saharna culture; 3 - Thracian-Getae (7th - 3rd centuries B.C.).

This article contains information about finds relating to the Cozia-Saharna culture, which were discovered as a result of the excavations of 2009-2011 carried out by five digs (13, 13A, 14, 15, 18) with the total area of 444 m2. Through the matching of orthophotomaps (fig. 4/1), the results of geomagnetic  studies (fig. 3, 4/2), and archaeological research data (fig. 9/1) in the southeast of the cape there were found the remains of a “citadel” and the adjacent “fortified yard”. The “citadel” of a rounded shape (fig. 4/3), size 60×64 m (about 0,32 ha), was located on the  southeastern out- skirts of the cape; it was reinforced on all sides by a moat and a wooden stone-earthen wall. The width of the moat varies from 4,2 to 6,0 m, depth – 0,7 to 1,6 m. The wall was built of two rows of wooden pillars dug vertically into the mainland loam. The space between rows was filled with stones and earth, thus forming a fortification of about 1,0-1,2 m in width.

The “citadel” had an adjacent semi-oval “yard” in the north-west side, with the dimensions of 55×78 m, which was also fortified by a moat (fig. 4/3). The width of the moat was 2-3 m, the depth – 1,0-1,4 m.

In the “citadel” there were investigated one ground construction (fig. 21), 37 household pits (fig. 23-32), and one religious construction? (fig. 33). There was also identified a sufficiently rich and varied inventory (fig. 36-45) that allowed to attribute the “citadel” and the adjacent “yard” to the Cozia-Saharna culture.

Most likely, these fortifications were designed to shelter residents of the Saharna “Dealul Mănăstirii” settlement, which was in close proximity. In addition, the “citadel” could serve as a socio-political and religious center for the Early Hallstatt population of the Saharna region (fig. 46).

List of illustrations:
Fig. 1. Geographical and topographical location of the Saharna Mare site.
Fig. 2. Saharna Mare. Topographical plan.
Fig. 3. Saharna Mare. Topographical plan  and magnetometric map.
Fig. 4. Saharna Mare. Location of the Early Hallstatt “ citadel “ and the “adjacent yard”: 1 - orthophotomap (source:
Google earth); 2 - magnetometric map; 3 - plan-scheme.
Fig. 5. Saharna Mare. Plans and profiles of excavations 13/2009 and 14/2010.
Fig. 6. Saharna Mare. The plan and profile of the excavation 13А/2010.
Fig. 7. Saharna Mare. The plan and profile of the excavation 15/2010-2011.
Fig. 8. Saharna Mare. The plan and profile of the excavation 18/2011.
Fig. 9. Saharna Mare. Remains of fortifications of the Hallstatt „citadel”.
Fig. 10. Saharna Mare. Variant of reconstruction of a defensive wall of the Hallstatt „citadel”.
Fig. 11. Saharna Mare. Findings from the remains of the defensive wall: 1 - clay stamp; 2 -
zoomorphic figurine.
Fig. 12. Saharna Mare. Pottery from the remains of the defensive wall.
Fig. 13. Saharna Mare. Pottery found at the bottom of the defensive wall.
Fig. 14. Saharna Mare. Pottery found in the layer under the base of the defensive wall.
Fig. 15. Saharna Mare. Defensive moat of the Early Hallstatt „citadel”: 1 - south-western sector (Excavation 7/2003); 2 - north-western sector (Excavation 13/2009); 3 - north-eastern sector (Excavation 15/2010).
Fig. 16. Saharna Mare. Photos of profiles of the Early Hallstatt “citadel” defensive moat: 1 - north-western sector
(Excavation 13/2009); 2 - north-eastern sector (Excavation 15/2010).
Fig. 17. Saharna Mare. Early Hallstatt material found in the filling of the defensive moat.
Fig. 18. Saharna Mare. Defensive moat of the “adjacent yard”: 1 - south-western sector (Excavation 10/2006); 2 - north-eastern sector (Excavation 10/2006); 3 - northern sector (Excavation 18/2011).
Fig. 19. Saharna Mare. Photos of the defensive moat of the “adjacent yard”: 1 - south-western sector (Excavation 10/2006); 2 - north-eastern sector (Excavation 10/2006); 3 - northern sector (Excavation 18/2011).
Fig. 20. Saharna Mare. Early Hallstatt pottery from the filling of the “adjacent yard” moat.
Fig. 21. Saharna Mare. Construction no. 3: 1 - plan and profile; 2 - remains of the construction (view from the east);
3 - vessel in situ.
Fig. 22. Saharna Mare. Pottery from the construction no. 3.
Fig. 23. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile of the pit no. 104; 2 - plan and profile of the pit no. 105; 3 - plans and profiles  of the pits no.  106 and no. 107; 4-8 - inventory of the pit no. 104; 9, 10 - inventory of the pit no. 105; 11 - inventory of the pit no. 106; 12-16 - inventory of the pit no. 107.
Fig. 24. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the pit no. 108; 2 - plan and profile  of the pit no. 109; 3 - plan and profile of the pit no. 110; 4-14 - inventory of the pit no. 108; 15-19 - inventory of the pit no. 109; 20-23 - inventory of the pit no. 110.
Fig. 25. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the pit no. 111; 2 - plan and profile  of the pit no. 112; 3 - plan and profile of the pit no. 113; 4-13 - inventory of the pit no. 111; 14, 15 - inventory of the pit no. 112; 16-24 - inventory of the pit no. 113.
Fig. 26. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile of the pit no. 114; 2 - plan and profile of the pit no. 115; 3-14 - inventory of the pit no. 114; 15, 16 - inventory of the pit no. 115.
Fig. 27. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the pit no. 116; 2 - plan and profile  of the pit no. 117; 3 - plan and profile of the pit no. 118; 4 - plan and profile of the pit no. 119; 5 - inventory of the pit no. 116; 6, 7 - inventory of the pit no. 118; 8-23 - inventory of the pit no. 119.
Fig. 28. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the pit no. 120; 2 - plan and profile  of the pit no. 121; 3 - plan and profile of the pit no. 122; 4-8 - inventory of the pit no. 120; 9-15 - inventory of the pit no. 121; 16 - inventory of the pit no. 122.
Fig. 29. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plans and profiles of the pits no. 123, no. 124 and no. 138; 2 - plan and profile of the pit no. 125; 3-10 - inventory of the pit no. 123; 11 - inventory of the pit no. 124; 12-16 - inventory of the pit no. 125.
Fig. 30. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile of the pit no. 126; 2-38 - inventory of the pit no. 126.
Fig. 31. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the pit no. 127; 2 - plan and profile  of the pit no. 128; 3 - plan and profile of the pit no. 129; 4 - inventory of the pit no. 127; 5 - inventory of the pit no. 128; 6-1 - inventory of the pit no. 129.
Fig. 32. Saharna Mare. Pits without inventory, which belong to the Early Hallstatt period.
Fig. 33. Saharna Mare. 1 - Plan and profile  of the Accumulation no. 1; 1а - plan of the hearth no. 9; 2 - hearth no. 9; 3 - accumulation of stones, human bones, and pottery; 4 - general view of the Accumulation no. 1 and the hearth no. 9.
Fig. 34. Saharna Mare. Archaeological findings from the Accumulation no. 1.
Fig. 35. Saharna Mare. Fragments of pottery from the Accumulation no. 1.
Fig. 36. Saharna Mare. Objects of the Early Hallstatt period (1 - iron; 2-8 - bone; 9-14 - stone; 15-27 - clay).
Fig. 37. Saharna Mare. Fragments of bowls from the cultural layer.
Fig. 38. Saharna Mare. Fragments of bowls from the cultural layer.
Fig. 39. Saharna Mare Fragments of bowls from the cultural layer.
Fig. 40. Saharna Mare. Fragments of bowls from the cultural layer.
Fig. 41. Saharna Mare. Fragments of goblets from the cultural layer.
Fig. 42. Saharna Mare. Fragments of pots from the cultural layer.
Fig. 43. Saharna Mare. Fragments of pots from the cultural layer.
Fig. 44. Saharna Mare. Fragments of pots from the cultural layer.
Fig. 45. Saharna Mare. Fragments of pottery from the cultural layer.
Fig. 46. Spreading of the sites in the Saharna region.


 

 


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Bessarabia and MASSR between the Two World Wars
Bessarabia and Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the Period between the Two World Wars
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Time of Reforms and their Consequences
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#Exhibit of the Month

The pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila is considered the main archaeological treasure of Ukraine (it is depicted, for example, on the logo of the Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). This unique artifact of 958 gold, weighing 1140 g, was discovered as a result of excavations of the Scythian burial mound of Tolstaya Mogila (Tovsta Mohyla) on June 21, 1971 near the modern city of Pokrov (then Ordzhonikidze) in the Dnepropetrovsk region. Following the excavations carried out by Boris Mozolevsky and Yevgeny Chernenko, it turned out that a mound with a height of 8.6 m and a diameter of 70 m was filled over the representatives of the Scythian elite around 350s-340s BC. The Tolstaya Mogila mound was the family tomb of the Scythian aristocracy, in which а male burial of а "king" and then, after a short period, of a "queen" with a child was performed. Then, some time after the funeral, the burial of the "king" was robbed, but the robbers, fortunately, did not notice jewelry (a sword in a scabbard, a whip) lying in the dromos at the entrance to the tomb, including the pectoral...

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The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

 



The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

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