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Publications Journal „Tyragetia"   vol. I [XVI], nr. 1

Late Scythian Settlements in the Lower Dnieper Region: chronology and attribution
ISSN 1857-0240
E-ISSN 2537-6330

Late Scythian Settlements in the Lower Dnieper Region: chronology and attribution

Tyragetia, serie nouă, vol. I [XVI], nr. 1, Arheologie. Istorie Antică

The lower Dnieper region is usually regarded as a distinct territory of Scythian culture. In the 1980s and 1990s as a result of excavations in the lower Dnieper region the archaeological record has been expanded. The appearance of new information concerning archaeological monuments in the lower Dnieper Region begged attempts to offer its interpretation. Subsequently, new archaeological finds allowed addressing questions of chronology and the ethnocultural attribution of the population of the region.

For the period from the second quarter of the III c. to at least the second half of the II c. BC archaeological evidence for the population of the area, whether settled or nomadic, is lacking. In the II and I c. the situation in the lower Dnieper region stabilized and Late Scythian settlements started to appear. The chronological indicators from all the Late Scythian settlements in the region are analysed in the article, and the dating is based mainly on Greek imports. The most probable date for their foundation is the I c. BC with a single exclusion - Znamenskoe settlement was the earliest and was founded possibly in the second half of the II c. BC.

The comparison of data from different sites can help us to define similarities and differentiating features of the Late Scythian fortified settlements, Scythian monuments and the Olbian chora. It became possible to identify with certainty the barbarian type of the Late Scythian culture, and the syncretism of this culture has been demonstrated.

The possibility of development of Scythian sites into Late Scythian fortified settlements contradicts both the chronology and the types of culture. Similar elements in Scythian and Late Scythian settlements are the ramparts and ditches in fortification, some types of buildings, and iron workshops. Both groups of settlements are known for a large proportion of handmade pottery, also of Scythian forms. Small number of coins, predominance of stone articles and the use of ornaments are common. In both groups the main bulk of the ceramic material comprises amphorae and handmade pottery, but the percentage of the wheel-made pottery is different. Handmade pottery in the Late Scythian settlements is much more varied than in the earlier ones. Difference between Scythian and Late Scythian groups are observed in the emergence in the late stage of new features in fortification, the appearance of “zolniki” (large accumulations of ash which are connected with agricultural cults), building construction and handmade pottery, as well in the volume and nature of Greek imports, ritual objects, and fishing-gear.

The comparison of the northern groups of settlements demonstrates that the barbarian tradition displays no clear continuity in its development. While the early northern group of settlements belongs to the Scythian culture, in the sites of the later stage only isolated elements are specific. Indications of cultural impact from the west, particularly from the Geto-Dacian world, are striking.

As far as the theory of predominance of Greek culture in the Late Scythian culture has been revisited, it is important to compare Late Scythian settlements of the lower Dnieper region with the Olbian chora sites. There are differences in size, stratigraphy, building traditions, fortification, dwellings, workshops, pottery, coins, and in the range of crops and domestic animals. They also differ in the time of their appearance (the Late Scythian group is earlier) and in the period of their existence. In Late Scythian settlements barbarian features are predominant. One may see a trace of Greek influence in the finds of two terra cottae, but cult objects retain a barbarian character.

The absence of settlements on the banks of the lower Dnieper from the second quarter of the III to the second half of the II c. BC suggested that there were possibly Scythian migrations. This is contemporary with the crisis on the northern coast of the Black Sea in the III c. BC. Taking into account the revised chronology and the ethno-cultural attribution of the settlements we can now offer a new account of the situation with an emphasis on the interaction of different ethno-cultural groups. The disappearance in the III c. BC of Scythian graves and settlements from the lower Dnieper region coincides with the appearance of the Scythians in the Crimea and Dobrudja. In the latter their presence is traceable from the turn of the IV – III cc. BC. The final phase of Scythia Minor in this territory is dated from the last quarter of the II to the beginning of the I c. BC. The character and chronology of the Late Scythian culture in the lower Dnieper region suggest that it could be created as a result of migration of the population embracing different cultures and ethnic types from Dobrudja.


 

 


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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
Revival of National Movement
Time of Reforms and their Consequences
Abolition of Autonomy. Bessarabia – a New Tsarist Colony
Period of Relative Autonomy of Bessarabia within the Russian Empire
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Golden Age of the Romanian Culture
Struggle for Maintaining of Independence of Moldova
Formation of Independent Medieval State of Moldova
Era of the
Great Nomad Migrations
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