MAIASP. 2022. No. 14

Mikhail Treister (Bonn, Germany)




DOI: 10.53737/2713-2021.2022.13.17.002

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Pages: 4175

The article is devoted to the publication and new attribution of two bronze vessels originating from the looters excavations in 1912 of the Semikolennyy (Seven-knee) burial mound on the Shakhan mountain in the area of the Cossack village Tulskaya in Adygea, confiscated from the inhabitants of the village and transferred to the Kuban Military Museum, currently stored in the Krasnodar State Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve named after E.D. Felitsyn.

Until now publishers have unanimously attributed the oinochoe to the Eggers 124 type and, correspondingly, dated it to the 1st century CE. Without any doubt the vessel belongs to the so-called Form 2 (variant B), according to the classification of T. Weber, represented by finds mainly from the Peloponnese, Central Greece and South Italy, dating back to the 5th century BCE. In the recent decades five similar vessels were found in Macedonia, including: two in the Sindos necropolis in the burials of the last third of the 6th and the turn of the 6th 5th centuries BCE, two in the burials of the first and third quarters of the 5th century BCE of the necropolis of Pydna. In the North Pontic area one such oinochoe was known up to nowadays, originating from tomb no. 19 of the burial mound no. 24/1876 of the Nymphaion necropolis, dated to the mid-5th century BCE.

The second item was published as a krater stand without comment in the text, but the very fact that it was included in a book on Roman imports suggests that this item was attributed to the first centuries CE. In fact, this is the stand of an exaleiptron (ἐξάλειπτρον, exáleiptron), a rare-shaped vessel used to store oils and ointments. To date, 8 stands of exaleiptrons are known, including two specimens from the princely burials of the Trebenishte necropolis in the region of Ohrid Lake in North Macedonia, as well as from Delphi and the Idean Cave on Crete. Various points of view on the dating of these objects were expressed, ranging from the middle to the end of the 6th century BCE, as well as their origin either from the workshops of North/North-Western Greece or Laconia. Obviously, the published fragment of the exaleiptron stand was repaired in antiquity. As a result of alterations (one or two), the original function of the object was changed the hollow sleeve was turned into the body and neck of the vessel, the lower part of which was formed by a plate with a hollow cylindrical container at the bottom.

In connection with the published finds of great interest is the so-called Maikop Treasure, which, as a result of several sales, is currently divided among the museums of Berlin, Cologne, New York and Philadelphia. The objects now in Philadelphia were acquired from the collection of E. Canessa under the general name the Maikop Treasure. In 1913, items most likely belonging to the same group were acquired by the Museums of Berlin from the Armenian merchant Karapet. The point of view of M.I. Rostovtsev about the allocation of a rich complex of the middle or second half of the 5th century BCE as part of the Maikop Treasure was supported by other scholars. There is every reason to consider the Maikop Treasure as a set of items from the looters excavations of 1912 in the Semikolenny burial mound and cemeteries in its vicinity.

It is highly probable that the bronze vessels under discussion could come from this complex, the gold items from which, for the most part, are now in the museums in Germany and the USA. In this regard, noteworthy is the fact that along with the gold finds, fragments of bronze vessels were also acquired by the Museums of Berlin, some of which could relate to the finds published here, while others also date back to the 6th 5th centuries BCE. In this connection it is worth noting that in the burial complexes of the first half of the 4th century BCE of the cemetery near aul Ulyap, located about 70 km north from Tulskaya, quite numerous Greek bronze vessels were found, which date back to the first or second quarter of the 5th century BCE, including those with repairs. Accordingly, the Trans-Kuban region is the area with the highest concentration of Greek bronze vessels of the Late Archaic Early Classical period.

Key words: Greek bronze vessels of the Late Archaic Early Classical period, oinochoes, stands of exaleiptrons, looters excavations of 1912, the Maikop Treasure, Trans-Kuban area, Cossack village Tulskaya, the Semikolenny burial mound.

Received February 24, 2022

Accepted for publication March 17, 2022

About the author:

Treister Mikhail (Bonn, Germany). Dr. phil. habil. (RUS), Independent researcher