SACRAL GRAFFITI FROM EXCAVATIONS AT BORYSTHENES BY V. V. LAPIN


  • A. S. Rusiaieva
  • H. O. Stanytsina Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: Borysthenes, Berezan, graffiti, cults of gods, Apollo Ietros and Delphinios, Achilles, Aphrodite, sanctuaries, temple with apses.

Abstract

Regular archaeological research at the eastern coast of the modern Berezan Island (excavation area «O» — «Osnovnyi» («the main»)) in the 1960s — 1980s were headed by V. V. Lapin. They resulted in accumulation of numerous and various materials for the further study of history and culture of Borysthenes at all the stages of its life. For instance, 619 graffiti were recorded during the period of excavations. It should be emphasized that none of excavation areas at Berezan have not presented such a large number of graffiti. 203 graffiti were published already after V. V. Lapin died, and half of them are sacral ones. Only dedicative and marking graffiti are briefly discussed in this paper. In addition, disputable opinions of V. V. Lapin about certain inscriptions and graphic symbols on ostraca are also elucidated, which he interpreted as relics of the surviving writing language leading its roots in the Crete-Mycenaean epoch.

The scholars never even mentioned graffiti from his excavations in the context of corresponding cultic structures. Considering this fact, attention is paid primarily to the early dedications to Apollo Ietros and Delphinios evidencing this god’s sanctuary in the 6th century BC. As it is known, the most significant structure discovered by V. V. Lapin is undoubtedly an original 5th century BC temple with apses. Nevertheless, various interpretations of this structure occurred in recent literature out of the context of corresponding sources. However, different variants of sacral graffiti with Achilles’ name dated by this period obtain an exclusive significance in this aspect. They are synchronous dedications to Achilles, as well as numerous cultic findings, which can confirm first of all its cultic significance and possible relation to this divinized hero. Other gods with close soteric functions related to the sea, namely, Aphrodite and Dioscuri, were apparently worshipped together with him or near him. In general, the authors show the perspectiveness of not only the further scientifically grounded and objective study of the whole collection of inscriptions in the context of building remains of sanctuaries and a temple with apses, but also the monographic publication of all the materials excavated by V. V. Lapin at the eastern coast of the Berezan Island.

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Published
2018-09-22
How to Cite
RusiaievaA. S., & StanytsinaH. O. (2018). SACRAL GRAFFITI FROM EXCAVATIONS AT BORYSTHENES BY V. V. LAPIN. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 28(3), 54-67. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.03.05