• T. M. Shevchenko Institute of Archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: bust thymiateria, Ancient Greek terracottas, Ancient Greek religion, Olbia Pontike.


Analysed is a series of bust thymiateria with handmade details: stephanes, earrings, and buttons fastening chiton on shoulders. Handmade cups on their heads were not the headdress, but the functional details, and were probably used in some rituals as containers for incenses. A detailed analysis shows that several of them were produced in a single mould, two items produced not in Olbia, and on some of them tainia on the personage’s head were shown already in a mould. It is traced that the busts are close to Olbian semi-figures of bigger size with more elaborate, though also handmade, adorations. Stylistically, this group can be dated by the first half of the 3rd century BC. Almost all of them come from the excavations at dwelling quarters and were probably used in family cults. They were often found with other terracottas’ fragments, namely, with images of the Mother of the Gods and Dionysus.

These busts belong to one of several groups of Hellenistic thymiateria. They are the least definite for attribution. Personages of other groups present the reliable features of their relation to the cults of the Mother of the Gods, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. Similar thymiateria from other Ancient Greek centres represent images of the same circle of the gods. Here, an attention to decorations and the clothes can only indirectly indicate for an image of Aphrodite or a participant of her cult, while spherical adornments attached most often to the temples, together with tainia on the heads of several items, can be hypothetically a part of a wreath made of ivy fruits, as on the heads of Dionysiac characters. Consequently, there are no reliable grounds yet for a definite attribution of these thymiateria’s images. There are also no grounds to see Demeter or Kore-Persephone in them. The study of other groups of Olbian busts-thymiateria is perspective for the further attribution.


Denisova, V. I. 1981. Koroplastika Bospora (po materialam Tiritaki, Mirmekiia, Ilurata i selskoi usadby). Leningrad: Nauka.
Levi, E. I., Karasev, A. N. 1962. Otchet o rabote Olviiskoi ekspeditsii LOIA AN SSSR v 1962 godu. NA IA NANU, 1962/55.
Levi, Ye. I., Slavin, L. M. 1970. Opisaniie terrakot olviiskoi agory. Svod arkheologicheskikh istochnikov, G 1-11, I, s. 38-42.
Leipunskaia, N. A., Kariaka, A. V., Diatroptov, P. D. 2006. Otchet o rabote Olviiskoi ekspeditsii na uchastke NGS v 2006 g. NA IA NANU, 2006/51.
Minchev, A. 2018. Dve elinisticheski glavi — terakoti ot byustovi timiaterii ot Odesos (Varna). In: Boteva, I. (ed.). Jubilaeus VII: In memoriam Prof. Dr. Margaritae Tachevae. Varna, s. 143-152. In print.
Rusiaieva, A. S. 1971. Kult Kory-Persefony v Olvii. Arkheolohiia, 4, s. 28-40.
Rusiaieva, A. S. 1972. Otchet o raskopkakh na uchastke AGD. NA IA NANU, 1972/26.
Rusiaieva, A. S. 1979. Zemledelcheskiie kulty v Olvii dogetskogo vremeni. Kyiv: Naukova dumka.
Rusiaieva, A. S. 1982. Antichnyie terrakoty Severo-Zapadnogo Prichernomoria (VI—V vv. do n. e.). Kyiv: Naukova dumka.
Rusiaieva, A. S. 2010. Graffiti Olvii Pontiiskoi. Simferopol. Materialy arkheologii, istorii i etnografii Tavrii. Supplementum, 8.
Rusiaieva, A. S., Mazarati, S. M. 1978. Olviiska terakota Kory-Persefony. Arkheolohiia, 27, s. 61-68.
Slavin, L. M. 1947. Rezultaty arkheologicheskikh issledovanii Olviiskoi ekspeditsii 1947—1948 gg. NA IA NANU, 1947/9.
Slavin, L. M. 1949. Osnovnyie resultaty arkheologicheskikh issledovanii Olvii i yeio periferii v 1948—1949 gg. NA IA NANU, 1949/20.
Slavin, L. M. 1952. Otchet o rabotakh Olviiskoi ekspeditsii 1952 g. NA IA NANU, 1952/10a.
Slavin, L. M. 1956. Otchet o raskopkakh v Olvii v 1956 g. (uchastki E-6 i Agora). NA IA NANU, 1956/10.
Slavin, L. M. 1960. Poliova dokumentatsiia. Inventarnaia opis nakhodok Olviiskoi ekspeditsii. 1960 g. NA IA NANU, 1960/11.
Slavin, L. M. 1963. Otchet o rabote Olviiskoi ekspeditsii za 1963 g. NA IA NANU, 1963/9.
Slavin, L. M. 1967. Otchet o rabote Olviiskoi ekspeditsii za 1967 g. NA IA NANU, 1967/7.
Shevchenko, T. M. 2015. Olviiski pohruddia-fimiaterii. Laurea, I: Antichnyi mir i Sredniie veka: Chteniia pamiati professora V. I. Kadeeva. Materialy, s. 54-58.
Shevchenko, T. M. 2016. Ellinistychni hlyniani pivfihury z Olvii. Arkheolohiia ta davnia istoriia Ukrainy, 1 (18). Kyiv, s. 43-50.
D’Ambrosio, A., Borriello, M. 1990. Le terrecotte figurate di Pompei. Roma: L’Erma di Bretschneider. Cataloghi, 4.
Bailey, D. M. 2008. Catalogue of the Terracottas in the British Museum. London: British Museum Press, IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt.
Bald Romano, I. 1995. The Terracotta Figurines and Related Vessels. Philadelphia. The Gordion Special Studies, II. University Museum Monograph, 83.
Bedello Tata, M. 1990. Oscilla, thymiateria, arulae. Cittа del Castello. Terrecotte votive. Catalogo del Museo provincial Campano, IV.
Bilde, P. G. 2007. Nothing to do with Demeter? A Group of Bust Thymiateria from Olbia, Sector NGS. Bosporskii fenomen, ІІ, p. 119-126.
Bilde, P. G. 2010. Terracottas. Black Sea Studies, 13: The Lower City of Olbia (Secrtor NGS) in the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, p. 439-463, pl. 327-348.
Burn, L., Higgings, R. 2001. Catalogue of Greek Terracottas in the British Museum. London: British Museum Press, III.
Burr Thompson, D. 1963. Troy. The Terracotta Figurines of the Hellenistic Period. Troy. Excavations conducted by the University of Cincinnati. 1932—1938. Princeton. Supplementary Monograph, 3.
Higgings, R. A. 1954. Catalogue of the Terracottas in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. British Museum. London, I.
Merker, G. S. 2000. Terracotta Figurines of the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods. Princeton; New Jersey: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Corinth. The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, XVIII, IV.
Robinson, D. M. 1933. Terracottas of Olynthus Found in 1931. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. Excavations at Olynthus, VII.
Schmidt, E. 1994. Katalog der antiken Terracotten. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, I: Die figurlichen Terrakotten.
Shevchenko, T. 2015. Bust Thymiateria from Olbia Pontike. Les Carnets de l’ACoSt, 13. Online http://acost.revues.org/582; DOI:10.4000/acost.582.
Summerer, L. 1999. Hellenistische Terrakotten aus Amisos. Ein Beitrag zur kunstgeschichte des Pontos gebietes. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.
Τσακάλου-Τζαναβάρη, Κ. 2002. Τσακάλου-Τζαναβάρη, Πήλινα ειδώλια από τη Βέροια. Ταφικά σύνολα της ελληνιστικής εποχής. Διδακτορική διατριβή. Αθήνα.

Abstract views: 64
PDF Downloads: 83
How to Cite
Shevchenko, T. M. (2018). OLBIAN TERRACOTTA BUSTS WITH HANDMADE CUPS AND ADORNMENTS. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 28(3), 129-139. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.03.12