STONES, SEA AND BARROWS: SCYTHIAN TIME SITES IN THE LANDSCAPE OF NORTHERN AZOV COAST


  • A. D. Demina National universuty of «Kyiv-Mohyla academy»
Keywords: Scythian time, barrow, Azov sea coast, landscape analysis.

Abstract

Herodotus described the land to the north of the Maeotian lake as a place where the royal Scythian tribes lived. Today, the northern coast of the Azov sea is most commonly associated with this land. However, even though nomadic barrows have been excavated there for more than a century, this region remains the blind spot on the archaeological map of European Scythia, in the comparison to the neighboring sites in the Dnieper and Don basins. Only the «elite» Scythian burial sites, such as Melitopol kurgan, Bierdiansk kurgan and Dvohorba mohyla have been analyzed in the broader context of nomadic burial practices. To address this gap, I have made a closer examination of 117 barrows with 160 burials of Scythian time in this region. In particular, I focused on whether the distinctive features of the local landscape correlate to the burial construction patterns. The sites, included in this research, are located within the 60 km area to the north of coastline. The latitudinal extend of this area is approximately 380 km. In addition, several sites, such as Tokmak barrows and Perederieva mohyla, which are not located in the Azov littoral, but in the upstream basins of coastal rivers are surveyed as well. This territory is divided in several geographic zones, though the high-cliffed Donets ridge and Azov Upland along with flat lowlands of Black Sea and Azov sea occupy the largest part of it. Considering the size and diversity of the territory, the claim of studying some common landscape characteristics seems to be problematic. However, this study shows that land use strategies have reflected in (1) the pattern and frequency of stone constructions, (2) the use of marine eelgrass as architectural material and (3) the arrangement of sites in regard to the bronze age barrows. This analysis contributes to the understanding of regional differentiation of burial sites and land use characteristics in Scythian time.

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Published
2018-03-25
How to Cite
Demina, A. D. (2018). STONES, SEA AND BARROWS: SCYTHIAN TIME SITES IN THE LANDSCAPE OF NORTHERN AZOV COAST. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 26(1), 169-176. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2018.01.09