MICROTOPOGRAPHY OF THE 10th CENTURY PAGAN BURIAL GROUND UNDER THE DESYATYNNA CHURCH COURTYARD IN KYIV


Keywords: burial, stratigraphy, barrow ditch, mound, cemetery.

Abstract

The paper considers the issue of microtopography of the 10th century pagan burial ground under the later Desyatynna Church courtyard. At least 75 inhumation burials of the pagan period have been discovered here to the present. Also, several sections of barrow ditches belonging to 7 barrows were discovered during excavations in 2005—2011. These ditches made it possible to determine the approximate diameter of the ancient mounds, which ranged from 3.5 to 12 m.

Analysis of the results of the burial ground evcavations of the 20th — early 21st century provided examples of a combination of inhumation pit graves with charcoal spots and soil layers of mounds above them in single burial complex.

Sections of cultural layer belonging the object of the size of 14 Ч 6 m over, studied in the central dome square of the church of the late 10th century on an area of 9 m2. Four cultural horizons containing embers, ashes, animal bones (with traces of fire and without it), fragments of pots of the 10th century, and individual objects, were discovered here. These layers alternated with soil additions 0.2—0.4 m thick. According to the location, construction, features of filling, this object can be considered as a ritual site that served the cemetery during funeral and post funeral rites.

Microtopographic and stratigraphic observations allow us to assume the event of re-planning of part of the pagan burial ground in front of the Starokyivske hillfort fortification ditch.

The ditch was deepened and widened up to 6 m during the modernization of the fortifications of the hillfort, which happened probably after the Pechenegs’ attack on Kyiv in 968. As a result, the mounds of barrows which were the closest to the ditch were desroyed, and the entire site was leveled and turned into an wide esplanade.

New ordinary graves without mounds appeared here again at the final stage of the burial ground’s existence, in the 970—990 AD. The construction of the Desyatynna Church in 989 (991) put an end to the functioning of the pagan cemetery in this area and totally destroyed its outward signs.

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Published
2021-06-01
How to Cite
Koziuba, V. K. (2021). MICROTOPOGRAPHY OF THE 10th CENTURY PAGAN BURIAL GROUND UNDER THE DESYATYNNA CHURCH COURTYARD IN KYIV. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 38(1), 209-228. Retrieved from https://adiu.com.ua/index.php/journal/article/view/356