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Grecs et indigènes de la Catalogne à la mer Noire

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Henri Tréziny

Chapitre 6. Grecs et indigènes sur la côte Nord du Pont-Euxin

2. Greeks and indigenous population at Berezan (Borysthenes)

Sergey L. Solovyov

Résumé

The ancient settlement on the Berezan Island, which formerly was the peninsula, where the ancient Greeks first settled, when they sailed into the Northern Black Sea region, holds a key to the story of ancient Greek colonisation of the area. A small number and typological unvariety of Greek imports and local handmade pottery of the 7th century might specify the irregularity and the short duration of first contacts between Greeks and Natives. The building practice of the first inhabitants of Berezan was determined mainly by local traditions of dug-out construction. At the same time, absence of a large number of early Greek graves can also specify rather small share of Greeks among the first settlers on Berezan. The necropolis materials attest that the quantity of Greek colonists has sharply been grown in the second half of the 6th century BC, when the whole territory of the settlement was built up with aboveground homes of generally Greek types. The urbanisation of the Berezan settlement during a very short period has been provoked by a one-time, mass migration of Greeks joined a polis. The local inhabitants of the Berezan settlement abandoned the peninsula in a peaceful way, possibly upon the conclusion of an agreement between the newcomers and native leaders. The local traditions, especially those of dug-out construction and handmade pottery making, were deeply rooted in culture of the Berezan settlement. Almost thousand-year history of the Berezan settlement reveals continuous interaction and coexistence of two cultures and two worlds, those of Greeks and indigenous populations.

Entrées d'index

Géographique :

Berezan

Texte intégral

1The initial stage of Greek penetration into Scythia covered from the middle up to the last quarter of the 7 th century BC. These frames are determined by the first Greek imports found in the Northern Black Sea hinterland and by the foundations of Greek settlements in the coastal zone (fig. 185).

2The ancient settlement on the Berezan Island, which formerly was the peninsula, where the ancient Greeks first settled, when they sailed into the Northern Black Sea region, holds a key to the story of ancient Greek colonisation of the area (fig. 186). The Berezan settlement, known in the ancient world initially by the name Borysthenes, was the first link in a chain of Greek city-states, which appeared on the northern coast of Pontus in the Archaic period. Together with those other city-states, Borysthenes became an active participant in the cultural and trading expansion of ancient Greeks into the Northern Pontus, and in the transmission of Greek culture on the vast territory of forest-steppe and steppe Scythia. Borysthenes became a powerful ‘magnet’, drawing the representatives of indigenous population into its economic and political influence, also due to its advantageous position in the mouth of two major rivers of Scythia, those of Borysthenes and Hypanis. Natives, in turn, left numerous traces of their presence in the material and spiritual culture of Berezan.

3According to ancient literary evidence on the Borysthenes’ foundation, it is dated back to 647/46 BC. Nevertheless, a revision of archaeological evidence, which Berezan provides, has definitely shown that relevant archaeological materials really consist of a very small group of painted Greek vessels (Solovyov 2007, 38-40), which were mostly composed of SiA Id, by the classification of M. Kerschner and U. Schlotzhauer (2005), jugs and plates (so-called stemmed dish), accompanied by a number of North Ionian bird bowls dating not earlier than 630 BC, and isolated finds of Protocorinthian pottery, those of Linear kotylai dating to 650–630 BC (Bukina, Cat. 78 and 79), as well as hand-made local ceramics originated in the forest-steppe Scythia, those of tulip-shaped pots of Late Chyornyi Les culture, which were decorated with applied ornamentation separated by finger-prints with punctures (fig. 187).

Fig. 185. The map of the Northern Black Sea area : 1- Greek and local sites ; 2- Scythian tombs with Greek pottery of the 7th century BC.

Fig. 185. The map of the Northern Black Sea area : 1- Greek and local sites ; 2- Scythian tombs with Greek pottery of the 7th century BC.

Fig. 186. The map and views of the Berezan Island.

Fig. 186. The map and views of the Berezan Island.

Fig. 187. Greek (Inv. B90.21, B172, B69.29, B254, B83.19, B451, B69.60) and local (Inv. B69.217) pottery of the first stage of colonisation from Berezan.

Fig. 187. Greek (Inv. B90.21, B172, B69.29, B254, B83.19, B451, B69.60) and local (Inv. B69.217) pottery of the first stage of colonisation from Berezan.

4Meanwhile both imported and local pottery can not be a strong argument of Greek and Natives inhabitation before around 630 BC. Just in the following decades of the 7 th century, pottery seems to reflect a time of comparative steadiness of the site as a trading emporion for the Northern Black Sea coast. The ways and reasons of Greek penetration into the Northern Black Sea now are mainly found out (Tsetskhladze 1994, 1998 ; Koshelenko, Kuznetsov 1998 ; Domanskij, Marčenko 2003 ; Solovyov 2007). In turn, the appearance of Scythians on the coast is also explained by the specific character of their economy and the seasonal dependence of cattle breeding (Gavrilyuk 1999, 138-9).

5The recently made archaeometric analysis of Greek pottery from Berezan provides some observations on ethnic composition of traders and their trading habits. It turns out that the late 7 th century BC imported pottery was generally dominated by South Ionian, mainly Milesian products, while the market in the 6 th century BC was dominated by North Ionian products. The mutable partition between South Ionian and North Ionian products can reflect a free market or can also indicate changes in the origin of probably newly arrived settlers (Posamentir 2006, 161-2, figs. 2-4 ; Posamentir, Solovyov 2006, 127).

6Nevertheless, the small number and typological unvariety of Greek imports and handmade pottery of the 7 th century might specify the irregularity and the short duration of first contacts between Greeks and Natives (Solovyov 1998, 208-12 ; 2007, 41). They needed plenty of time for getting better acquainted with each other. More than a quarter of the century has passed before the first traces of their permanent and joint residing on Berezan have appeared, which were those of the cultural layer and dwellings on the site, and burials in the necropolis (Solovyov 1999, 3-4).

7During the first three quarters of the 6 th century BC the only types of dwelling on the Berezan settlement were constructions dug in the ground, so-called ‘zemlyanki’ (fig. 188). They were built half in and half out of the earth in an area occupying from 5 to 16 square meters. These buildings were architecturally crude, characterised by simplicity of construction and interior layout. The basic distinction among dug-out constructions lies in the form of dwellings : the layout may be quadrangular, oval, or circular. The duration of their functioning averaged from 5 to 12 years. Nearly 250 such dwellings have been found up to the present time. It turned up that composition of dwellings varied by different parts of the settlement (fig. 189). The North-western section was dominated by dug-outs of circular and oval layouts. In turn, the Eastern section was dominated by dug-outs of quadrangular shapes. The central area of the settlement was clear of domestic architecture in that time, and likely was composed of household structures, those of storage pits and dug-outs.

8It was attested that the building practice of the first inhabitants of Berezan was determined mainly by local traditions of dug-out construction. Not only the morphological indicators of the Berezan dug-outs show that, but also the spatial arrangement of the settlement, which developed haphazardly, with no regulation of construction, and was shaped exclusively by the elementary rules of communal living and by the conditions of economic activity (fig. 190). Resting on dug-out construction, the urbanisation of the Berezan settlement could not be fully realized in principle (Solovyov 1996).

Fig. 188. Archaic dug-out dwellings of the Berezan settlement.

Fig. 188. Archaic dug-out dwellings of the Berezan settlement.

Fig. 189. Dynamics of Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.

Fig. 189. Dynamics of Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.

Fig. 190. Spatial organisation of dug-out construction on the Berezan settlement.

Fig. 190. Spatial organisation of dug-out construction on the Berezan settlement.

9Nevertheless, the strongest local tradition is attested by handmade pottery, which composition consists of varied typological groups and represents a steady complex of various categories of vessels (Marčenko 1988 ; Senatorov 2005). First of all, it composes of coarse kitchen ware decorated with applied decoration separated by finger-prints with punctures and tableware with incised ornamentation, reflecting ceramic traditions characteristic of forest-steppe Scythian cultures of the Early Scythian time. Another table pottery, which has polished surface decorated with both incised and combed ornaments, was characteristic of the Kizil-Koba
(or earlier Taurian) culture in the Crimean peninsula, which dated, respectively, from the 8 th to the first half of the 6 th century BC, and from the second half of 6 th to the first half of 4 th century BC. The appearance of such pottery on Berezan is dated as early as the second quarter of the 6 th century BC, whereas the earliest finds of such pottery in Crimea are dated from the third quarter of this century (Solovyov 1995a). The coarse jars and bowls with fluted surface, which appeared on Berezan in the second quarter of the 6 th century BC, attest the presence of population whether derived from the Northern Thrace or being strongly influenced by the Thracian culture.

10On the whole, the statistic analysis of ceramic assemblages from Berezan dug-outs has shown that fragments of Greek trade amphorae made up the largest part of finds (up to 80 % of all pottery fragments). Leaving amphorae out of account, the ratio of imported Greek ware to hand-made pottery was approximately 80 % to 20 %. In isolated instances the portion of handmade pottery increased by 10–20 %.

11So, one can assume that certain particular features of the construction of dug-outs on Berezan, which at first glance appear accidental (especially, the three layout types of dwellings, changes in the frequency of their occurrence in separate areas of the settlement, and the apparent absence of construction regulations in general), in fact directly reflected the diversity of the local culture. The fact of this heterogeneity became clear primarily as a result of the observed combination of specific characteristics of Berezan dug-outs with other features of daily life for Berezan inhabitants. Most important in this regard was the combination of dug-out features with the types of hand-made pottery widely used in everyday life and discovered in fill inside dug-outs (fig. 191). It turned up that in places, where circular dug-outs were concentrated, pottery related to that of the middle Dniester region, which seemed to be under the strong influence of Thracian culture, tended to predominate. In parts of Berezan occupied by rectangular and to some extent oval structures, a different type of hand-made pottery predominated. This other type can be linked only to the pottery of the middle Dnieper region, which was settled by forest-steppe Scythian tribes.

12Statistical analysis of this material from Berezan, supplemented by similar data from a series of other sites in the lower Bug River region, demonstrates the significance of the correlation abovementioned (fig. 192). The explanation of the facts can be found just in the course of Greek colonisation in the northern Black Sea area. The active and successful Greek economic activities drew some groups of indigenous population from the forest-steppe Scythia into the process of occupying the lower Bug River region. Owing to certain features of their culture (particularly in building practice and making and decorating hand-made pottery), the forest-steppe Scythian groups were drawn mainly from two areas, those of the middle Dniester and middle Dnieper regions.

Fig. 191. Composition of hand-made pottery from Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.

Fig. 191. Composition of hand-made pottery from Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.

Fig. 192. Share and composition of hand-made pottery in the Late Archaic sites of the Low Bug area.

Fig. 192. Share and composition of hand-made pottery in the Late Archaic sites of the Low Bug area.

13The culture of the nomadic Scythian population, which is also reflected in archaeological materials at the site, probably comprised a third component of indigenous cultural influence on ancient Berezan. Owing to specific characteristics of nomadic way of life, the steppe-Scythian culture was very heterogeneous and included components of those cultures with which the nomads came into contact. Thus, the derivation of one of the groups of hand-made pottery used in the nomads’ everyday life is linked to regions settled by tribes of the Kizil-Koba culture in the Crimean peninsula.

14Cultural differences between the groups of natives, who (willingly or unwillingly) ended up residing in the lower Southern Bug River region, can be seen not only in the type of dwellings or ceramic assemblages, but also in other details of everyday life on Berezan (Solovyov 2005, 126-35). Particularly important in this regard are cult objects, types of work tools, weapons, and adornments, those of bronze nail-shaped pins and mushroom-shaped pendants, glazed paste beads, bone tools for working hides, stone dishes, and many other objects, aside from weaponry. All of those have been found in great quantities on Berezan, and the great majority of which are linked to local cultures.

15Therefore, in my opinion, there is no doubt that most of the more visible features of ancient Berezan culture during the first three quarters of the 6 th century BC were rooted in the local cultures of the northern Black Sea. However, it is also clear that some part of Berezan culture must have belonged to the Greek colonists, whose existence in this region is of course without doubt.

16It was the statistic analysis of ceramic assemblages from dug-outs that has shown that the fragments of trade amphorae from Klazomenai, Chios, Lesbos, and Miletus made up the largest part of the numerous finds (Dupont 2005), followed by those of imported Greek ware.

17The composition of Greek table pottery in that time was dominated by North Ionian production. It was noticed that this ceramic material showed a surprisingly limited variety of shapes and the same time surprising amount of almost identical objects, and among them high number of ‘extraordinary’ shapes such as askoi, alabastra, lydia, etc. On the whole the spectrum of shapes is dominated by table amphorae, jugs, krateres, plates or stemmed dish, and drinking cups. The latter in turn compose of well-known types of the North Ionian area, such as bird-, rosette-, meander-, lotus-, eye-, banded-ware- and animal-frieze bowls. The South Ionian pottery of that time is represented by the so-called Ionian cups and Fikellura pottery. It is worth noting that the Berezan settlement also became one of the most important places of discovery for the Aeolian dinoi of the so-called London Dinos Group (Posamentir 2006, 161-4, fig. 4, 10, 11 ; Posamentir ; Posamentir, Solovyov 2006, 2007).

18Other groups of Greek pottery compose of Early and Middle Corinthian aryballoi, kotylai and pyxides (Bukina 2008 ; Bukina), Chiot chalices and lekanai (Ilina 2005), Clazomenian krateres and jugs (Ilina), as well as of Attic black-figure vessels, which earliest examples are dated to the first quarter of the 6 th century, including the workshops of Sophilos, the Gorgon Painter, the Komast Group and the Polos Painter (Smith ; Petrakova 2005, 2009). The overall number of Athenian black-figure imports increases towards the middle of the century. The distribution by shape of Athenian black-figure pottery from Berezan reveals preferences in certain periods. In the early years of the 6 th century amphorae are prevalent, though the overall number of finds is not particularly high. By the second quarter of the century cup imports, first Komast then Siana Cups, have greatly increased, and continue steadily towards the mid-century. In the middle years of the century the large number of black-figure krateres and other open mixing vessels is notable. During the third quarter of the 6 th century cups far outnumber other shapes in popularity, these being the Little-Masters that number 69 % of the total finds recorded (Smith).

19Without any doubt, the wide development of trade dominated in relations between Greeks and Natives in Berezan. The same could perhaps be inferred from handicraft production, which initially also had a seasonal character. The best example of such a seasonal craft site is at Yagorlyk on the Dnieper delta not far from Berezan. The remnants of temporary iron-, bronze- and glass-making workshops, dated from the 7 th century BC, have been found on the site (Ostroverkhov 1979). There were iron-making workshops on the Berezan settlement too. Moreover, new evidences of bronze-making and pottery manufacturing workshops have recently been uncovered on Berezan, as early as the early 6 th century BC (Domanskij, Marčenko 2003).

20Probably, the first Greek settlers could use any part of the dug-out constructions as temporary dwellings (Solovyov 2008). One of the most notable features of such buildings is the stone basement arranged around all the sides of a pit (Solovyov 1999, 59-63, figs. 43, 44, 46 ; 2008, figs. 3 and 4) (fig. 193). The aboveground parts of the wall were constructed of mud bricks. The lower row of the masonry consisted of large polygonal slabs placed sidewise. The dwelling was one-chambered ; however, its interior space was divided into two ‘halves’ with separate functions : living and food-preparation areas, where stoves and hearths were located. Moreover, the inhabitants of the dug-out also used of portable braziers. Finds from these buildings are composed, as usual, mainly of fragments of amphorae from various manufacturing centres of Ionia and Greece. Both decorated and cooking pottery is well represented too.

Fig. 193. Berezan dug-out 41 of the second quarter of the 6th century BC.

Fig. 193. Berezan dug-out 41 of the second quarter of the 6th century BC.

21Among numerous and diverse archaic burials in the Berezan necropolis only few can be referred to the first half of the 6 th century BC (Vinogradov, Domanskij 1996). Mostly of them were cremations and children’s interments in vases. At the same time, so appreciable absence of a large number of early Greek graves can also specify rather small share of Greeks among the first settlers on Berezan. The necropolis materials attest that the quantity of Greek colonists has sharply been grown in the second half of the 6 th century BC. More than half burials were dated by that time.

22Cardinal changes in the cultural face of the Berezan settlement took place at the end of the third quarter of the 6 th century BC. During a very short time the whole territory of the settlement was built up with aboveground houses of generally Greek types (Solovyov 1999, 64-79). As it has been established, this was preceded by preparatory work to fill the dug-outs and storage pits, and to level the surface of areas designated for aboveground construction (fig. 194).

Fig. 194. The map of the Late Archaic residential area ‘B’ of Borysthenes.

Fig. 194. The map of the Late Archaic residential area ‘B’ of Borysthenes.

23The newly erected houses had an area of 100 to 260 square meters and consisted of a few living and household rooms that were grouped around an interior courtyard. Depending on their designated purpose, the rooms held stoves, hearths, portable braziers, and the heating system of a fireplace type, paving, and drains. In the courtyards, partially paved with fragments of pottery and small stones, there were located wells, root cellars, altars, and drains. The houses were most likely one-stored, although the wall construction of Berezan buildings would not prevent the construction of a second floor. The quality of the construction work varied and seemed to depend on the wealth of the home-owner. On the whole, construction techniques were of a fairly high level.

24The architectural appearance of the Berezan houses indicates the urban character of construction. All the dwellings were grouped in blocks of eight or more houses. The area of such a block approached 2000 square meters. The size and placement of the blocks were regulated by a developed network of streets, which was evidently set up from the beginning by an approximately regular plan. Regulation of the area of the settlement occupied by aboveground buildings evidently did not extend to the outskirts, where right up to the beginning of the 5 th century BC dug-out construction continued, although to a significantly lesser extent than before.

25I have no doubts that the urbanisation of the Berezan settlement could have been implemented without a one-time, mass immigration of Greeks and without the organising role of institutions of city authority. In my opinion, the earlier inhabitants of the Berezan settlement abandoned the peninsula in a peaceful way, not due to any violence on the part of the Greeks, possibly upon the conclusion of an agreement between the settlers and native leaders. Such an agreement may have included payment of redemption fees or some other obligation for the land granted to the Greek colonists, probably for an unlimited period of time. Only a very small number of the former dwellers of Berezan evidently remained living on the peninsula. These people were possibly involved in construction work at the new city or had some other relationship with the newcomers.

26From that time the indigenous population was mainly used in developing of agriculture on Borysthenes chora. Natives, those of farmers and settled nomads, being under the influence of Greek economy and policy, became dependent on the Greek community, which granted them lands on lease and allowed bartering at the city markets. Semi-dependence status of Natives is attested by archaeological data from chorai of Northern Pontic cities, those mostly of Ionian. A form of non-economic coercion was slavery. The epigraphical evidence such as lead letters from Berezan and Phanagoria (Vinogradov 1971 ; 1998) and Herodotus mention the slaves, most probably non-Greek by their origin, among the population of early Greek colonies in the Northern Pontic region.

27That the new settlers of Berezan possessed a political organisation of the polis type also seems difficult to doubt. By the end of the first third of the 5 thcentury BC Borysthenes reached its greatest dimensions that it had never attained before or since. The construction work on Borysthenes reached its peak, which undoubtedly gave it the characteristic features of a classical city.

28In the last quarter of the 6 th century BC cardinal changes developed in practically the entire cultural sphere of the Berezan settlement (Solovyov 1999, 64-97). Substantive changes occurred in the composition of the ceramic complex of the settlement. Most significant was the growth of wheeled pottery, both cooking and table ware. From this time onwards, most of this pottery consisted of products from Athenian workshops. Among other shapes of the pottery stemmed cups taper off in quantity during the later years of the 6 th and the early years of the 5 th centuries BC, only to be replaced to some extent by skyphoi ; lekythoi also increase in popularity in the years around 500 BC (Smith). Attic products gradually supplanted Ionian pottery in the daily life of Borysthenes’ citizens. Excluded from this process were of course the amphorae produced by Ionian potters. It is well known that wine was in huge demand in the marketplaces of the Northern Black Sea region, sought after by both Greeks and Natives.

29The amount of hand-made pottery in the ceramic complex of Berezan declined substantially in comparison with earlier times. In addition, the composition of such pottery also changed : many specialised forms disappeared, but hand-made imitations of Greek originals became frequent.

30One further very important change of this time consisted in the fact that the spiritual life of Borysthenes inhabitants now took on typically Greek characteristics. Primary among these characteristics are traces of Greek cults. Attributable materials, which were discovered in aboveground houses, included remnants of fixed and portable altars, numerous graffiti on vessels, and dedications to various deities of the ancient Greek pantheon, cultic terracotta, stone statuettes, and stone and clay lamps. The single known cult construction on the Berezan – the temple of Aphrodite – has been erected at the same time (Nazarov 2001 ; Kryzhytskii 2001). At that time were issued the first Borysthenes coins (Solovyov 2006), those were cast of bronze in shapes of arrowheads and dolphins, and in shape of large segment combined images of both an arrowhead and a head of tuna. One of the earliest in the Northern Pontus jewellery workshop with bronze punches has been revealed in Berezan (Treister, Solovyov 2004).

31The uncovered part of the Berezan necropolis mainly belongs to the same time (Vinogradov, Domanskij 1996). The earlier section of the necropolis has not preserved because of destructive effects of a sea. In the second half of the 6 th – the first half of the 5 th century BC 90 % of burials were inhumations in simple funeral pits with quadrangular or oval shapes. The skeletons found in them mostly were laid extended on a back, oriented by a head, as a rule, to Northeast or Northwest. In this group 33 % of deceased were buried writhed and laid on a side. It is possible to attribute them with the indigenous population of the Northern Pontic area, although the question on ethnicity of writhed burials, which were recovered in the necropolis of Ancient Greek cities, is still rather far from the final decision. About 7 % of burials were children’s interments often-made in large ceramic vessels. As a rule, amphora and, less often, pithos-shaped urns were used for this purpose. Cremations have made no more than 4 % of Berezan burials. The funeral fire remnants, which were assembled in a funeral pit or in an urn, have been buried there on a fireplace or anywhere on the necropolis. In the necropolis there were also uncovered remnants of funeral feasts. The burial gifts in graves used to be inexpensive, diverse on the structure, but as a whole forming rather standard set of subjects. They were submitted by amphorae, plain and painted jugs and krateres, cups, lekythoi, askoi, aryballoi and lydia (fig. 195).

Fig. 195. The map of the Berezan necropolis excavated by G. L. Skadovskii (after Lapin 1966), Late Archaic burials and funeral goods.

Fig. 195. The map of the Berezan necropolis excavated by G. L. Skadovskii (after Lapin 1966), Late Archaic burials and funeral goods.

32Besides the deceased in writhed poses, which ethnicity is still open to debate, the rest bodies were buried by Greek funeral rites. By the way, it is necessary to note that a location of the cemetery of indigenous population keeps unknown.

33The following changes in the Borysthenes’ life occurred at the end of the first third of the 5 th century BC (Solovyov 1995b ; 1999, 98–113). These changes led to the decline of construction work, a sharp reduction in the area of aboveground house-building and an increasing amount of dug-out construction. In that time a settlement arose on the place of the abandoned aboveground houses. The main feature of the newly arising settlement structure was the construction of dwellings dug into the ground. The gap in time between the abandonment of aboveground dwellings and the building of dug-outs was so small that it is almost undetectable in the dating of finds. It was traceable only stratigraphically. The pottery was dominated by Greek ceramics, however the pots characteristic of steppe Scythian were also recorded.

34Four dug-outs and a series of storage pits of that time have been uncovered (fig. 196). Two dwellings possessed quadrangular form, and one dug-out had a circular shape. Despite these different forms, the two constructions possessed the same feature : the stone basement walls and the aboveground parts of walls made of mud bricks. The walls were plastered with clay. Fixed details of the interior layout of the dwellings consisted of stoves, hearths, portable braziers, and large vessels for storing foodstuffs. It has become evident that there are key distinctions between the newly spreading house-building and that, which existed there earlier and on the peninsula’s eastern coast during the Classical period. It is possible to assume that a return to dug-out construction in the western part of Berezan was not a result of the activities of Greek colonists.

35It is well known that at the end of the first third of the 5 th century BC the cultural and historical situation in the northern Black Sea region underwent fundamental changes (Marčenko, Vinogradov 1989). In that period of political instability in Scythia the appearance of dug-out buildings on the urban outskirts of the Berezan settlement in the 5 th century BC was most likely connected to the settling there of the rural non-Greek population of Borysthenes. Its inhabitants, having found themselves in a dangerous situation, were evidently forced to find protection from Greek community, which however was living with just the same fears. Then, certain sections of the urban and possibly rural Berezan population may have overflowed into Olbia, which was another ancient Greek centre of the region.

Fig. 196. Residential construction of Classical Berezan.

Fig. 196. Residential construction of Classical Berezan.

36From that time decline of Berezan settlement has gradually started. The later existence of ancient Berezan is the history of an ordinary agricultural and fishing settlement not very visible against the background of other villages of Olbia polis (Solovyov 1999, 114-27). In the second half of the 2nd to the first half of the 3rd centuries AD, the island went through a new upsurge of residential activity. The archaeological evidence from excavations on the eastern coast of the island revealed the cultural layer of that time, containing numerous building remains and finds mainly those of pottery. The buildings being constructed without any regulation seemed to be small, rather disordered houses of many rooms, not particularly distinguishable in appearance from the well-known rural buildings of outlying Olbian areas. The owners of these buildings were probably Greek peasants, artisans, and fishermen, those of citizens of the Olbia state. The one exception found up to the present time is a building rectangular in form and possessing a large area. This building was single-chambered, where two stone bases for support columns were situated. In the opinion of its excavator, the building was not used as a residence but possibly had some kind of social (probably cult) purpose (Nazarov 1996, 14-5, Abb. 3).

37The excavations in the western part of the island have revealed a different kind of evidence about life at the settlement in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. In the northwest area, about ten dug-out dwellings from that time were unearthed (fig. 197). The area of the buildings varied little, from 10 to 18 square meters, and as a rule the depth of their foundation-trenches exceeded 1 meter. All these dug-outs were rectangular in form. One feature characteristic of the interior of these dug-outs was a two-part stove built into the side of the foundation-trench. The use of stone in the construction of dug-outs was evidently episodic, and was usually connected with reinforcing separate parts of the sides of a foundation-trench or with building aboveground stone walls. Sometimes for this purpose were used marble slabs with dedications to Achilles Pontarches, which served whether as a base for the central support column holding up the roof of the dwelling or as steps for the entryway. There is an impression that the spirit of Greek culture and its religious values were alien to the inhabitants of these dwellings, which also differed from Olbiopolitai in their way of life.

Fig. 197. Residential construction of Roman Berezan.

Fig. 197. Residential construction of Roman Berezan.

38These particular features of dwellings in the western part of the settlement make it necessary to distinguish their inhabitants from the rest of the Berezan population in Roman times. These differences may be explained by the ethnic and social heterogeneity of Olbian society, especially in its outlying regions, which included variety economically and socially dependent groups. These groups primarily consisted of representatives from native areas, which may have included the descendants of those members of the multi-ethnic rural Olbian population of Late Hellenistic times who survived the Getae’s invasion ; as well as nomadic Scythians and Sarmatians who had settled and moved into outlying Greek villages. This conclusion is supported by finds of handmade pottery of the first centuries AD, the share of which ranged 23-27 % of all ceramic fragments found in dug-outs (of course, not counting amphorae).

39The cessation of life on Berezan evidently coincided with the complete collapse of Olbia chora and the downfall of Olbia itself because of the first Gothic invasion.

40In conclusion, it is worth noting first that the local traditions, especially those of dug-out construction and handmade pottery making, deeply were rooted in culture of the Berezan settlement ; and, second, almost thousand-year history of the Berezan settlement reveals continuous interaction and coexistence of two cultures and two worlds, those of Greeks and indigenous populations. From the moment of their first meeting and up to the end of classical world these processes, being not dependant on their forms and intensity, rendered significant influence on a course of history of the Northern Black Sea coastal area.

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Annexes

List of Abbreviations

ACSS – Ancient Civilisations from Scythia to Siberia, Leiden

ASGE – Arkheologicheskii Sbornik Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha (Archaeological Collection of the State Hermitage), St-Petersburg (in Russian with summaries in English)

AV – Arkheologicheskie vesti (Archaeological News), St-Petersburg (in Russian with summaries in English)

AWE – Ancient West & East, Leiden

BAR – British Archaeological Reports

CVA – Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum

IstMitt – Istanbuler Mitteilungen

SA – Sovetskaya arkheologiya (Soviet Archaeology), Moscow

TGE – Trudy Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha (Proceedings of the State Hermitage), Leningrad ; St-Petersburg (in Russian with summaries in English)

VDI – Vestnik Drevnei Istorii (Journal of Ancient History), Moscow (in Russian with summaries in English)

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 185. The map of the Northern Black Sea area : 1- Greek and local sites ; 2- Scythian tombs with Greek pottery of the 7th century BC.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pccj/docannexe/image/491/img-1.png
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Titre Fig. 186. The map and views of the Berezan Island.
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Titre Fig. 187. Greek (Inv. B90.21, B172, B69.29, B254, B83.19, B451, B69.60) and local (Inv. B69.217) pottery of the first stage of colonisation from Berezan.
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Titre Fig. 188. Archaic dug-out dwellings of the Berezan settlement.
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Titre Fig. 189. Dynamics of Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.
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Titre Fig. 190. Spatial organisation of dug-out construction on the Berezan settlement.
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Titre Fig. 191. Composition of hand-made pottery from Berezan dug-outs varied by layouts.
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Titre Fig. 192. Share and composition of hand-made pottery in the Late Archaic sites of the Low Bug area.
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Titre Fig. 193. Berezan dug-out 41 of the second quarter of the 6th century BC.
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Titre Fig. 194. The map of the Late Archaic residential area ‘B’ of Borysthenes.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pccj/docannexe/image/491/img-10.png
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Titre Fig. 195. The map of the Berezan necropolis excavated by G. L. Skadovskii (after Lapin 1966), Late Archaic burials and funeral goods.
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Titre Fig. 196. Residential construction of Classical Berezan.
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Titre Fig. 197. Residential construction of Roman Berezan.
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Auteur

Department of Greek & Roman Antiquities, The State Hermitage Museum, 34, Dvortsovaya Emb., 190000 St Petersburg, Russia < ssl2610@yandex.ru>

© Publications du Centre Camille Jullian, 2010

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

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