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          .. / .. . : , 2006. 408 .: . - ISBN 9978-966-8111-84-2


Golenko V.K. Ancient Kimmerikon and its chora
SUMMARY (p. 266-279)
p. 266
     Ancient Kimmerion is one of the insufficiently explored minor towns of Bosporus. Owing to recording of reliable geographic reference-point sea rocks called Ships (Elken-Kaya in Crimean-Tatarian) in rather late1 Periples of Pontus by Anonymous Author (Pseudo-Arrian) the European site Kimmerikon, situated on the slopes of Opuk Mountain (Black Sea coast of Kerch Peninsula) is well localized. Anonymous Author informs us: The distance between town Kuta (Kuteon site V.G.) and Kimmerikon is 60 stadii, 8 miles; there is mooring protected from western winds. In front of it in the sea, not far from the shore there are situated two small rocky islands. The complete distance between the mouth of Meotian Lake (Azov Sea V.G.) and Kimmerikon is 300 stadii or 40 miles and the distance between Pantik-apaiton and Kimmerikon is 240 stadii, or 32 miles [Anon., PPE. 76-77]. An other town with the similar ethnikon Kimmerion, un-localizated jet, according to the literary sources, was situated on the opposite, Asiatic coast of Kimmerian Bosporus.
     Existence on both coasts of Kimmerian Bosporus of two towns bearing common ethnikon European Kimmerikon Κιμμεριον and Asiatic Kimmerion (Κιμμεριον) - can be easily explained from the point of
view ancient Greek literary tradition. But this fact and closed consonance of the names has led to situation when localization of both towns, determination of authenticity of evidences of ancient authors about each center and determination of their role in the history of Bosporus became one of the most debatable problems of historiography and study of original sources, and the discussion of it does not stop till present days.
     The complication of evaluation of the role of both towns in the history of Ancient Greek colonies in the Bosporus and later in the history of Bosporian Kingdom is first of all connected with the evidence of the other author Strabo dedicated to the Asian Kimmerion [Strabo, XI.II.4-5]. In spite of accuracy of Strabo' study and trustworthiness of his sources, in Strabo's description of Kimmerion can be find some diffidence of the ancient author: having described the settlement (village) Kimmerikon (Kimmerion. Kimmeris) on the Asiatic bank of Bosporus, in the following paragraph he has made a reservation that in former times Kimmerikon was a town on the isthmus and locked the isthmus with ditch and rampart [Slrabo, XI, 2,5]. Though this evidence is discrepant and still debatable, it remains very important for the history of Bosporus, especially in the light of discovery of the Tribute List of 425U24 of the I Athenian Naval Alliance found on the Athenian Acropolis. In this psephisma among the other towns of Euxine Tribute Region Kimmerikon was probably mentioned. Some scholars aspire to recognize in the Tribute List the Asian, not European. Kimmerikon which as it was mentioned above is not still localized in nature. But it is not possible to ignore important evidence of Pliny who marked out that at previous limes the Asian Kimmerion (Κιμμεριον) has got another name it has been called Cerberion [Plin.. NH. VI, 18]. Another author Pseudo-Scymn calls the neighboring to Asian town the town of Kepoi as a colony of Miletus underling its polis origin and contrasting it to neighboring Kimmeris founded (and renamed V.G.) by Bosporian tyrants [Ps. Scymn.. 896-899]. As far as the Asian town was re-founded already during the Bosporian state colonization of lands adjoining to Kimmerian Bosporus which has taken place not earlier then the beginning of the V century , the renamed town already had no political independence and correspondingly could not be the member of Athenian Alliance. On the Northern Black Sea Littoral there are no other centers which names started with letters Κιμμεριον
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     The critical analysis of literary sources and archaeological situation on the Opuk Mountain and its environs shows that Strabo really mixed the evidences about both towns and his information about former localization of Kimmerion is to the point of European Kimmerikon whose strategically role in fortification system of Bosporus is doubtless in the visual distance of it, on the northern coast of Uzunlar Salt Lake the famous Uzunlar (Asander's) rampart with deep ditch finishes. Moreover, on the isthmus of Uzunlar and Koyash Salt Lake, on whose southeastern bank Kimmerikon is situated, are still visible the remains of the other rampart and ditch. On the bank of Koyash salt Lake this pampart was strengthened by settlement. The excavations of it have shown that it was founded not earlier the first half of the IV century . It represents a dwelling of two-three rooms completely demolished and a paved with milestone tiles little yard. Some other dwellings were situated near. The small dimensions of settlement make possible to suppose that it was a guard point on the rampart. Behind the Koyash rampart there were situated the settlements of Kimmerikon chora meanwhile three of them dated by the IV-III centuries AB practically attach the rampart from its eastern inner side.
     Simultaneity of erection and functional similarity of both ramparts is doubtless: they are common fortification system locking at Kimmerikon the general defensive line which crossing Kerch Peninsula from Azov to the Black Sea defended the Eastern part of peninsula which was the native Bosporian lands in the Crimea. Both from point of view of Ancient Greeks and modern opinion this system was an impressive military and engineer installations. If we'll keep in mind the stages of transgression of the level of the Black Sea when the level of the sea in the first centuries AD reached the modern one and even exceeded it, the Uzunlar Lake at the present times running deep into land about 10 km at the times of Strabo was probably a sea gulf and intensified impression about Kimmerikon as about the town situated on the isthmus between Pontus and Meotian Lake (a large Kazantip Bay). It is important to note that, according to the evidence of Constantine Porphirogenitus (which was confirmed by archaeological data2), by the same defensive line and through the town Kimmerikon (Kibernik of Constantine) the final border of the Late Bosporian State ran [Const. Porph., De adm. Imp., 53] (See below).
     Opuk Mountain is one of the highest heights of Kerch Peninsula (184 m), it is based of limestone of Meotian Layer of not more than 50 m of thickness which is laid under by Sarmatian clays. From the ancient relief of the mountain not great structural-denudative top plateau of triangular form armored by stratums of limestone there only remained. It is situated on the altitude 160184 m. The slopes of mountain are undergone with ancient and new landslides which have complicated the building of the town and have stipulated the poor safety of the site in general. Artifacts show the activation of processes of landslide in the maritime part of Opuk in Historical Period after IVII centuries and before VIIIIX centuries AD. In the first half of the IV century AD on the stable surface of the top plateau there a citadel was erected (See below) which was well joined into surroundings and did not get seismic deformations. The sites of Early Medieval Period on Opuk were also well joined into modern landslide relief and on them there were not found traces of catastrophic motions. These facts make possible to specify the date of the latest catastrophic seismic-gravitate dislocations and to limit them by the IV century and III century AD just the time when ancient Kimmerikon actively existed. At that time in the Black Sea the so named Nymphaion transgression was taking place. As a result of
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transgression the processes of abrasion and caused by it processes of landslides on the maritime slope of the mountain. But all these complications of geological situation compensated by abundance of fresh water of condensate origin, building materials and fertility of lands in adjoining coastal steppe.
    First, who supposed that the remains of ancient urban fortifications situated on the slopes and top plateau of Opuk Mountain belong to Bosporian town of Kimmerikon was the famous Russian explorer and traveler Peter Simon Pallas (1741 1811), who was traveling in Taurika in the end of XVIII century. While detailed investigation and small excavations of antiquities of Opuk belong to the famous Russian explorer and collector, one of the founder of Kerch Museum of Antiquities Paul Augustine Dubrux (1773-1835). In collaboration with Dubrux investigations on Opuk mountain was undertaking the first director of Kerch Museum Jean Mare de Blaramberg (1772 1831). Very soon the passion of Russian archaeologists for antiquities of Pantikapaion and neighboring Bosporian towns together with increasing of investigations on the Asian side of Bosporus excluded Kimmerikon from attention of investigators nearly for a century. Only in 1927 expedition of Kerch Museum guided by director of museum Yu. Yu. Marti during only one field season has investigated the coast from Akra to Kimmerikon (the last is situated in the distance of 50 km westward of Kerch in the poor inhabited region of peninsula).
     The location of European Kimmerikon is traditionally localized on three maritime hills of the south-western slope of Opuk (western site) between the shore of the sea and Koyash salt Lake. As far as the date of foundation of Kimmerikon is not proved archaeologically, several archaeological objects situated on the slopes pretender to right to be called the earliest Kimmerikon. They are the mentioned above western site, early Greek settlement (Hill A) on the southeastern maritime slope and some other sites which will be described below. Dubrux for example, supposed that on Opuk Mountain there have existed just two different towns Kimmerikon and Kutaion , and the border between them has been a road running from Koyash Lake to the main ancient fountain of the mountain functioning in present time. Not great excavations undertaken on the western site by different investigators Dubrux (first half of XIX century), Yu. Yu. Marti (1928), I.B. Zeest and I.T. Kruglikova (1948-1951) and by the author of present paper (1989-1997) have revealed mainly the building remains of the first centuries AD while some finds of early artifacts in the cultural layers made possible to suppose that the settlement on the Western slope already existed in the V century ѻ (Kruglikova, 1952, P. 57; 1958, P. 222). The absence of Late Classical building remains I.B .Zeest explained by the fact that in conditions of mountain rocky country the cultural deposits belonging to the previous period of urban life could not to remain: probably they has been cleared away to the surface of the rock in the process of subsequent urban life (Zeest, 1949, P. 98), like, for example, in Pantikapaiton, Chersonesus and some other towns of Taurika.
     As it is possible to judge on the basis of historical topography of site, observations of previous investigators and results of recent explorations and small excavations, the fortification system of the site consisted of few elements. First of all, the special role played the relief, particularly the rocky ridges surrounding territory in the East and North-East and precipice shore on the South. The fortifications of Kimmerikon themselves were rated at repulse of attacks from land and sea: the territory of site was surrounded by walls with towers3 which were able to stand the siege of short duration even with the use of
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battering-rams. It is proved by constructive peculiarities of wall-fences which have 1,5 m width and filling by clay and small stones inner space. By special wall adjoining the south-western part of the site the port part of town between the sea and Koyash Salt Lake was also flanked. On one of maritime rocks the fire-place of light-house was hewed on the rocky surface. The separate walls were on the foot of the maritime hills of the site. In this case, the separate fortification of Acropolis hill and last ones played an additional defensive role, because the burst into the urban territory enemy found himself in depression between two fortified hills and rested on the steep slope of the mountain. Any traces of ramparts and ditches on the borders of the site were not found.
     In 19471951 archaeological investigations of antiquities of Opuk, especially of Kimmerikon site were undertaken by Kerch State Historical-Archaeological Museum (I.B. Zeest) and Department of Classical archaeology of Institute of archaeology4 (I.T. Kruglikova, D.B. Shelov) which on the first stage made possible to define more exactly the chronology of different archaeological objects situate on Opuk. By excavations of 19481950 by I.B. Zeest and I.T. Kruglikova were discovered the remains of dwelling and producing assemblage of II-III centuries AD situated on the terrace of one of the Maritime hills of the site. The assemblage was skillfully entered in natural relief of the hill. In the central part of assemblage a paved by limestone tiles yard was situated. Minimum three rooms covered by clay roofs adjoin the yard. From the East the, assemblage was limited by breast-wall. One of the rooms communicated with the yard by means of stairs built of hewed limestone blocks. In an other room there were found stone mortars, grinding-stone, working table and handle grain grater (Zeest, 1950, P. 97). It was a manufacturing room which communicated with the yard by means of door and window and with the other by door. By excavations there was uncovered granary situated in the room which was practically whole hewed in the rock. The big dimensions of grain-pits show the trade character of manufacturing. The assemblage has perished in the fire which I. B. Zeest dated by the III century AD (not earlier the middle of the century V.G.) and I. T. Kruglikova by the end of the III or beginning of the IV centuries AD.
     In 1950 1951 by the same expedition near the maritime precipice an other similar assemblage partly destroyed by the coastal abrasion was excavated. It represented an assemblage of the I-II centuries AD consisted of several rooms with grain-pits which was limited by powerful external wall. According to the peculiarities of relief, the uncovered part of assemblage ruined down to the sea. The excavations of an area adjoining the assemblage gave an exclusively important materials: in the sandy soil stretching under the cultural depositions of Hellenistic layers there were found numerous fragments of hand-made pottery of Late Bronze Epoch.
     In 19521991 the Opuk Mountain and its environs have passed into jurisdiction of Ministry of Defense of the USSR and investigations were stopped. They were re-newed by author only in 1989. In 1991 near flour-grinding workshop there was excavated an other assemblage adjoining the workshop above by the slope. It represents an yard paved with limestone tile also strengthened by breast-walls which limited an assemblage from North and East and semi cellar room with dug in pythoses of Bosporian production. The living room of which only rocky floor and eastern wall remained, was also partly hewed in the rock. The assemblage was also hardly ruined by the processes of abrasion and landslip. The fissure crawling away origin practically completely ruined the semi-cellar room with pythoses, a part of a yard, other constructions
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of assemblage ruined down the sea. Inhabitants of assemblage have made some attempts to stop this process by the means of pouring soil, but soon have had to leave the assemblage. Among the finds found during excavations of this assemblage there predominated fragment of storage amphorae of Bosporian and Southern Pontic production, fragments of red-lacquered and red-clay table pottery, fragments of typically bosporian hand-made kitchen pottery. In the whole, the assemblage can be dated by II first half of the IV centuries AD while the process of forming of fissure has started just very soon after the foundation of assemblage.
     The inhabitants of Kimmerikon of that times were fairly well off and the general economical level of live of population of Kimmerikon in II-III centuries AD probably did not differ from the level of the other ordinary Bosporian town like Ilurat and Tiritaka, together with neighboring Kutaion it represented one of the centers of Bosporian grain trade. The grain-pits of large dimension for grain keeping had a pear-shaped form with stony facing of the mouth which was covered by limestone tile. They were of 6.5 m depth with diameter of bottom 2,2 m and contained up to 76 cubic meters of grain while all pits of one assemblage contained 228 cubic meters. For example, in Pantikapaiton the maximum capaciousness of pits was only about 12-22 cubic meters. That is why it is possible to underline the trade character of grain producing in Kimmerikon in the I - beginning of the IV centuries AD. The find of pithos containing the remains of salted fish in one of the rooms, pyramidal plummets, fragments limewater like coating found in cultural deposits show that grain production was not only one sphere of economic activity of inhabitants.
     The problem of localization of Early Greek Kimmerikon from which the mastering of environs of Opuk had started, has got an actuality in the light of debated problem of Kimmerikon membership in I Athenian Naval Alliance.
     Some scholars tried to connect the remains of polis infrastructure of Kimmerikon of the VI-V centuries with remains of early Greek settlement at the Hill A (which I am going to describe a few lines below) supposing that later on it was moved to the place of Western site but this supposition contradict with real archaeological and geological situation on Opuk Mountain.
     In 1950 on the south-eastern maritime slope of mountain, on the distance of more then 1,5 km eastward of Western site Kimmerikon, the were found building remains and cultural deposits of early Greek settlement. During excavations there were uncovered the remains of large dwelling assemblage situated on the narrow maritime terrace. The hill called by investigators as hill A on which foot the settlement is situated, represents the stable rock of degraded mountain which lies on the landslide south-eastern maritime slope of the mountain. The assemblage has an unusual planning consisting of four separate isolated rooms with personal outlet to the door-lying paved yard. The rooms are attached to the common blank wall and one of the rooms was of household purpose. Three other rooms of small dimension had floors slightly deepened into the ground. All rooms had door-ways with the traces of fastening wooden doors. In two rooms fire-places were built of lime stone tiles erected on verges. In the third room the fire was kindling just on the floor and this fact is testified by a spot of fired clay in the center of the room. The grain pits with covered with clay walls and deepened into the virgin rock were met in two rooms. In the yard of assemblage there were situated objects of household small annex, dust-hole covered with limestone tile and stone box built of limestone blocks erected on verges etc.
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The assemblage has taken two building periods and few stages of pouring of floors. The found artifacts are common for the ordinary Bosporian towns of that period numerous fragments of storage or transport amphorae, mainly of Chian production, fragments of black-lacquered kylikes, lekythoi and other kind of vessels, terracota figurines, handmade pottery, bones of small cattle, leaves of mollusks etc. The artifacts permitted to date the settlement by the end of the VI beginning of the IV centuries . The cultural deposits of the settlement cover the remains of the settlement of the Epoch of Late Bronze with mud-huts deepened into the virgin loamy soil. The settlements are separated with chronological period about 500 years.
     The dwelling assemblage was erected in the end of the VI century BC5 and in the V century here were undertaken some reconstruction works: the floors were heightened, new fire-places and grain-pits were built and the pavement was repaired.
     Investigator underlined singularities of planning of the assemblage (Kruglikova, 1952, P. 64). S. D. Kryzhitskiy characterizing this building as an assemblage of blocking houses of megaron type, writes that this type of houses can be hardly relate to category of the most typical Greek schemes. But nether-the-less, the type of <collective> farmhouses (ancient Torik) revives in the Northern Black Sea Littoral at Hellenistic Period, while megaron type but in developed variations was characteristic for Asia Minor during the whole Period of Antiquity (Kryzhitskiy, 1993, P. 45 46). The settlement perished in the beginning of the IV century , either as result of earthquake or some changes of political situation caused by war between ancient Feodosia and Bosporus (Kruglikova, 1958, P. 243). The first explanation, on my point of view, is more acceptable: I. T. Kruglikova was the first who noticed that the slope surface of mountain was more plane in ancient times but its relief has changed in the result of earthquake and influence of water; there have formed new ravines, the part of slope including the biggest part of settlement of the VI-IV centuries ѻ moved apart and crashed down the sea, and as a result the rest territory between sea and hill at present time presents the virgin soil turned out as a result of splitting off and falling of soil (Kruglikova, 1958, P. 234).
     Similar movements of soil are not sole on that section of the slope they take place even at present time6. On the basis of our excavations on the Northern periphery of the site we can state that the deposits of the Late Bronze Epoch stretch under the cultural layer of early Greek settlement before its foundation were covered with sterile alluvium loamy soil of 0,3-0,5 m thickness. Moreover, the look micro relief of terrace is still changing under influence of new landslides and process of abrasion.
     The small dimensions of the settlement did not allow investigator to recognize in it the early Kimmerikon. But observations of surroundings of it by I. T. Kruglikova and later by the author provided important result the inexpressive remains of buildings, areas of ruined cultural layers, separate pits of the VI V centuries were met on the scaled territory of the maritime Southern slope of the mountain. Modern surface of some terraces and depressions shows that landslide processes took place there recently and the slope is in temporary stable condition. In the chaos of stones of the Southern slope at some sections of it near settlement there are visible fragments of masonry and buildings including fragment of powerful wall of 2,5 m width built of limestone blocks about 1,0 and more all disfigured by landslips. Some of these remains could belong either to fortifications of Early Kimmerikon, or to fortifications of the maritime part of fortress of the IV-VI centuries AD (See below). Never-the-less,
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fragments of amphorae and other pottery of both period were found on the modern surface of stone chaos, in alluvium soil of coastal recipices and stony beaches. Moreover, the fragments of amphorae of the second quarter of the VI V centuries and of the first centuries AD were met in numerous quantity on surface on different sections of this slope.
     The observations carried out by the author revealed the anthropogene terraces on the northern more stable slope of the mountain (under citadel see below) with the remains of breast-wall and dwellings also inhabited from the edge of the VI century , there were also found artifacts dated from the edge of VI-V centuries to the Early Medieval Period. Moreover, on the rest sections of maritime there were also found remains of small archaeological objects which gave artifacts of the VI-V centuries , of Hellenistic Period and first centuries AD. All these facts show that as initially and later on apart from territories of the Western site and settlement at Hill A there were mastered all slopes of mountain.
     So, the problem of precise localization of early polis although remains opened for debates and further single-minded excavations but at present time it has got some clearness: as we can see, the concrete pra-Kimmerikon has not existed as an urban unity which later was moved to the other slope of mountain, while the polis Kimmerikon paradoxically existed. It is known that in Antiquity, the existence of urban center was not the determining factor of polis: such definition of polis put first and foremost one but not most important peculiarity of this social organism: rather small territory and urban center united around it. The first peculiarity is not determining one and it is derivative from more important characteristics of polis, the other is incorrect. This proves the example of two most famous poleis of Greece. In Attica, for example, there were not only one but two urban centers (Athens), Sparta has no urban center at all it represented the society of five villages. The same system of settling we see in Tarentum. On the whole in Greece there were widely spread political institutions which have no own urban centers but taken as polies as by their own citizens and other Hellens too. Probably, same political institutions were more typical in the Archaic Epoch, to this testifies Phukididus [1,5,1 ] but more wide they were spread and later up to the first centuries AD. At any case Pausanius knows political formations devoid of urban centers but having polis status as we can understand from his description of Panoneum [X, 4] which represented itself a village situated along mountain stream (Greece in Antiquity, I, 1983, P. 10-11).
     At present time we can surely note that Kimmerikon also has not formed the regular urban structure. This fact can be explained by different reasons, and first of all, by complicated geological structure of mountain: in its landslide relief there are fixed up minimum (V.G.) three catastrophic events. First was great and took part in geological time, probably in Late Pleistocene. Other events took part not long ago in Historical Time. With them the activation of great Late Pleistocene maritime landslide and formation of a new ditch in its head part are connected (Klukin, 1995, P. 112 117). The date of this activation testify deformation of the shore and archaeological sites, including settlement Hill A, situated there. These deformations could cause the moving of cultural deposits to the sea or burying of these layers by landslide soil. During the time of existence of Bosporian State it, as far as Opuk mountain, underwent earthquakes for several times (Vinokurov, Nikonov, 1999, Tolstikov, 1999, Nikonov, 2001). Some of them, like earthquake of 63 were disastrous, demolishing complete Bosporian towns (Pontus has absorbed near Meotis towns Pyrrha and Antissa Plin.,
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NH, II, 206, situated in the distance of few dozen km off Opuk) and devastating environments. To antiquities of Opuk having not ordinary geological structure the consequences of earthquakes were not less destructive. Probably, in the time of Strabo the European Kimmerikon either could be still lying in ruins or it only started to rehabilitate itself after earthquake of 63 . Probably it was a reason of contamination of two different towns with the similar names and poor knowledge of geographers of that time. The presence on top plateau on Opuk Mountain with precipice edges which make it inaccessible, of a shelter (and later citadel) probably permitted on some stages of its development to avoid the erection of fortifications round official center of town. And, at last, the probably insignificant division of labor among first citizen of Kimmerikon mainly dealing with agriculture and trade transporting do not contradict with possible unity of group of farm-houses and some public objects under the name polis Kimmerikon.
     So, we should realise polis Kimmerikon and later Bosporian town Kimmerikon as the whole assemblage of sites situated on the slopes of mountain. The fact that Kimmerikon was really a town and at period of independence from dynasty of Spartokids was really polis is proved by numerous of unfortified rural settlements situated round the mountain, on the whole existed in the V-III centuries . For these settlement Opuk Mountain and Kimmerikon were the best and the only one refugium in the case of danger the presence of early cultural deposits covered by late dust deposits in the ash hill near citadel insure the presence of an early shelter of the top of mountain. Here it is necessary to note that singular rural settlements in the maritime environs of Opuk have appeared practically simultaneously with settlement at Hill A and they leaned upon this shelter.
     So, we can suppose that the process of urban building on Opuk Mountain in a large measure depended on concrete geological conditions which did not permit to create there habitual regular urban planning. These conditions probably promoted the creation of specific for Bosporus form of urban institution which, never-the-less was not unique in Antiquity.
     The observation of this territory have shown that there had been several areas of active agricultural use. Besides adjoining to Koyash salt Lake land there was actively mastered the hollow of Kyrkkoyash (continental) Salt Lake with fertile lands. There by observations of the author were found the remains of several rural unfortified settlements of the IV - II centuries . The biggest of them consisted of minimum 5 separate buildings divided by space about 50 m. The ruins stony basements of dwellings are still visible on the modern surface. The farm-houses were, probably, not large, about two-three rooms. On the surface there were found numerous fragments of amphorae (including stamped samples) of the majority leading Hellenistic centers of Pont-us and Asia Minor - the material common to all bosporian sites of that period. Also there were well represented an ordinary wheel-thrown and hand-made pottery. The lands of environs of Koyash and Kyrkkoyash Lakes limited on the North by hill edge was probably the nearest chora of Kimmerikon of the IV-II centuries . At that period there were also mastered distant lands adjoining the eastern bank of Uzunlar Lake which probably was the border of Kimmerikon chora in the West and the lands deeper in steppes.
     There is no doubt that join of Kimmerikon to the State of Spartokids in the end of the V century (about 406 ) stimulated the mastering of distant environs of Opuk Mountain the process of wide mastering of rural territory of Bosporus is characteristic to the IV century between 410-
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406 the sharp change of foreign policy of Early Spartokids took place after a period of some confrontation Pantikapaion and its tyrants conclude the alliance with Athens (Blavatskaya, 1959, P. 7172) and since that time Bosporus starts the wide and active grain trade which is well illustrated by literary sources. In the light of Bosporus expansion against still independent Feodosia which was started by Satyros I and participation of Heracleia in conflict (Rostovzev, 1925, P. 130 132; Gaydukevich, 1949, P. 215; Shelov, 1950, P. 173; Blavatskiy, 1981, P. 2122; Shelov-Kovedyaev, 1985, P. 118-119 etc.), Kimmerikon with its mooting and water springs besides agricultural importance gained a strategic value.
     The majority of rural settlements of Kimmerikon chora occur till the middle second half of the III centuries , only few of them outlast the edge of the III and II centuries. The process of development and decline of rural settlements of Kimmerikon chora does dot differ from the evolution of the same sites of Bosporian chora. Up to I century the majority of rural settlements near Opuk mountain stopped their existence and population concentrated on the territory of mountain mastering its slopes. At this period Kimmerikon do not distinguish with its economic activity the layers and artifacts of the end of the II I centuries are weak and not numerous. Probably the town has hardly suffered from earthquake of 63 while at Mithradates and Post-Mithradates Period when geopolitical influence spread on the whole Taurika Kimmerikon lost its strategic importance and was for a long time restoring and developing as an ordinary agricultural center and its highest flourishing in this role falls at the I-III centuries AD the quantity of rural settlements of its chora do not increase while it is noticeable a significant rustication of town's life probably at that time some changes of land-tenure take place.
     In the middle of the III century AD the barbarian tribes (Sarmatians, Alans, Ancient Germans etc. Jordanis, Getica, 28, 117) settled on the Azov Littoral. So named Scythian wars (Remennikov, 1954, P.89-120) concerned Bosporus are usually connected with these tribes. Zosimus notes that the legal dynasty stopped on Bosporus and unworthy people came to power (co-reign of Pharsanzes and Reskouporis V, see: Golenko, 1978, P. 93, note 38). Bosporus which was probably in alliance relations with barbarians had to place its fleet in their disposal for undertaking robber campaigns of the territory of Roman possession in Asia Minor (Zosimus, I, 31, 32).
     If after momentary invasions of barbarian tribes in 260270-ies AD the Kimmerikon site on the western slope (western site) practically stopped its existence as a town, meanwhile the life on the terraced northern slope and on top plateau does on. After the defeat of Phophorsus in the battle with Chersonesus, Kimmerikon (now top plateau and northern slope) again becomes a frontier town on the Western borders of Bosporus (Kruglikova, 1966, P. 1819; Golenko, 1999). At that time also was undertaken a complete reconstruction of top citadel of Kimmerikon (Golenko, 1999) which completely coincide with similar works on Uzunlar (Asander's) rampart which again becomes the western border of the State (Lantzov, Golenko, 1999, P. 177181). The rest part of Bosporian barbarian army having been released from captivity by Chersonesians themselves (Const. Porph. De adm. Imp., LIII, 195) was settled as federats on the frontier lands (Yurochkin, 2001, P. 131132) to which on the South-Western border of Bosporus besides Kimmerikon and its chora were reckoned the lands of neighbor Kutaion. This fact is testified by the finds from necropolis of Djurga-Oba near Kutaion (Ermolin, Yurochkin, 2002).
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     The top citadel of Kimmerikon is one of the best preserved site of Opuk Mountain. The safety of fortress and elements of its defensive system was much better at the time when it was visited by P.Dubrux (Dubrux, 1858, P. 6977) and I. Blaramberg and it is well testified by descriptions and graphical materials carried out by them. We do not exactly know in what condition has been citadel at the time of the visit of expedition of Yu. Yu. Marti in 1927 (Marti, 1928, P. 103115) and what were losses which the site suffered in the Second World War, but since the time of excavation of I. B. Zeest and I. T. Kruglikova the safety of the site practically did not changed7. Citadel is situated on the distance about a little bit more then 2 km North-Eastward of site of Kimmerikon and it is erected on the North-Eastern brink of top plateau on the altitude 170-165 m above the level of the sea. The triangular plateau armoured by limestone is impregnable from all sides the height of its precipices is 15-40 . This fortress has minimum five lines of defense: first of all, precipices of plateau, preserved ditch-scarp, προτειχιζμα, outer curtains and a large bastion-tower in the North-Western part of fortress which, probably, represents the fortress citadel or donjon. Into fortification system of top citadel are also included the remains of fortifications pushed of the territory of citadel and adjoining the precipices of plateau. They are erected on the watershed of the Eastern slope of Opuk but represent the impact assemblage. The most monumental is the defensive wall running by watershed of the Eastern slope from the North-Eastern precipice of plateau to the sea coast to the distance of 650 , the traces of its destroyed part used for stone extraction by inhabitant of Opuk village is visible in micro relief on the distance of 300m more. The Southern maritime extremity of the wall runs to the large rock with vertical walls of 515 m height while its maritime extremity is ruined by landslides. The wall were erected of large stones (about 1,6x1,0x0,5 m) which formed two armours filled in with stones and loam. The width of it oscillates from 2,9 to 3,5 m. On all its length the wall was strengthened by towers (ruined) which were attached (or hewed in) to the rocks included into the body of the wall. The section of this wall situated near the biggest rock (tower by Dubrux) was excavated by author. In deposit near the wall there were found not numerous fragments of amphorae of the III-V? centuries AD. Probably the remains of that wall were the basement of less powerful wall with adobe elements of construction.
     The citadel itself represents a rectangular fortress stretched along the Eastern precipice of plateau. The Western outer curtain preserved practically on all its length about 176 m. The wall of curtain surpasses the modern surface on 0.5 1,4 m and more. On it the traces of two small towers remained (5,07,0 x 5,07,0 m). They were built of large blocks of limestone and situated on the distance 40 m from each other. The section of inner curtain divides the territory of citadel into two parts, in the place of its junction with the outer curtain there visible the remains of an other tower, the eastern extremity of the inner wall was also strengthened by tower 6,07,0 x 6,07,0 m. At present time the complete square of citadel is 1,45 hectares. One of the sections of the western outer curtain was excavated by author. The curtain of 2,602,80 m width is built of big slightly worked up blocks of limestone which were skilfull adjusted one to an other, the space between the outer armours of the wall was filled in with stones and loam soil. The curtain was erected in traditional for the ordinary Bosporian towns mode. The wall remained on the height of 2,6 m. It was built of the leveled surface of virgin rock and artificial pouring of limestone crumb, and, probably, the remains of the previous curtain (distinguishes by the slightly
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different manner of masonry). On the distance of 4,2 m near the curtain the remains of προτειχιζμα were excavated. It was built of limestone on the loamy substruction. It remained on the height of about 1,0 m and width of 0,8 m. Behind proteichisma the ditch-scarp is situated. On the North the curtain completes with a large bastion of dimensions 20,3 x 23,5 m, with the traces of inner building construction. Probably the Southern, opposite, extremity of curtain has been strengthened by tower of more modest dimensions but it was either ruined by Tatars. The traces of eastern and southern curtains were not found, probably the absence of them were compensated with the height of precipices.
     To the inner face of curtain the assemblage of barracks sides with. It is stretch along the fortress wall and is separated from it by the free space of 1,11,2 m width where probably the stairs to the wall were situated. The assemblage represents the building of casemate type with numerous separate rooms. Three rooms of barracks were excavated by author. The barracks have two common walls: one wall faced to curtain and the opposite one to the street running along barracks and curtain. The walls forming the rooms by their extremities attach perpendicularly to these common walls dividing assemblage into several isolated sections. Two excavated rooms have a common entrance which just at threshold transforms into two entrances to each room. The same constructive mode was used in the towers of Kutlak fortress in the distant Bosporian border near Sudak. The walls of 0,8 m width remained on the height up to 1,65 m. On the floor of one room a kiln was built and round it the fragments of amphora (red-clay, with wide mouth, IVVI c. AD), probably fallen from the probable second floor, was dispersed. Near the mouth of kiln the diorite grain grater was found.
     Before excavation of curtain, inner buildings of citadel and its ash-hill (see below) the dating of citadel (to say correct, its last constructive period) was approximate and often subjective: the first investigators of Opuk P. Dubrux and I. Blaramberg dated it by the time of Antiquity in general; Yu.Yu. Marti be Late Hellenistic Period; ?.B. Zeest by the beginning of present era; I.T. Kruglikova by the first centuries AD. The last point of view confirmed in Russian and Ukrainian science (among the latest publications, See: Gorlov, Lopanov, 1997, P. 141). While dating the remains of citadel the scholars usually le ant upon casual finds from its territory and on analysis of historical situation in supposition nal period of foundation of that fortification.
     For all these, according to active fortification activity of Asander to the time of his reign the preference was usually given. The citadel was undoubtedly built on the remains of previous fortress or shelter in period not earlier then the first half of the IV century AD. Just on that period falls the final stage of wars between Bosporus and Chersonesus which started in the end of the HI century AD. In these wars Kimmerikon has played his concrete role connected with the gradual, but quick changes of Bosporian borders. This period of history of both States is poorly illustrated by literary sources. The main source in this question remains Chapter 53 of Constantine Porphirogenitus' study De ad-ministrando imperio. The historical reality of events described in this literary source is still debatable among some scholars. Constantine informs us about three war between Chersonesus and Bosporus. First one take place at the reign of Emperor Diocletianus about 291 -292 AD (Charmatta, 1967, P. 204 f); the second one burst out after joint military actions of Romans and Chersonesians at Ister in the second decade of the IV century AD. In locality Kafa (modern and ancient Feodosia) the Bosporian army was defeated and there the border landmarks were erected marking a new border of Bosporian State.
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     The third war took place not earlier then 336 . In the result of the next defeat of Bosporians the border of Bosporian possession on Kerch peninsula again was moved from Kafa and established at Kibernik (Kimmerikon) where the border landmarks were erected. With the events of this final Bosporus-Chersonesus' war the cardinal reconstruction of citadel on the top plateau and erection of monumental wall on the watershed of the Eastern slope of Opuk were connected (Golenko, 1999). In period of not early then the first half of the IV century AD and not in the reign of Bosporian king Asander as it was supposed before, to the final reconstruction was subjected not only citadel of Kimmerikon and its defensive wall, but Uzunlar rampart and ditch. These two fortifications together for many centuries formed an entity frontier system defending the native lands of Bosporus (Lantzov, Golenko, 1999). The ditch was deepened and the rampart poured some more. Here it is necessary to note that the choice of Uzunlar rampart flanked by Kimmerikon on the sea coast was not casual after the defeat to Bosporus were specially left the territory subjected to Bosporus on the eve of its territorial expansion.
     The find of runar inscription under the walls of Kimmerikon' citadel8 allow to suppose that the guard of the border was carried by barbarians-federates from the number of ancient Gentian tribes settled on the coast of Meotis and Bosporus and involved into conflicts between Bosporus and Chersonesus (Golenko, Yurochkin and others, 1999, P. 7797).
     Important artifacts dating the main stages of development of shelter-fortress-citadel on the top plateau of Opuk Mountain were found during excavations of ash-hill of citadel which have been undertaken by the author twice9 on different areas of this object, and excavations of dust deposits formed under the outer face of western curtain of citadel.
     According to the excavated artifacts, the life on the territory of plateau and forming of dust deposits lasted continuously with different degree of activity since the edge of the VI and V centuries till the first half of the VI century AD. The dust deposits under the western outer curtain of citadel were formed during the final stage of its existence from the first half of the IV to the first half of the VI centuries AD.
     The life on citadel continued even after the appearance in the Crimea of Huns who in the edge of IV and V centuries inhabited the territories between Chersonesus and Bosporus.
     After the demolition of citadel in the first third of the VI century AD (conflict between Huns and Byzantine) the life in Kimmerikon and in its environs was gradually coming to standstill, probably there still existed some separate villages or single dwellings hidden in the rocks but from the point of view of historical demography the demolition of citadel have caused the serious catastrophic consequences. After annexation of Bosporian lands by Byzantine Empire ant the reign of Justinianus, the citadel was not restored because it probably has lost its previous importance as frontier town.
     After appearance in the Crimea and on Opuk Mountain of carriers of Saltovo-Mayatskaya Culture (of Khazar Kaganat) the infrastructure of Opuk cardinally changed what was causes by different traditions and economical development of new population. The life in citadel stops. In 19891990 on the southern slope of Opuk Mountain there was found by the author large early Medieval settlement one of the biggest settlement of Saltovo-Mayatskaya Culture on the Kerch Peninsula. To the settlement separate farmhouses scattered in the nearest small bays and depressions of the maritime slope were neighboring. The similar small separate dwellings appeared and on the site of Kimmerikon.
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     The open territories of the northern slope of mountain (terraced) were less inhabited by new population. Moreover, in the steppe space of environs of Kimmerikon there was found only one settlement of this culture - settlement near Uzunlar Lake, and it also leant upon natural fortification of Mountain Konchek situated there.
    The settlement mentioned above is situated in the hollow-like valley of the southern maritime slope of Opuk. The dwellings of settlement are dispersed on the square of 14 hectares on the bottom of the hollow, its slopes and separate terraces of adjoining edges. The settlement is well sheltered by rocky edges and is practically indiscernible in complicated relief. In the hollow there are visible in micro relief the remains of minimum 25 separate farmhouses of practically similar planning. Each farmhouse consisted of adjoining to each other dwellings (two or three) and attached buildings of household needs. Not large rectangular personal plots of houses were protected by stone fences one wall of which was usually facing at the road crossing the hollow (probably existed from the time of Antiquity) and running to fountain.
   On the slopes of terraces there were found remains of numerous building of household purposes. Most of them are the circular buildings erected from stones of limestone with the usage of elements of natural relief. To some buildings small rectangular rooms are attached. These constructions probably represent sheep-fold and adjoining stalls.
    By author and A. Djanov (Sudak Museum-Preserve) there was excavated a farmhouse situated in the central part of the hollow (Golenko, Djanov, 2002). It represented a rectangular building consisted of two large rooms (of 56 and 31 sq. m) deepened into ground. To the building was attached annex for domestic needs. The walls of the building (of 0.70-1,0 m width) remained on the height up to 0.8 m.
     In the cultural deposits of the farmhouse were met not numerous but representative artifacts: fragments of early medieval pythoses and amphorae, oinochoai, typical kitchen pottery, clay tile etc. On the whole, the assemblage of pottery is typical for site of Khazar Epoch situated on the Kerch Peninsula which can be dated by the second quarter of the IX century. In the IX century in settlements of Saltovo-Mayatskaya Culture in the Crimea starts the building of Christian churches and the changes of burial rites are fixed up (Baranov, 1990, P. 135-139). Up to the beginning of the X century in cultural and religious aspects the population have been more drawn towards Byzantine Empire then to Khazar Kaganat. Here, it is important to note that during exploration of the territory of settlement there were found the remains of building by its configuration resembling single nave basilica. The stones of the building lie on the modern surface. The settlement of Saltovo-Mayatskaya culture discontinue in the second quarter of the X century. In subsequent time up to time of arrival of Tatar villages on the foot of Opuk mountain the live stops there.
Footnotes
  1. Till present time this Periples remains very debatable: some scholars date it by V-VI centuries AD, others to more early period probably the evidences of it originate from Periples of Menippes (? AD) or from Arrian himself.
  2. See Lantzov, Golenko, 1999; Golenko, 1999.
  3. The biggest part of them was pull down in the end of XIX and beginning of the XX centuries, part of them remained visible on the modem surface. The complete plan of the city walls before their destruction was made by Dubrux and Blaramberg.
  4. At that time Institute of History of Material Culture of Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow.
  5. Recently there was made an attempt to rise the date of foundation of Kimmerion to more late time beginning of the V century , but the supposed date is very debatable.
  6. The whole body of mountain lies on virgin clay and undergoes landslips. In 1991, 1997 and 2003 the author of present paper was an eye-witness of small landslides on the same slope covering territory of several hudreds of sq.m.
  7. The description of antiquities of Opuk carried out by P. Dubrux show that up to the first half of XIX century the site has been used by Tatars for stone extraction, moreover, in 1990 some destruction were made by military builders there. Since 1997 on Opuk Mountain the National Preserve is functioning.
  8. The find of so unique for Noth Black sea littoral epigraphic document has risen to non-adequate reaction verging on (compair for example: Shalyga, 2000).
  9. First in collaboration with Yu.V. Gorlov.
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6 2010
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