среда, 28 апреля 2010 г.

Rostov Region: the legacy of ancient Tanais

Древний город Танаис.Башня
«Древний город Танаис.Башня» на Яндекс.Фотках

Digging season on the site of the ancient town of Tanais came to a close in Rostov Region in Southern Russia. Tanais’ ruins were traced by archaeologist Ivan Stempkovsky 35 kilometers from Rostov-on-Don in 1823.

Stempkovsky’s expedition and the subsequent ones achieved insignificant results. In 1955 an expedition led by Dmitry Shelov made yet another attempt to find the town and 4 years later the settlement and the burial mound were declared a national reserve. And 1961 saw the opening of Russia’s largest archaeological reserve on more than 3 thousand hectares.


“Tanais is still a mystery, though the scientists have come closest to solving it now, — Valery Chesnok, a reserve employee, says. – The town existed for nearly 800 years and witnessed a golden age in economy and culture. The excavations produced a variety of treasures, including household items, clothing, weapons, decorations and ancient letters. Some read: “There is a town in the estuary of the Tanais River, for a traveler entering it Europe is on the left and Asia is on the right”. Ancient Tanais was thus at the juncture of antique and nomadic cultures. Every new find gets us closer to the antiquity”.

Каменные изваяния
«Каменные изваяния» на Яндекс.Фотках

Tanais was founded in the 3rd century BC and over a short period of time grew into a major trading center between the Greeks and nomadic tribes who dwelled in the steppes north of the Black Sea. In 237 AD the town was destroyed by the Goths (Germanic people who lived in 2-9th cc.) but 140 years later was rebuilt by the Sarmatians. Ancient Tanais ceased to exist in the 5th century having witnessed a heyday and then a decline.

Tanais consisted of stone structures with traditionally Greek elements of architecture and ceramic amphoras against the “silent burial mounds of the Don”. According to Valery Chesnok, the main achievement of this season is the unearthing of paved lanes leading to the southern wall. This suggests the existence of a gate through which residents and guests went in. When found the gate will provide scientists with yet a better vision of town planning in Tanais and a map of defensive fortifications.

Source:The Voice of Russia

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