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Greek sarcophagus from 6th century BC found near Crimea’s Kerch


A tomb created during the first wave of Greek colonization of Crimea, in the second half of the 6th century BC, was found by archaeologists at Myrmekion, an ancient Greek colony near the city of Kerch.

Greek sarcophagus from 6th century BC found near Crimea’s Kerch
The small sarcophagus, measuring 70 by 40 centimetres, unfortunately turned out to be empty
[Credit: Myrmekion Expedition of the State Hermitage Museum]
"While excavating the ancient city of Myrmekion near Kerch two years ago we came across a new necropolis. This year, we discovered new burial sites, very ancient and dated second half of the 6th century BC, or the period of the first wave of Greek colonization of the Crimean Peninsula. This is a very rare discovery," said the head of the Myrmekion expedition, a State Hermitage Museum official Alexander Butyagin.


He said that to date, only about ten ancient Greek tombs of this period have been found in Crimea. Most of the discoveries were made prior to 1917. So far, archaeologists opened one small tomb, measuring 70 by 40 centimetres, which turned out to be empty.

"Two things are unusual about it: first of all, it is very unusual for its time, because it was cut from a whole piece of stone, not made of stone tiles. Secondly, to our surprise, it contained nothing. The tomb was definitely not robbed, because it had been securely sealed with a stone slab. This came as a surprise to us, this is the first time we see anything of this kind," the scientist said.


Presumably, the tomb was either of symbolic nature or contained ashes, he said. Scientists will try to find out whether anything of this kind has ever been unearthed at other ancient Greek sites of this period.

Myrmekion is an ancient city founded by Ionians in the middle of the 6th century BC along the shore of the Kerch Strait and located several kilometers away from another ancient city, Panticapaeum (now cape Karantinny within the Kerch city limit). Since 1999, the site is being excavated by the Myrmekion archaeological expedition of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum.

Source: TASS [August 18, 2019]

TANN

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