(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists presented the results of a study of two rare metal rings that were found near Anapa during excavations of the Usatov Balka-3 monument.
One of them depicted a racing chariot with a charioteer who controlled two horses, the other depicted a Celtic warrior with a shield, brandishing a sword. The finds date back to the 4th-3rd centuries BC. This is reported in an article published in the journal Archaeological News.
On the outskirts of the farm Usatov Balka, located in the suburbs of Anapa, there is an archaeological complex of the same name. Although this area was surveyed for the first time back in the 1970s and 1980s, security and rescue excavations were carried out on it in the run-up to the 2014 Olympic Games.
Archaeologists have discovered two settlements here – Usatova Balka-3 and Usatova Balka-4. During the excavations of these monuments, scientists examined the cultural layers dating back to the 6th century BC – the 10th century AD (the main materials date back to the 5th-4th centuries BC).
In addition to the remains of settlements, the researchers discovered earth burials of the 8th-6th centuries BC and 1st-3rd centuries AD, as well as several burials of the Bronze Age.
Among the finds from these sites, two hoards of Bosporan coins have already been published, which were excavated at the settlement of Usatova Balka-3.
Maxim Kovalenko from the Department of State Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites of the Administration of the Krasnodar Territory and independent researcher Alexander Kruglov studied two rings found during excavations at the Usatov Balka-3 settlement.
The first artifact is a bronze ring-seal 20 mm in diameter with a protruding shield depicting a chariot rushing to the right with a poorly distinguishable wheel. Judging by the typology of this artifact and the bronze Panticapaeum coins found in the cultural layer, it dates from the end of the 4th-3rd centuries BC.
The researchers noted that the chariot was drawn by a pair of horses and driven by a standing charioteer who appeared to be wearing a beard. In the hands of this man are the reins and the whip.
Scientists noted that the image on the ring can hardly be interpreted as a war or hunting chariot. Although chariots and charioteers are a fairly stable subject, which is known from seal rings, intaglios, coins and reliefs, a dynamic image is quite rare. The researchers noted that interpreting this plot is difficult. Perhaps this is an image of a chariot race or a funeral ritual.
The second ring is a massive piece of iron with a diameter of 35 millimeters, on the shield of which there is a bronze relief insert. This find, according to scientists, dates back to the last third of the 4th – the first third of the 3rd century BC.
The relief inset of this ring depicts the figure of a warrior with a shield brandishing a sword. Its oval thyreos shield completely covers the shoulder, chest and body below the knees. In the background of the figure there is also a hanging sword in a scabbard.
When examining a human head, a large eye, nose, massive chin or beard, as well as long hair are visible. Scientists noted that such an image according to Diodorus Siculus fully corresponds to the description of the appearance of the Celts (Gauls). Archaeologists have emphasized
Scientists have concluded that the question of who these rings could belong to remains open for discussion. This is explained by the fact that the ethnic composition of the settlement Usatova Balka-3 is not clear.
The plots depicted are rare in the Northern Black Sea region and may reflect the status and taste of their barbarian owners or Hellenic colonists. In addition, the image of a Celtic warrior on the second ring, according to researchers, provides new material for discussing the role of mercenaries in the Bosporus.
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