Подводная археология, публикации

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Underwater archaeological explorations along the Crimean south coast

Sergey Zelenko,
Kiev University

Since 1991 the Underwater Archaeology Research and Training Center of Kiev University have been conducting underwater explorations on the shelf of the Crimean south coast between the modem cities of Yalta and Alushta. Along this section of the coast there were ancient settlements (Lampas, Charax, Aluston, Gurzuvity, Partenit) which are known to us through written sources and maps and also through archaeological prospection and excavation. Until recently, underwater prospection along the Crimean south coast had not been carried out.

During the underwater survey we use the following technique: band searching with bottom observation along ropes stretched at a distance of one meter. Sectors that lie far away from the coast are marked by buoys, and divers use compasses or go along a marked rope. Their movement is monitored by using attached signal buoys. While on the route, bottom observation and depth measurement are carried out. Sites of significant findings are marked with buoys and plotted using a theodolite.

Along the investigated part of the coast a substantial accumulation of archaeological material was discovered only near Cape Plaka. It is situated at a depth of б -12 meters on the submerged coastal slope. The materials discovered are the main categories of ceramics typical for land settlement. The toes of Panticapaeum and Heraclea amphorae of the 4th and 3th centuries ВС are the earliest archaeological materials. Later materials are represented by Medieval amphorae of the 12th and 14th centuries AD and also by glazed vessels of the 15th and 16th centuries AD. In the course of five years we have amassed a considerable collection of amphorae of different types. Ninety five percent of all finds consist of imported ware, indicating widespread trade relations and of the settlement.

On the eastern side of Cape Plaka in a reef region at a depth of 10 meters an accumulation of large fragments of amphorae of the same type was discovered. Most of these fragments can be fitted to whole vessels. At the same site whole amphorae and leaden sheets of the 7th century AD were also found. All these materials indicate a shipwreck site. The sector near the Adalary rocks to the southwest of Cape Aju-Dagh is of special interest. An unusual wind regime on the southern side of the main ridge of the Crimean mountains, and complicated hydrologic situations near the rocks makes this area especially dangerous for coastal navigation. Anchors, numerous fragments of antique and Medieval ceramics (4th century ВС -15th century AD) were found during inspection. A significant number of intact vessels among the finds and their location indicate multiple wrecks. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to determine the exact number of wrecks. According to preliminary estimates there might be 5 - 6 ships sunken in this area.

Analysis of the finds allows us to define more precisely the geographical borders and chronological periods of settlements that were known from archaeological prospection, and provide an opportunity to resolve the issue of the location of ancient Lampas. The fact of the founding of the settlement was mentioned in the 2nd century ВС by pseudo-Scymnus of Chios. Later it is mentioned in "Periplus Ponti Euxini" by Ps.-Arrian in the 2nd century AD, and subsequently in Periplus Anon. (5th - 6th centuries AD)