Room 6. Eastern Europe and Ancient World (VI-III centuries B.C.)

The room’s architecture reproduces the stepped vault of the crypt from the royal mound of Kul’-Oba excavated in the Crimea in the XIX century. Painted over the entrance is a raised frieze of a vase from another mound of Chertomlyk; the clothes, headdresses and hair cuts of Scythian warriors are well seen. The images of mounted warriors and nomad’s tents on the room’s walls are copied from Kerch crypts of the first centuries A.D. where the Sarmatian nobility were buried.

case 1
In the third century B.C. a powerful alliance of nomadic tribes, Sarmatians, enters the historic arena in the steppes of Northern Black Sea Coast region. To them the greatest section of the room (cases 1-3) is dedicated. Case 1 shows items from numerous burials in the Volga-Ural steppes of IV century B.C. – IV century A.D. The golden plate in the centre features a warrior. Unlike Scythians, Sarmats were armed with long swords while the burials of the wealthiest and most successful warriors would be filled with weapons, harnesses and luxury items including numerous glass beads and jewellery made from chalcedony, very much respected in antiquity.

case 2
The burials displayed in case 2 stagger by the abundance of gold and silver objects, clothing ornamentals and harness. Particularly impressive are glass kantharos – vessels for wine with two handles. One of them is adorned with a small golden rim with gold chains encrusted with the cornelian hanging down from it.

case 3
The items of case 3 inform of the Sarmatians stay in Northern Black Sea Coast region, their contacts with belligerent tribes living in Western and Central Europe and their first skirmishes with Roman squadrons at the very outset of the new era. Here one can see a helmet and a scoop of Roman origin; the Celtic influence is felt in the way the harness is furnished with mascarons. Numerous Sarmatian tribes had dominated the East-European steppes until the invasion of Huns in the IV century A.D.

case 4
In case 4 there are the antiquities from the Crimea of III century B.C. – IV century A.D. The focus is on things from Scythian Naples, a capital of the state founded by Scythians in the Crimea, and its necropolis. The plaster fragments with fresco paintings covering the walls of the buildings are of special interest. The Scythian Kingdom played a prominent part in regional political life as indicated by a silver plate with the name of Bosporan Queen Gepaepyris engraved on it – the ambassadorial gift of the Bospor Kingdom.

cases 5 and 6
The objects in cases 5 and 6 come from the forest belt of Eastern Europe. Case 5 presents antiquities of the Middle Dnieper region pertaining to the so-called Zarubinets culture. A big vessel among those objects is a burial urn with burned bones. The Zarubinets culture was part of Central and East-European communities, where the rite of cremation was prevalent. This type of sites was left by the Celtic and German tribes living in Central Europe.

In the centre of the room is a Taman sarcophagus, one of the most famous objects of antique culture dating back to the IV century B.C. It comes from the Bosporan Kingdom, ancient Greek State that spread to the Taman and Kerch Peninsulas. Found in the early XX century, the sarcophagus immediately arrested the expert attention as an outstanding work of ancient Greek art. Most likely, it was brought from Greece on demand of a high-ranking Bosporan noble and was made from marble mined in the mountains of Asia Minor. The chisel of a skilful craftsman imparted perfect proportions to the five-ton marble block.

The objects displayed in this room finish the era of antiquity inaugurating a new period in the history of mankind – the Middle Ages.

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