Posts Tagged ‘Scythians’

Hall 1

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The museum archeological collection elucidates the peculiar and vivid ancient history of our land from Stone Age to the 13th century.

General view



The territory where Dnipropetrovsk region is situated now has been inhabited by representatives of different nations, nationalities, ethnic group by the people of various religions communities, confessions since time immemorial.

The first hall has collected archeological artifacts which were found in the Dnipropetrovsk region beginning with Stone Age to the Middle ages. Here archeologist discovered the human encampments of the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, Copper, Bronze and Iron Age.

Dug-out

Wooden cart details. The middle of the 2nd century B.C.

Museum visitors gain acquaintance with the collection of stone carved images. The most ancient of then is Kernosovskiy idol.

Kernosivka stone idol. 3rd mil. B.C.

Kernosovskiy idol is an Anthropomorphic statue. It’s made of sandstone. It dates back to the third mil. B.C. It was accidentally discovered in 1973 in the Kernosivka village of Dnipropetrovsk region by the pupils of local school during placing silage pit. The idol depicts the supreme God of the ancient Aryan pantheon. Cosmogonic ornamentation, scenes from myths, tools, weapon, animals are carved on the surface of the statue. These carve images help to understand semantics of the stele which represents the creator of the universe, cultural hero, who donated fertility. This idol is a monument of the world importance. There is nothing even remotely resembling elsewhere in the world. It was displayed at various world exhibitions of stone idols in Munich (Germany), Aost (Italy), Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Kyiv (Ukraine).

The museum archeological collection contains artifacts of Old Pit, Catacomb and Timber-Frame archeological culture.

V.Gorodtsov (1860-1940), a prominent archeologist, founder of the classification of copper-bronze cultures (Pit, Catacamomb, Timber-Frame culture)

This funeral cist bears an ornamental design in ochre.

Funeral cist. 2nd century B.C.

The beginning of the second millennium B.C. saw the dawn of the Bronze Age.

Bronze tools axes, knives, adzes and chisels – sharply increased the productivity of labour. At that time the art of bronze casting was discovered.

Bronze tools

The late 5th century B.C. witnessed the appearance of the Iranian-speaking Scythians.

Scythians were brave warriors and skilful mounted arches. They lived according to the laws of a military democracy.

  1. Section “History of the Scythians”
  2. Scythians’ sword and daggers

The Scythians were a community of various ethnic tribes. Herodotus distinguished among them the tillers of the land, plowmen, nomads, Royal Scythians, who deem all other Scythians their slaves. Their basic occupations were cattle raising and metalworking.

The Greek historian Herodotus described the Scythians as an “invincible and unapproachable” people. The might of the Scythians caused apprehensions in the mind of the Egyptian pharaoh who, dreading a possible invasion, brought them off. No European Kingdom could compare with the Scythians.

Scythia reached the height of its greatness in the 4th – 3rd century B.C. During this period Scythians created the first state in Eastern Europe. The famous Chertomlyk and Thick Grave barrows near Nikopol of the Dnipropetrovsk area refer to this period. The immense riches boarded in Scythian barrows included bronze cauldrons, iron swords and bronze arrowheads, gold earrings and pendants, details of horses’ harness, expensive armor, gold plagues, heads of glass paste and carnelian.

Barrow “Thick Grave” was examined by the Ukrainian archeologist B. Mozolevsky in 1971 near the town of Ordzhonikidze, Dnipropetrovsk region. This mound was the burial of a king, queen and their son. The king’s burial had been plundered of its treasures in ancient times. The noble deceased were accompanied by sacrificed servant and slaves. Here the world-known gold pectoral (decorative object worn on the breast) was found.

B. Mozolevsky

Pectoral (replica). 4th century B.C.

It weighed two and a half pounds. It was made by a Greek craftsman. He managed to cram into its 12-inch diameter an exquisitely detailed picture of the Scythians and the animals with which their lives were interwoven. Nothing in nature escaped the artist’s eye, from the muscle-tensed bodies to the tiniest grasshoppers. The master made single parts separately and soldered each one to twisted cords of gold.

The pectoral consists of 3 bands. At the centre of its inner band there are 2 Scythians making clothes.

The middle band contains floral design. One of the main themes of Scythian art-battling animals both real and imaginary – fills the outer band. The Scythians crested so-called animal style in art.

Describing the ritual attending the obsequies of a Scythian king, Herodotus writes that the King’s body was carried through all the lands he ruled and then was brought to the royal cemetery in the land of the Gerrhi.

So, where is that mythical land of the Gerrhi. It must be somewhere in the wooded steppes of the eastern part of the Dnieper basin or in the vicinity of the Dnieper rapids. The riddle of the royal cemetery is far from being solved.

Classical civilization influenced the development of the Scythian culture. The trade contacts between the Scythians and Greek contributed much to the Scythian culture. One of the main articles of Greek import was the earthen ware, especially amphorae – the most common object of Scythian finds.

Articles found on the Northern cost of the Black Sea

So, Scythians have reigned in our steppes for 300 years. In the 3rd century B.C. some Scythians went the Northern Black Sea shore, others – assimilated with Sarmatian tribes.

Sarmatian tribes settled in our land in the 3rd century A.D.

They were engaged in rather advanced stock-breeding. Besides they had smithery, bronze casting, leather tanning; they made all kinds of weapons, clothes and adornments. They worshipped the sun and fire.

Articles from Sarmatian burials of the Dnieper-area

The Sarmatians carried on trade with Greek city-states, ancient Rome and Egypt.

Our land lay on the Great Trail of Peoples, leading from Asia to Europe.

Here in Pridneprovya, water and land routes of various tribes and peoples intersected.

During the period of great migration of peoples different tribes and ethnic groups moved through our land leaving here their monument and artifacts: Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Hungarians, Alans, Khazars.

Articles from Hungarian burials found in the Dnipropetrovsk region

Articles from Voznesensk cult complex (the first half of the 8th century)

Kiln. Late 7th century A.D.

During the period of Kievan Rus our land was settled by Slavic and nomadic tribes (Polovtsy and Pincenates)

Agricultural tools and craftsmen’s goods from Slavonic settlements.

Fish hooks

In medieval times the Dnieper river became part of Varangian route between the Baltic Sea and Byzantium.

Fibulae of the Scandinavian type. Late 9th – early 10th century

Amphora. 13th century. North Black Sea coast import

Museum possesses one of the largest collections of Polovetsky stone idols in Ukraine. It maintains 67 statues. These sacred monuments refer to medieval Turk and Mongolian-speaking tribes included to Polovtsian state union “Decht-e-Kipchak” (Polovtsi steppi) in the 12th – the first half of the 13th century. These stone carved images were associated with the cult of ancestors. According to the medieval nomads’ imaginations, male and female statues kept the souls of their ancestors.

Stone carves images. 11th -13th centuries