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The analysis of various categories of the grave goods plays an important role for the chronological and cultural-historical interpretation of the burial complexes. Bone items are seldom found in Phanagoria. They are especially uncommon in her necropolis. Meanwhile, the fi nds of bone items in the burials are of great interest. They indicate the high development of bone carving in the Antiquity and role of bone artifacts in the burial practice of the inhabitants of the capital of the Asian Bosporus. They also allow us to date some Late Antique assemblages in the Cimmerian Bosporus. The recent research of the Phanagorian Mission’s Necropolis team yielded four graves discovered at the East Necropolis (apart from numerous Late Antique complexes), containing bone pyxides among the grave goods. These miniature vessels were carved out of the large tubular bones of animals. All bone pyxides found in Phanagorian graves are of the same type. Their morphological features are as following: a small diameter (depending on the external volume of the bone blank), a frusta-conical shape with the greatest width at the bottom of the vessel, chiseled bone ends and lids in the form of fl at washers, embossed ornamental compositions from several belts of horizontal furrows (from the two to four in one belt). In half of the cases, their bodies are decorated with an ornament in the form of a belt of carved circles with a circular recess in the center. These elegant vessels were used to store cosmetics: the blush, powder, perhaps ointments. All pyxides were generally found in the female burials. In Phanagoria, they were met twice in crypts, in women’s and children’s burials and twice in graves with lining. Both types of burial structures were used for the burial of non-ordinary citizens of the Late Antique city. All the complexes from which the pyxides came are dated rather narrowly, to the end of the 4th or the beginning and the fi rst half of the 5th century AD. Finds of such vessels in the burial complexes serve as a reliable chronological indicator of the specifi ed period and mark the relatively high social status of their owners. In addition, these perfect bone items carved with the help of the machine clearly indicate a high development of bone-cutting craft in Late Antique Phanagoria.


Classical archaeology, Phanagoria, necropolis, funeral rite, grave goods, pyxides, the Migration Period.

Olga M. Voroshilova. Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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