Greek coastal town 11
km S of Kerch founded in the mid 6th c. B.C. on the
site of a Kimmerian (?) settlement of the Late Bronze
Age. Incorporated into the Bosporan state, the town
prospered until its destruction by the Huns ca. 370 (Ptol.
. 3.6.3.; Anon., Peripl. Ponti Euxini
76 (50); Steph.
.). Life at the settlement was resumed on a much
reduced scale: excavations have uncovered a three-naved
basilica (5th-6th c.) built of stone and brick, and the
remains of dwellings from the 8th-9th c.
The town was encircled in the 5th c. B.C. by a stone
defensive wall, which was greatly strengthened in the
4th-3d c. and partially rebuilt in the early centuries A.D.
The fortifications also contained corner and intermediary
towers. Knowledge of the city in the archaic and Classical
eras is limited since most dwellings of this time were
apparently dismantled and utilized in later construction,
but there are traces of a three-room rectangular house
from the period ca. 540-475 with adobe brick walls on a
stone socle. Buildings from the 1st c. A.D. were found on
both sides of a paved lane which passed through part
of town at this period. Notable among later houses was
a large stone home of the 3d-4th c. consisting of seven
living and storage rooms, some two-story, grouped around
a paved courtyard.
The town was a center for the production of wine and
salted fish. The earliest wine-making establishment, 3d-2d c. B.C., consisted of a smooth paved area used for pressing grapes by foot and an adjacent vat. Establishments of the 2d-4th c. A.D. contained three pressing areas
in a row. The grapes were first pressed by foot in the
two end areas and then crushed by a mechanical lever
press in the middle area. A system of stone sluices
directed the flow of wine into three or four adjoining vats.
For salting fish 59 tanks, most dating from the 1st-3d c.,
were found in one small area of the town, and one
establishment had a complex of 16 tanks. Herring,
khamsa, and the more valuable sturgeon were the main
fishes salted. The discovery of a bronze stamp from the
3d-2d c., used to make gold plaques with the bust of
Aphrodite, indicates some local metalworking.
The necropolis, only partially excavated, contained slab
tombs of the 4th-3d c. and earthen crypts of the 1st-4th
c. The remains of an unfortified settlement of the 6th-4th
c. have been noted ca. 400 m SW of Tyritake.
V. F. Gaidukevich, “Bosporskie goroda
Tiritaka i Mirmekii na Kerchenskom poluostrove (Po
raskopkam 1932-1936 gg.),” VDI
(1937) 1.216-39; Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Bospora i Khersonesa
[Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, No. 4]
(1941); id., “Raskopki Tiritaki v 1935-1940 gg.,” Bosporskie goroda
, I [Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii
SSSR, No. 25] (1952) 15-134; id., “Raskopki Tiritaki
Mirmekiia v 1946-1952 gg.,” Bosporskie goroda
, II [Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, No. 85]
(1958) 149-85; A. L. Mongait, Archaeology in the USSR
tr. M. W. Thompson (1961) 194-96; C. M. Danoff,
(1962) 1126-27 = RE
Suppl. IX; E.
Belin de Ballu, L'Histoire des Colonies grecques du Littoral nord de la Mer Noire
T. S. NOONAN