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TYRITAKE Bosporus.

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. Geog. 3.6.3.; Anon., Peripl. Ponti Euxini 76 (50); Steph. Byz.). 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.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

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, Pontos Euxeinos (1962) 1126-27 = RE Suppl. IX; E. Belin de Ballu, L'Histoire des Colonies grecques du Littoral nord de la Mer Noire (1965) 151-54.

T. S. NOONAN

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