city and port of the Kimmerian Bosporus, founded by
Greek colonists from Miletos in the late 7th-early 6th c.
on the site of an earlier settlement, Panti Kapa, on Mt.
Mithridates (Strab. 7.4.4
; Plin. HN
4.87). The city became the capital of the Spartocids in the 5th-4th c. Its
economic decline in the 4th-3d c. was the result of the
Sarmatian conquest of the steppes and the growing competition of Egyptian grain. In 63 B.C. the city was partly
destroyed by an earthquake. Raids by the Goths and the
Huns furthered its decline, and it was incorporated into
the Byzantine state under Justin I in the early 6th c.
On Mt. Mithridates the earliest traces of houses can be
seen. Dating to the end of the 7th c. and beginning of the
6th c. B.C., they are almost square in plan and consist
of just one room. In the 6th c. B.C. the houses were enlarged to two rooms and nearby were built larger houses.
These had several fairly luxurious rooms and painted
stucco walls. From the end of the 5th c. B.C. date the
remains of the walls that surrounded the city and traces
of a sacred building on top of Mt. Mithridates, probably
an Ionian peripteral temple (ca. 20 x 40 m), as well as
a few fragments of the architrave and some column
bases. A marble altar fragment has also been found. In
the 4th c. the city covered an area of 100 ha with larger
houses. In the 3d-2d c. B.C. a new type of house appeared having a peristyle courtyard; the walls of the
rooms were decorated with reliefs of painted stucco or
terracotta friezes, also in relief. The city was greatly influenced by indigenous cultures in the early centuries A.D.,
in which period several complexes were put up containing
cisterns for wine production, as well as a considerable
number of potters' kilns. Traces of religious architecture
include a fragment of the Doric architrave containing
the votive inscription of the temple that was dedicated to
the cult of the Bosporan king Aspurgos, A.D. 23.
The funerary architecture is monumental: a succession
of kurgans 4th c. B.C.-2d c. A.D.—the Golden Kurgan,
Royal Kurgan, Kul Oba and Melek Cesme—show the
complete evolution of this type of tumulus tomb (see
below). The Demeter kurgan, which dates from the 1st c.
A.D., is much smaller than these and has a well-preserved
fresco. In the center of the cupola is a medallion containing the head of Demeter. A frieze on the walls represents
Pluto, Demeter, the nymph Calypso, and Hermes. The
frescos in still later tombs show mainly battle scenes,
gradually giving way to more schematic, geometric
designs. The rich grave gifts in the tombs indicate the
wealth of the city and its inhabitants.
During the first centuries of the city's existence, imported Greek articles predominated: pottery, terracottas,
and metal objects, probably from workshops in Rhodes,
Corinth, Samos, and Athens. Local production, imitated
from the models, was carried on at the same time. Athens
manufactured a special type of bowl for the city, known
as Kerch ware. Local potters imitated the Hellenistic
bowls known as the Gnathia style as well as relief wares—Megarian bowls. The city minted silver coins from the
mid 6th c. B.C. and from the 1st c. B.C. gold and bronze
coins. The Hermitage and Kerch Museums contain material from the site.
E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks
(1913) 562-66; M. I. Rostovtsev, Skifiia i Bospor
176-250 = M. Rostowzew, Skythien und der Bosporus
(1931) 164-227; I. B. Zeest, ed., Pantikapei [Materialy i
issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, No. 56] (1957); id.,
& I. D. Marchenko, eds., Pantikapei
[Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, No. 103] (1962); V. D.
Blavatskii, “Raskopki Pantikapeia v 1954-1958 gg.,”
(1960) 2.168-92; id., Pantikapei. Ocherki istorii
(1964); A. L. Mongait, Archaeology in
, tr. M. W. Thompson (1961) 192-93; C. M.
Danoff, Pontos Euxeinos
(1962) 1119-24 RE
IX; E. Belin de Ballu, L'Histoire des Colonies grecques du
Littoral nord de la Mer Noire
(1965) 137-43; I. B. Braşinskij, “Recherches soviétiques sur les monuments antiques
des régions de la Mer Noire,” Eirene
7 (1968) 97-99;
I. D. Marchenko, “Raskopki Pantikapeia v 1959-1964
godakh,” Soobshcheniia Gosudarstvennogo Muzeia izobrazitel'nykh iskusstv imeni A. S. Pushkina
4 (1968) 27-53; S. S. Bessonova, “Raskopki nekropolia Pantikapeia v 1963-1964 gg.,” SovArkh
Tumulus tomb near Kerch dating to
the 4th c. B.C. The mound, which is strengthened with
stones at the base, is 21 m high and 240 m in circumference. The dromos is 4.75 m long, the circular burial chamber, which is 6.4 m in diameter and 9 m high, being built like a wall with 17 courses of stone blocks to make a false cupola. Excavations have shown that the tomb was looted in antiquity.
E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks
(1913) 194-95; G. A. Tsvetaeva, Sokrovishcha prichernomorskikh kurganov
(1968) 36-39; E. A. Molev & N. V.
Moleva, “Arkheologicheskie nakhodki v Kerchi,” Arkheologicheskie Otkrytiia 1972 goda
Tumulus tomb dating to the last
decades of the 4th c. B.C., situated 4 km NE of Kerch. It
is one of the most striking examples of architectural
remains of the Graeco-Roman era in the region along the
N coast of the Black Sea. The mound 17 m high is
fortified at the base by a wall 260 m in circumference.
The burial chamber (4.4 x 4.24 m) is approached by a
dromos 36 m long, covered by a false arch of stone.
There is a similar cupola of 17 courses of stone in the
burial chamber. Excavations have shown that the kurgan
was looted in antiquity.
E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks
(1913) 194; I. Brashinskii, Sokrovishcha skifskikh tsarei
(1967) 60; G. A. Tsvetaeva, Sokrovishcha prichernomorskikh kurganov
A rocky mountain range just SW of Kerch
is the site of a kurgan necropolis dating to the 4th c.
B.C. Among the important burials are: Kekuvatskii
kurgan, Ak-Burunskii kurgan, Pavlovskii kurgan, a
kurgan with a dual vault (No. 48), a kurgan with a
semicircular vault (No. 47), and Zmeinyi kurgan. Because these kurgans as a whole combine both Greek and Scythian elements, they appear to be connected either with Hellenized Scythians or barbarized Greeks from
Most of the tombs are representative of one type of
Bosporan tomb architecture, i.e., they consist of a dromos
and square burial chamber with a false arch, the whole
being covered over with the mound of earth. The only
exception is the Pavlovskii kurgan, which consists of a
simple rectangular tomb made of slabs of stone below
the tumulus. Inside the tomb a wooden sarcophagus contains a woman s skeleton adorned with gold jewelry—a
necklace, earrings with pendant in the shape of Nike,
three rings, a gilt mirror, and a red-figured pelike with an
Eleusinian theme: Demeter, Pluto, Kore, and Triptolemos. The tomb probably was that of a priestess of Demeter. Hermitage Museum.
M. Rostovtsev, Antichnaia dekorativnaia
zhivopis' na iuge Rossii
(1914) 99-109; id., Skifia i
(1925) 192-95 = M. Rostowzew, Skythien und
(1931) 176-80; K. E. Grinevich, “Iuz-Oba.
(Bosporskii mogil'nik IV v. do n.e.),” Arkheologiia i
, I (1952) 129-47; G. A. Tsvetaeva,
Sokrovishcha prichernomorskikh kurganov
(1968) 50-60; M. I. Artamonov, Treasures from Scythian Tombs in
the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad
A kurgan in the N part of Kerch
and dating to the end of the 4th c. B.C. The tumulus (12
in high, 60 m in diameter) consists of a long dromos
(9 m; height, 3 m) and a square burial chamber (3.7 m
to a side) with a false arch. There are three stone courses
over the burial chamber. The kurgan was destroyed before its excavation, probably in antiquity. Among the
finds are Attic wares of the 4th c. B.C., metal bowls and
some Greek arms and jewelry. The Hermitage Museum
contains material from the kurgan.
G. A. Tsvetaeva, Sokrovishcha prichernomorskikh kurganov
M. L. BERNHARD & Z. SZTETYŁŁO