MOSCOW, November 28. SSU archaeologists examined a rare antique ceramic vessel from the collection of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov, grandson of Nicholas I. According to them, the entire amphora with a wheel-shaped mark repeats the shape of the Thasos biconical container, which suggests the time and place of its creation. The results are presented in the monograph “Amphora of the 6th–2nd centuries BC from the collection of the Yalta Historical and Literary Museum.”
Scientists of the Saratov National Research State University named after N.G. Chernyshevsky, as part of the study of the collection of antique objects of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov, grandson of Nicholas I, discovered a unique object – a complete, from an archaeological point of view, amphora with a wheel-shaped impression.
As the researchers reported, this type of mark has long been controversial among archaeologists and historians. Some were convinced that such impressions were left in the most famous centers of ceramic production, for example, in the Greek polis on the island of Thasos. However, in the course of comparing various archaeological finds, it was established that such vessels were made in the Greek city of Akanthos in Chalkidiki in the 4th century BC.
The vessels from this polis repeat in detail the morphology of the amphoras of neighboring Thasos, a major center for the production of containers in antiquity, therefore the chronological affiliation of amphoras is based on their similarity with well-described products from Thasos.
"The characteristic features of the amphora we described are also allow us to make a hypothesis about the chronology of the Acanthian stamps; it exactly copies in shape the Thasos biconical container, which existed in the third quarter of the 4th century BC,” noted Sergei Monakhov, head of the Department of History of the Ancient World of SSU.
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In its lifetime, the collection of Prince Alexander Mikhailovich survived the 1927 earthquake in Yalta and the fire in the Oriental Museum in 1941, so many artifacts were damaged and documentation on them was lost, SSU archaeologists reported. That is why it is currently impossible to establish that many items belong to any ancient complex.
SSU researchers became acquainted with the collection of the Grand Duke back in 1988, and, according to them, they were led to it by passion and the desire to see a unique item mentioned by B.N. Grakov back in the 1930s.
“There was no lighting in the museum premises then, and we, with a small flashlight and groping, examined the collection of the Grand Duke in the hope of finding the only complete amphora with a wheel-shaped mark in the world at that time,” said Monakhov .
The vessel turned out to be fragmented: one of its handles and a leg was broken off, and part of the crown was also missing. Many years later, during a comprehensive study of the collection of the Yalta Museum of Local Lore, specialists were able to find a second handle, on which an identical wheel-shaped mark was applied.
Scientists from the Department of History of the Ancient World of SSU over the past two decades have conducted systematic studies of antique ceramic objects from the State Hermitage, State Museum of Fine Arts named after A.S. Pushkin, the historical and archaeological museum-reserve “Chersonese Tauride”, as well as several local history museums.
The work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation.