Preliminary report on the 2012 field season
The fifth archaeological campaign of the “Tyritake” Polish Archaeological Mission of the National Museum in Warsaw took place between 14 July and 22 August 2012.
The following persons took part in the campaign:
From the Polish side:
The National Museum in Warsaw: Alfred Twardecki – head of the mission, Marcin Matera, Diana Święcka, Kamila Nocoń, Emilia Smagur, Joanna Barańska, Stanisław Rzeźnik, Michał Pisz, Inga Głuszek, Małgorzata Korzeniowska
Students and PhD students on archaeological training between 18 July and 18 August 2012: Joanna Porucznik, Cezary Bahyrycz, Marta Raczyńska, Artur Ciszewski, Adam Kruk, Marceli Hryniewicki, Bartłomiej Grzywniak, Monika Ławniczak
Conservation Mission of the Warsaw University of Technology (12–19 August 2012): Wojciech Terlikowski – head of the mission, Agnieszka Dąbska, Kacper Wasilewski, Piotr Balcerowski, Sabina Ciapała, Damian Cudzik, Magdalena Kuleszko, Radosław Lubiecki, Krzysztof Pawelec, Katarzyna Puławska, Julita Soin, Barbara Szucio, Łukasz Terlikowski, Mateusz Terlikowski, Iwona Tokarzewska, Martyna Wojnar, Ewa Skóra
From the Ukrainian side:
Victor Zinko – head of the Ukrainian mission, Aleksey Zinko, Mark Kotin, Alla Kotina, Valeriy Grigoryev, Igor Isayev, Vladislav Lebyedinskiy, Dimitri Kavun, Aleksandr Rakhimov, Nikita Gaydukov, Vitaliy Gusarov, Sergey Zavyalow, Aleksandr Botanov, Eduard Lebyedinskiy, Sergey Smetskoy, Victor Mor’kov, Sergey Smirnov
From the Russian side:
Students of the Belgorod University on archaeological training between 22 July and 5 August 2012: Yevgeniy Gusin, Vladimir Agarkov, Natalia Kolomyets, Ruslana Udovina, Nadyezhda Zhdanova, Sergey Glotov, Yulia Kostyrko, Maksim Mytusov, Pavel Oblonskiy, Aleksandr Sapogov
There were 64 campaign members in total.
During the mission, work was carried out in the central, western and north-eastern parts of the trench. Work in the eastern part focused on further exploration of Archaic structures (second half of the sixth century BC) uncovered the year before. Consequently, it was possible to clean sectors 19 and 20, and delineate the walls of the Archaic structure in this part of the excavations. Research should be continued in the future.
In the central part, encompassing ca. six archaeological sectors (5 × 5 m), exploration of the Classical and Archaic cultural layers began. The level of the first stage of Tyritake’s construction (mid-sixth century BC) was reached in the entire area before the end of the season. Several structures were also revealed, the most interesting of which was pit 19. In it, archaeologists found complete skeletons of three horses, placed almost symmetrically, and beautifully preserved Attic black-glazed vessels preliminarily dated to the turn of the fifth century BC. The archaeological context indicates that these might be the remains of a sacrificial religious ceremony. However, the material requires in-depth analysis. Other interesting structures in this section of the excavation unit were the remains of stoves and, most likely, a clay grill, next to which numerous shells of local clams were found.
In the north-eastern part, encompassing around seven archaeological sectors, archaeologists uncovered the remains of a canal from the Hellenistic period (fourth to second century BC) which may have also been used later. The context of the find would suggest that a water collector was placed here, to which more than one canal led. In order to verify this hypothesis, the excavation unit would have to be extended to the east – the canal currently enters the eastern wall of the trench. The remains of another stove were revealed nearby, as well as the remnants of unidentified stone structures from the Hellenistic, and perhaps also Classical or even Archaic periods. Any verification of these tentative conclusions would require continued exploration of this part of the trench.
This field season yielded 222 discrete artefacts, including six coins, glass and metal objects, and, most importantly, ceramic vessels and objects – such as several well-preserved Attic black-glazed vessels. Another extremely valuable find is a Greek tombstone inscription, preserved almost in full and preliminarily dated between the first and second centuries AD. All finds were handed over to the head of the Ukrainian mission. Like each year, the full list of finds with their physical description and archaeological interpretation will be published in the annual excavation report and on the Kerch project website.
In the last week of the mission, archaeologists were joined by conservators from the Warsaw University of Technology, acting in Tyritake based on a bilateral agreement between the NMW and the WUT. The conservation mission, composed of 17 members, secured the trench for the winter, clearing the ditch around it and protecting banks against falling or flowing soil by improving last year’s mesh and placing new ones. The stone structures unearthed by archaeologists were secured in part by using water repellent preparations, in part by rebuilding external and internal walls using cement clay mortar protecting the structure against water from precipitation.
To sum up, it should be stated that this year’s campaign was particularly fruitful. It brought a number of new information about Tyritake’s topography in the Archaic and Classical periods (sixth to fifth century BC). In order to fill in the gaps, the NMW should carry out further excavation work in Tyritake.
Warsaw, 21 September 2012