Evidence of the existence of one of the oldest Christian dioceses found on the Taman Peninsula

Evidence of the existence of one of the oldest Christian dioceses found on the Taman Peninsula
Evidence of the existence of one of the oldest Christian dioceses found on the Taman Peninsula

An expedition of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, conducting excavations on the territory of the Taman Peninsula, discovered a treasure confirming that one of the most ancient Christian dioceses was located in Russia.

Archaeologists of the Phanagorian expedition discovered 80 coins of the era of the Bosporan kings of the 3rd-4th centuries. A bundle of coins was hidden in the throat of an old, broken amphora.

“This speaks of the extraordinary circumstances under which the treasure was hidden - a sudden attack by enemies. The owner of the coins was clearly acting in a hurry: part of the amphora was placed in a hole and covered with earth,”- Vladimir Kuznetsov, head of the Fanagoria archaeological expedition.

The find was found in layers dating back to the 6th century AD. It was at the beginning of this century that crucial historical events took place in Phanagoria - the Bosporus kingdom, to which the city belonged, ceased to obey the nomadic Huns and came under the rule of Byzantium.

“The found treasure testifies to the turbulent events in the south of the Kuban. These events led to the fact that Phanagoria became part of Byzantium, as a result of which the Phanagorian diocese appeared, subordinate to Constantinople. In other words, the find confirms that it was here that one of the oldest Christian dioceses in Russia was located,”- Sergey Ostapenko, deputy head of the expedition.

The treasure discovered by archaeologists shows that in the 6th century copper-lead coins of the Bosporan kings were in use in the internal market of Phanagoria. They were last minted in 341, but remained in use for several centuries. After Phanagoria became part of Byzantium, Byzantine gold also circulated on its territory, the denomination of which was higher than that of the Bosporan coins.

For the past three years, the Phanagorian expedition has been exploring the archaeological layer that belongs to the Byzantine period in the history of the ancient city. In the first half of the 6th century, Phanagoria was attacked and destroyed. Scientists associate this event with the uprising against Byzantium of its vassal - the Hunnic leader Gord (Grod).

This period includes the shells from throwing machines found by archaeologists, as well as a broken marble tabletop and a baptismal font, which testifies to the destruction of an early Christian basilica that existed nearby. A gold coin of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I (527-565) was also found in the layer of the fire, which made it possible to establish the date of the catastrophe.

Archaeologists have found a treasure with coins on the Taman Peninsula

Research Center of the Fanagoria Expedition of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Phanagoria was founded in the middle of the 6th century BC. NS. by Greek settlers on the shores of the Taman Bay. Its settlement and necropolis with more than 700 mounds occupy 900 hectares. The city existed for more than 1,500 years, for a long time it was one of the two capitals of the oldest state formation on the territory of Russia - the Bosporus kingdom.

Finds from the mounds of Phanagoria are kept in the Hermitage, the State Museum of Fine Arts named after V.I. A. Pushkin, museums in Great Britain, Germany and other countries. The results of the expedition are presented at world scientific forums in Germany, France, Denmark, Greece, the USA, etc. In 2009, the opening of the palace of Mithridates VI was included in the list of the 10 most outstanding archaeological finds in the world according to the Archeology magazine (USA).

The Phanagoria archaeological expedition conducts excavations with the support of the Volnoe Delo Foundation of Oleg Deripaska.

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