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Year 1894 ...
In Chersonesos, 1894 excavations concentrated in the south-eastern extremity of the ancient city site, as well as in the huge necropolis, which had been discovered in 1891 and had already given important and valuable material.
Past years excavations near the warehouse of antiquities discovered an ancient, very massive wall, which was laid in unusually strong way, of fine rubble with lime, and had both sides faced with big stone slabs closely jointed to each other. In the year under report, special excavations traced this wall as long as 90 sazh<enes>; it appeared to go within a certain distance from the present seashore, perhaps, along the line of the ancient bay coast, and preserved well in some areas. In a corner of this wall, there was roofed rectangular building with hewn of stone pillars in each corner and exit in the main wall, probably, to the wharf; traces of the other exit to the sea, which was necessary to protect the passage, were also uncovered exactly in the east side wall. Both sides of the investigated section of the wall are adjoined by small rooms without windows, laid of mixed stone with clay and dated to the later period. There are very interesting artifacts discovered. Especially curious finds were made in a relatively big room that can be interpreted as commercial warehouse, as it housed 7 huge pithoi being as high as one sazhene and more. Small gilt slate icon portraying Ss. Demetrius and George should be undoubtedly considered the most important of the artifacts unearthed there. Both saints are represented wearing chain mails and long clothes; St. Demetrius has sword and St. George has spear and shield. This icon could be dated approximately to the eleventh century; the work is excellent. Besides that, the finds from the same room include: copper thurible with handle, metal four-pointed cross, glazed earthenware plate with image of griffin and eagle attacking each other, etc. There is an excellent collection of glazed earthenware plates, complete and fragmentary, unearthed in the said rooms; it can be material for a special monograph; the technique and images on them are rather different. Such plates were found beforehand in Chersonesos, as well as in Balaklava, Feodosiya, Gurzuf and even in vicinity of Smolensk, but always in small number. Two rooms had floors paved with perfect thin brick, one contained kiln, and many appeared to house pithoi. Among isolated finds from the area of the discussed excavations, it is necessary to point out original copper lock, fragment of lead seal with lost name of a certain Gothic bishop, silver buckle with hawk's head and garnet inserts, etc. In some places, the wall is pierced by aqueducts that always accompanied streets of the Byzantine Chersonesos and formed distinctive feature of the latter. The time when the wall itself was constructed still can not be determined with adequate accuracy. If it belonged to the ancient Chersonesos, further excavations along this wall should result in discovery of the most ancient necropolis, searching of which is a very important task and the subject of the Archaeological Commission's special care.
In 1894, we failed to start investigating the south-west wall of the ancient city because the Military Engineering Department executed some works there strenuously. However, these works clearly indicated that the wall preserved very badly in the said place. They discovered traces of moat, partly carved into bedrock, and fragment of statue of big marble lion that possibly stood at the gate located there. In the same area, they found inconsiderable altarless church with five destroyed tombs.
Similarly to the previous years, the excavations in the necropolis located at the south side of the ancient city got rather interesting results. In 1894, the following funeral constructions were unearthed there: 7 catacombs, 9 tombs constructed of stone slabs, with urns inside, 1 carved into bedrock tomb, 6 tile tombs and 86 underground ones; there were 113 tombs total, 8 of which should be dated to the ancient Greek, and the others to the Roman period, mainly to the second and third centuries AD.
One of the catacombs is most interesting: it has fresco paintings inside; no such catacombs were found in Chersonesos before. Unfortunately, the catacomb was already plundered, and the painting itself greatly damaged by barbarian's hand. There are partly preserved image of woman's figure standing almost sideways, two human half-figures laying on a couch close to each other, wreathed, with wings and eyes closed, as well as traces of floral ornament, circles with rosettes, and birds. In the other part of the necropolis, en entrance to untouched catacomb was discovered at the depth of ½ sazh<ene>; according to two coins discovered inside, it dates to the fourth century AD; all the burials in it, however, appeared to be children's, and were accompanied with a very few artifacts.
9 composed of stone slabs tombs contained 25 urns. The most interesting was big slabbed tomb, which was 1 ½ sazh<ene> long and contained 8 earthenware vessels with cremated bones accompanied with various goods; eight niches housed earthenware and glass ware. Among the artifacts discovered from the tomb, most curious are 6 gold finger-rings, gold snake-shaped earring, gold earring with lion's head, gold badge with image of Heracles, the same with image of Eros, gold badge with oriental garnet, 20 gold sewing badges with images of deer, star and pyramid of balls, terracotta statuette of a cock, balsamaria, small glass amphora, etc. A coin of 54 AD was discovered together with the artifacts.
There is interesting big tomb discovered in the necropolis; it is carved into bedrock and faced with ashlars from Inkerman; it was plundered. One of tile graves contained skeleton accompanied with a coin of autonomous Chersonesos depicting Artemis, of the third century BC, and black slip pottery, which is clear argument that these graves date to the ancient Greek period. There is some background to date big stone coffin, which was unearthed in 1894 in the necropolis, to the same period; such coffins are very rare in burials of Chersonesos; its lid was already put off and the funeral was plundered.
The following finds from the underground tombs could be listed as the most remarkable: pair of gold earrings in the form of convex disks, decorated with garnet in the middle and two amphora-shaped pendants, gold finger-ring depicting Pegasus, jasper medallion portraying Asclepius and Hygiea, gold leaves to cover eyes, etc. As usual, the mound of the necropolis contained some artifacts: terracotta statuette of Bacchus, gold earrings, etc.
From 1894 Report of the Imperial Archaeological Commission signed by the Chair, count A. A. Bobrinskiy. Published in Saint Petersburg in 1896.
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