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The Hoard of Cyzicenes and Shrine of Demeter at Myrmekion

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

On August 20, 2003, in the course of excavations of the ancient settlement of Myrmekion (Ukraine, town of Kerch) the State Hermitage expedition discovered a hoard of electrum staters from the town of Cyzicus. The hoard had been kept in a bronze jug hidden under masonry. It contained 99 well-preserved coins that belong to 53 types, mostly dating from the 5th century BC (2nd and 3rd groups according to H. Fritze). One of the types (a sitting warrior wearing a helmet with a bow placed to the right of him) is unique. The building under which the hoard was found had been a sanctuary constructed in the 4th century BC. However the wall where the hoard comes from was constructed not before the 370s BC, so coins from Cyzicus cannot be dated to an earlier period. Most probably the hoard was not a private property but part of the temple's treasures concealed in some unclear circumstances. The hoard, by its size, is comparable to similar finds from Prinkipo, Clazomenae, Piraeus and Orlovka. The hoard from Myrmekion is the only one obtained by a museum in its integrity and whose archaeological origin is clear. The sanctuary, in which the hoard was found, is known as the "Demeter sanctuary". It occupied an area of more than 500 m2, in the center of which there was a premise with a stone altar. The archaeological context proves that the hoard could have been hidden not earlier than 375-350 BC.


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