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Roman Fibulae and Parts of a Belt-set from the Zavetnoe Necropolis

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One piece of evidence indicating contacts between the Romans and the population of the South-western Crimea is the spread of Roman fibulae and parts of Roman strap-sets within the territory inhabited by the barbarians. In this respect finds from the necropolis near the village of Zavetnoe are a focus of special interest, when we bear in mind that it is situated next to the city-site of Alma-Kermen, where it is assumed there was a Roman garrison drawn from the troops of the Legio XI Claudia.

All together 16 Roman fibulae, 2 buckles, a belt-plate and a strap end have been found. Generally speaking the range of Roman fibulae from Zavetnoe is of a standard variety, as found in other barbarian necropoleis of the Crimea. The main distribution area for most types of fibulae found in Zavetnoe is in Roman provinces far from the Crimea and, in contrast, fibulae of these types are rarely encountered within the territory of the Lower Danube provinces geographically close to the Crimea.

Analysis of published finds and reference to materials from other necropoleis has made it possible to single out differences in the ways fibulae and parts of strap sets were used. Roman fibulae, as a rule, were used in accordance with their original function, while almost all the parts from Roman accoutrements discovered in the necropoleis of the Central and South-western Crimea were found in female and child burials, in a fragmentary state and had been used as amulets. This probably indicates that, unlike fibulae which were a trade item, parts of Roman military equipment fell into the hands of the Crimean barbarian population by chance and sporadically and remained alien to their material culture.

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