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Sinopean Amphorae and Chernyakhov Culture

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

The Chernyakhov culture existed in the Eastern Europe in the second third of the 3rd to the early 5th century AD. Its dominant population group was that of the Goths. Among the goods imported into the region were amphorae of “Delakeu” type, or type C Snp I according to the classification of D. Kassab Tezgör. A workshop which produced these amphorae has been discovered on the outskirts of Sinope. The amphorae from the region of the Chernyakhov culture belong largely to the variant C Snp I-1, module L and M, and, less frequently, to the variant C Snp I-2. Sometimes the clay of these amphorae does not have many added inclusions. This fact led to the mistaken conclusion that the amphorae of “Delakeu” type from the Chernyakhov territory might have been produced not in Sinope but somewhere else. Most of the types of the repertoire of Sinopean amphorae dating to the late Roman period occur across the whole Black Sea littoral. However, the variant C Snp I-1 is known mostly in the region of the Chernyakhov culture, and is not very common on the southern and eastern coasts of the Black Sea. We assume that this distribution pattern can be explained by the specific purpose of these containers. In AD 332, Constantine I signed an agreement with the Goths, whereby they received subsidies in exchange for service. A part of this agreement could have been the provision of wine. Approximately in the middle of 4th century, Sinopean wine started to be delivered to the Chernyakhov territory. Presumably, amphorae with a larger than normal capacity (the type “Delakeu” / C Snp I-1) were produced in order to deliver the wine. These circumstances might explain the mass appearance of such amphorae on the Chernyakhov sites and also the absence of these amphorae from Greek towns.


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