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Lamps from a Sanctuary of Eleusinian Goddesses – “Beregovoï-4”1

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image of Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia

AbstractThe sanctuary known as Beregovoï-4 is situated on the Taman Peninsula (Kerch Strait between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea), 5 km north-west of the ancient polis of Patraios.The large amount of terracotta figurines and other sacral objects, in conjunction with the absence of any groups of buildings, testifies clearly to the fact that this archaeological site was a sanctuary. The contexts of the finds are extremely significant – there are simple altars – escharae – made from stones and mud bricks, burnt places, sometimes covered with sea grass and containing numerous pits filled with charcoal and ash, situated in the north-west corner of the site.All the lamps originated from the upper level, which can be dated to a period from the 4th to the first quarter of the 1st century BC. There is a complete absence of lamps in the earliest levels of this sanctuary (late-6th to the first half of the 5th century BC).Most lamps have several tiers (ranging from 2 to 6/7) and several nozzles. They were never used for lighting (the nozzles very often do not even have holes connecting them to the oil reservoir). Small pieces predominate among the several hundred fragments of these lamps found at the sanctuary. Their state of preservation makes it clear that they must have been broken deliberately during rituals (most probably at the end of the latter). Almost complete lamps (broken into large pieces) were found in the upper level, in the turf.Highly significant for our purposes is the fact that multi-nozzle lamps of a similar shape have been recorded at the sanctuary on Mount Maïskaya situated not far from Phanagoria – the largest polis of the Asiatic Bosporus. A remarkable parallel for our lamps originated from the sanctuary of Demeter at Selinunt in Sicily, where many types of multi-nozzle lamps were found. Dozens of other parallels originated from the territory of Sicily, Italy and Greece, where broken multi-nozzle lamps, often without any traces of burning, have been found at sanctuaries of Demeter and Persephone.


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