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A Warrior Burial from the Ust’-Al’ma Necropolis (Mid-1st Cent. AD)

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In 2015 during excavations in the Ust’-Al’ma necropolis, a grave with a side-chamber was discovered (No. 1074). The deceased was a male aged 25-35 who had suffered many injuries during his life which could be traces of blows received in battle. The burial complex dates from the mid-1st century AD and belongs to a group of ‘Barbarian’ elite burials complete with gold funeral wreaths and face-coverings (eye- and mouth-covers). Most of these graves are earthen catacombs located along the road leading towards the ancient fortified settlement of Ust’-Al’ma on the western coast of the Crimean peninsula. Assemblages from male burials of this group usually contain weapons (sword, bow, arrows). As a rule, the burial goods are plentiful and rich. Elements of burial attire are often made of precious metals, and are represented by armlets, brooches, pendants, amulets, items from belt-sets and plaques which would have been sewn on to items of apparel. Among other burial goods, there are amphorae, wooden utensils with carved figures of animals and Roman imported bronze and silver ware. Taking into consideration that these burial structures were of a special type, that the graves had been positioned in a special area along the road leading to the settlement, as well as the extraordinary splendor of the grave goods, it can be concluded that they were burials for individuals belonging to the highest ranks of the social elite. The use of an unusual type of burial structure (a grave with a side-chamber) and the relatively small number of grave goods, which were nevertheless signs of high social rank (a funeral wreath, face-coverings, a sword), indicate the special status of the individual buried in Grave No. 1074.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of World History RAS MoscowRussia trufanov.29@gmail.com ; 2: Institute of World History RAS MoscowRussia v_mordvintseva@mail.ru

10.1163/15700577-12341309
/content/journals/10.1163/15700577-12341309
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2017-07-13
2017-10-22

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