Excavations in Russia

Originally Published in 1934

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FOLLOWING the completion of the expedition to Esske-Kermen in the Crimea which was sponsored jointly by the University Museum and the State Academy for the History of Material Culture, Leningrad, the Museum’s representative, Mr. Eugene Golomshtok, sent a most interesting report on the accomplishments of the season. It will be remembered that Esske-Kermen is the site of that one of the so-called ‘cave cities’ in the Crimea which has been identified with Douros, the old capital of the Goths in that region.

View of rocky outcropping with cave entrances visible
Plate II — Site of the Main Gate at Ancient Esske-Kermen, Russia
Image Number: 25362

The work during the past summer was principally concerned with burials rather than with building remains. Some sixty burials were excavated, including those in the catacombs or caves on the side of the plateau, several in dolmens, eight in so-called ‘stone-cists,’ and the rest on the plateau. Preliminary investigations in the general neighborhood were also carried out, including a reconnaissance of the Tarric settlement near the dolmens. Over a hundred skulls were found and will be of great importance for anthropological study. Among objects of particular interest were several coins and an inscribed silver plaque which, if deciphered, may furnish some illuminating information concerning the site; also a silver buckle ornamented with a hawk head, some beautifully preserved, decorated wooden combs, and a number of pieces of intact pottery. Our Russian colleagues are very generously permitting practically all of this material to come to us, and in addition we are to receive a number of other objects and Russian publications from the State Academy, the Hermitage Museum, and the Central Anthropological Museum in Moscow.

View of a cave with an altar and some artifacts on the ground
Plate III — The So-Called Hall of Justice at Esske-Kermen, Russia
Image Number: 25358

Plate II shows the site of the main gate to the ancient city. Several caves may be seen in the foreground. The three workmen in the background are engaged in excavating ossuaries from which came most of the skulls. Within the mass of rock on the right is the so-called Hall of Justice, a large cave with an altar and other evidence of ceremonial usage [Plate III].

Not only are the results of this first season of endeavor in Russia most satisfactory, but it is particularly gratifying to have received from both the State Academy and the Hermitage Museum cordial invitations to continue in 1934 our participation in the field of Russian archaeology and anthropology. It is greatly to be hoped that means may be found for us to accept one of these invitations and to carry on the work so auspiciously begun.

Cite This Article

"Excavations in Russia." Museum Bulletin V, no. 1 (January, 1934): 4-8. Accessed July 25, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1303/

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