On the History of Asian Bosporus in the Early Byzantine Times: Excavations at Verkhnegostagayevskoye
On the History of Asian Bosporus in the Early Byzantine Times: Excavations at Verkhnegostagaevskoye
A.A. Malyshev1, D.O. Dryga2, A.S. Klemeshov3, and T.N. Smekalova4 1Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Dm. Ulyanova 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia 2Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography, Gorokhovsky per. 4, Moscow, 105064, Russia 3Moscow Region State University, Radio 10A, Moscow, 105005, Russia 4V.I. Vernadsky Crimean Federal University, Pr. Vernadskogo 4, Simferopol, 295007, Russia
This study focuses on Verkhnegostagaevskoye—a fortress in the Krasnodar Territory, dating to the Late Antiquity and Early Byzantine era. It has a multilevel fortification system constructed with the use of Classical Greek building materials according to the tradition of adobe-and-stone architecture. The fortress, situated far away from major seashores and inland transportation arteries and studied by nondestructive topographic methods such as magnetic survey, was a strategically important refuge. The scale of construction activities indicates significant administrative resources of the rulers. The master-builders were qualified specialists with a good knowledge of local materials, the relief, and the geological structure of the area. The construction materials differed with regard to their position: shell limestone was used for the outer facades, whereas the peripheral defensive structures were made of local sandstone and limestone. Judging by parts of columns including Doric capitals with very flat echini, dating to the Late Hellenistic or Roman period, dismantled remains of public buildings were used for fortification. The production of building materials and the construction works may have been a long-term job for the Bosporans. The fortress was probably part of a political structure involved in the minting of the famous replicas of Roman denarii. These replicas marked one of the oldest routes connecting the Black Sea coast with Central Ciscaucasia via the Kuban basin.