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Henry M. Robert

A limestone statue menhir only 6 cm tall

Archeologists from Dnipro find precious historic artifacts in the region
9 November, 2017 - 11:58
Photo courtesy of the author

A Scythian idol, an Eneolithic stela, and an object resembling an altar: these are the findings of an archeological expedition to the Piatykhatky raion. The artifacts are already added to the collection of the Yavornytsky National History Museum in Dnipro.

The Scythian stela, dating back to the 5th century B.C., is considered particularly important. It had spent nearly a century outside, on the outskirts of the village Vyshneve, says Dmytro ROMANCHUK, senior research fellow at the Yavornytsky National History Museum. “There are two kurgans [burial mounds. – Ed.] in the vicinity. This stela used probably to crown one of them and later was just toppled to make ploughing easier.” The stela was simply dragged to the nearby copse, which is not surprising at all, according to the archeologists: it is often next to impossible to recognize a historical monument in a granite slab. “It might date to the early Scythian epoch, due to the slightly carved lines. However, one can clearly discern the head, shoulder, and bent arm. An ornament is also visible. If we draw all the lines on a copy, which we are going to do at the museum, I think we will even see the expression on the face,” says Romanchuk.

The second find was also established on top of the kurgan. This is an anthropomorphous stela, probably Eneolithic, which are quite common on kurgans. Researcher Vasyl RASTREPA says that archeologists would use special literature at the museum to draw more precise analogies. So far they have no unequivocal opinion as to the age of the third find, a stone vessel resembling an altar. Before the Scythian artifacts join other museum exhibits, they will be thoroughly examined and restored.

The archeologists shared about another fascinating discovery. It was for the first time that they had seen a limestone baba [statue menhir. – Ed.] only 6 centimeters tall. Previously the smallest statues were dated back to the Cuman and Scythian periods and measured 30 centimeters. Researchers had never suspected the existence of such tiny figurines. Maybe it was a portable statuette of an ancestral deity, worshipped by nomads. Historians were only able to examine and photograph this unusual artifact. The unique monument was found in a field by a resident of village Lozovatka. According to the archeologists, the man is so far reluctant to part with his find.

Priceless Scythian artifacts were also found during the last season in excavations near Kryvyi Rih. Local and Kyiv-based archeologists found Scythian bronze decorations used on funeral wagons. Similar objects were earlier found on the vast steppes of Great Scythia, from Kuban to Hungary. Virtually each of them replicates the same subject: a mythological gryphon killing its prey. The one found near Kryvyi Rih will be some two and a half thousand years old. Archeologists believe they stumbled upon a site where funeral feasts were held. A proof of this can be seen in fragments of Greek amphorae, with traces of wine and bones of sacrificed animals.

By Vadym RYZHKOV, The Day, Dnipro