Ash Pit № 2 of Ancient Sanctuary Viktorivka-1: General Characteristics
The ancient site Viktorivka-1 is a complex of settlements and sanctuaries, founded in the Lower Buh region in the second quarter of the 6th century BCE. Two ash pits have been fully studied in the sanctuary area for today.
The goal of this study is to introduce into scientific circulation the primary materials of the ash pit № 2 study. The main objectives of the study are: description of construction peculiarities, planigraphy, and stratigraphy of the object; a brief description of the remains of material culture from the ash pit filling; to determe the chronology of the deposition formation; preliminary interpretation of the object.
Ash pit № 2 is studied in the northern part of the sanctuary. It is formed in an artificial pit of a complex structure, dug in continental clay. Almost its entire area was destroyed by coastal erosion, only the western bounds are preserved, up to 5.9 m wide, stretching along the coastal precipice for 40.1 m. The maximum depth of the pit from the level of the mainland is 1.89 m, and the total area of the preserved part is 157 m2.
At the bottom of the pit, two parallel trenches, 26.3 m long, were found. In the process of forming the ash pit, a human burial was made over them. In different parts of the pit, there were three staircases of continental steps, leading from the level of the ancient daylight surface to its bottom. The pit is filled with ash, in the lower part and near the sides, there is a layer of yellow clay with admixtures of ancient humus.
Material culture is represented by numerous fragments of pottery, household and cult items, animal remains. The vast majority of finds are fragments of amphorae. Excluding the latter, almost half of the finds belong to fragments of amphora containers, and about twice less belong to simple clay tableware of local production. Imported tableware only slightly supplemented the kitchen and dining sets. Items made of metals, bone, and stone deserve special attention. Interesting finds are: Pantikapaion coins, bone amulets, brands on amphorae, and a large collection of fishing sinkers.
Finds from the filling allow to date the formation of the ash pit to the 320s – 260s years BCE. The size and construction of the pit, the nature of its filling, finds, and human burial indicate the ritual nature of the object under study. The ash pit № 2 was part of an open-air sanctuary.
The geographical position of Viktorivka sanctuary allows it to be classified as an extra-urban sanctuary, which marked the southwestern boundary of Olbia polis. The construction of the sanctuary’s pits was supposedly organized by the authorities, and the sanctuary itself was of an all-state character.
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