Lower Dnipro Region Hileia in Antiquity Times
With the discovery of Yahorlyk settlement, the Kinburn Peninsula has recently attracted a great deal of attention in studying the colonization process in the northern Black Sea region. In particular, the comparison of archaeological and ancient Greek literary sources with paleogeographic data makes it possible to restore the dynamics of changes in the geographical situation in antiquity times in the Buh-Dnipro estuary region and gives additional information on forming Greek-barbaric relations in the region. The natural conditions in the Buh-Dnipro estuary region have changed much over the past millennia due to fluctuations in the Black Sea level. In antiquity times, the Kinburn Peninsula was known in the antiquity literary tradition as Hileia, i.e. wooded area, Polissia. But the configuration of the coastline was completely different, and the area was covered with deciduous forest. The Tendra Spit (Achilles’ Run in antiquity times) was connected to the mainland by an isthmus. In addition, the arms of the Dnipro delta flowed through the peninsula, and they might have been navigable in antiquity times.
At the early stage of Greek colonization, namely at the end of the 7th century BCE, on the bank of one of the Dnipro delta arms a settlement was found, which by its morphological characteristics, is defined as a temporary seasonal marketplace where craftsmen worked in the warm season, and according to the typological characteristics of their products the conclusion is made that they were natives of the Dnipro region, the Balkans, the North Caucasus, and the far eastern regions like the Volga region, the Cisurals, and even Southwestern Siberia. The marketplace functioned for a century and its decline was associated with the founding of Olbia, where craftsmen from afar could stay longer than in the temporary marketplace regardless of seasonal weather changes, and rent premises for placing temporary workshops. From Olbia, those craftsmen could spread their activities to the chora settlements, supplying the local population with small production items, as evidenced by solitary worn-out with use casting molds at some of them, as well as by the burial of a barbarian metalworker in Marytsyne burial ground near Olbia. After the craftsmen had left, the constructions were cleaned and all the remains of the workshops were dumped in specially dug garbage pits, similar to the one excavated in the central part of the city in 1982, or in the cellar under the destroyed construction, also excavated in the central part of Olbia in the 1950s.
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