New Data on Gorgippia Chora

In economic and political terms, the most important space (chora) of the ancient Greek city founded where the present-day town of Anapa is located was situated south and east of the Gorgippia city walls. It is important to note that the spurs of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and vast lagoons protected the city from unexpected intrusions. The intensive exploitation of the eastern region, the Kotlama and Maskaga River basins forming part of the Anapa plain began in the Hellenistic period. This process reached its peak in the Early Roman period, and was marked by the construction of a watch and alarm system stretching across the entire Abrau peninsula, i.e. the area between the Anapa Bay and the Tsemes Bay.

The Novorossiysk archaeological expedition explored one of the typical constructions of this system, which is a multitier tower known as Dubki near the village Semigorye. Apparently the periphery location helped this tower to be in operation longer than the forts that controlled main communication routes of the region (the Tsemdolinsky and the Vladimirovsky Forts near the farmstead Rassvet). Its builders followed the Hellenistic traditions; for this reason, like other defensive structures of the region, the Dubki tower had a high stone lower tier, with several tiers made from mud bricks, the size of which was not of typical Greek standards, erected over it.

Because of good preservation conditions of the fortification system features dating to the Early Roman Period at the Rayevskoye Fortified settlement, which is located on the steep bank of the Maskaga River, the tower has tremendous importance in exploring warfare of the North Pontic Region as a whole. A chain in the form of a high ridgelike embankment of the towers rectangular in plan that protruded outward from the perimeter and reached six meters in some sections played a key part in the defense of the citadel and the inner space of the fortress (more than nine hectares). The links of this chain were connected by a protechisma, which is a mud-bricked fore-wall on a stone base up to 1.5 m wide.

A fortress at the Verkhnegostagayevskoye site also has a two-tier fortification system, it was discovered by the expedition on the north-eastern borders of the study region. The excavations of a building rectangular in plan measuring 10 × 25 m at the citadel fully confirmed the data obtained by a magnetic survey (A.V. Chudin, St. Petersburg State University). Architectural features of the ancient constructions pulled down at the Gorgippia chora were discovered in the foundation stonework of the building. In addition to its location, the public function of the building is highlighted by two-meter wide doorways arranged in pairs opposite to each other and a tiled roof placed on oak half-beams. The building occupation is dated to the Migration period.

Artifacts from the Rayevskoye site necropolis and the Rodniki necropolis located near the village Natukhayevskaya upstream the Kotlama River suggest a complicated enthopolitical situation and the strongest Bosporan influence on the indigenous elite as early as the 5th century BC. To a certain extent the data obtained confirm information in the list of titles of the Bosporan rulers regarding the Cercetae and the Toreatae, who lived in the Asian Bosporus south-eastern periphery brought to the Bosporan rule, as described in the perisplus, which is a manuscript list of the ports and coastal landmarks.

A.A. Malyshev

Digital Version of the Booklet