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21.07.2010. Burial place of Tmutarakan' governors is at Witch (Vedmina) mountain in Taman.

In 2010 employees of Archeology Fund together with scientists of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences began unique excavations on one of Taman barrows located near to the village around Bald (Lysya) and Witch (Vedmina) mountains. This place is known because here are burial places of governors of the antique city of Ghermonassa, one of the most significant cities of the Bospor kingdom. Ghermonassa was known under a name of legendary Tmutarakan', an Old Russian enclave in the territory of the continuous existing antique policy. Studying pre-revolutionary archival documents historians were convinced that burial places of Ancient Tmutarakan' governors are exactly at Witch (Vedmina)mountain, promising sensational finds to researchers.

No full-scale exploration of barrows on Ghermonassa necropolis were conducted from the beginning of the last century having made the excavations unique. In these barrows the well-known Taman sarcophagus was found, a pearl of archaeological collection of the State Historical Museum. The gold items were found during the excavations of the necropolis and are kept in the Gold pantry of the State Hermitage.

The Taman sarcophagus was found occasionally by local Cossacks in 1916 in a barrow crypt on the Bald (Lysaya)mountain in Taman neighbourhood, plundered by treasure hunters. However, it did not prevent scientists under direction of director of Kerch museum V.V.Shkorpel from surveying the burial place to find a lot of interesting finds. Participants of the current expedition hope for important discoveries. According to the available archival materials gold ornaments and other artifacts of great historical and art value could be found in this place. After all, unfortunately, a changing history of the XX century did not allow to finish the researches begun almost a hundred years ago. Only now a possibility to unite scientific, human and material resources for continue these important excavations has been found providing striking archeological results.

The Taman sarcophagus is one of the most well-known monuments of Ancient Art of IV century BC. It comes from the territory of Bospor kingdom, the Ancient Greek state laid on Tamanskiy and Kerch peninsulas. Found in the beginning of XX century the sarcophagus drew at once the attention of experts as an outstanding work of Ancient Greek art. Most likely, it was brought from Greece by request of a notable Bospor grandees. To manufacture it they used marble extracted in mountains of Asia Minor; under a cutter of a skillful master the five-ton marble block acquired perfect proportions.

During the Great Patriotic War occupation authorities decided to move the sarcophagus to Germany. They didn't manage to make it, however some essential damage was brought to the sarcophagus. In 1943 the Soviet authorities arranged sarcophagus restoration.

Excavations will take place from July, 15 till September, 1. During the works it is planned to open up one of the barrows and to fix the entire funeral complex. Besides under the aegis of the Archeology Fund during the expedition the first time in Russia a Field archaeological school will work for all comers. Lectures on archeology, history, restoration basics and anthropology will be read by the leading scientists of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow State University.

Among scientists taking part in the project are: Ph.D. of Historical Sciences, the chief of East Bospor expedition of Archaeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolay Sudarev; Ph.D. of Historical Sciences, employee of Kerch culture preserve Nikolay Fedoseyev; Ph.D. of Historical Sciences, research assistant of Southern science center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennadiy Garbuzov; research assistant of the East-Crimean archaeological expedition of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alla Krajneva; main keeper of funds of Taman culture preserve funds Elmira Ustaeva; Ph.D. of Biology, a teacher of the Moscow State University Stanislav Drobyshevskiy; Ph.D. of Historical Sciences, the employee of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Oleg Chevilev.

Excavations are conducted with the financial support of Archeology Fund by employees of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Taman museum, students of the Krasnodar and Bryansk historical high schools, schoolchildren of the village of Taman and volunteers of Archeology Fund and DHL company. For more details, video and audio materials, please, address to the Director of the Fund Tatyana Dadykina: +7 (909) 644 7435

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