The Second Mykhailivka Barrow, the 5th Century BC Monument in the Tiasmyn River Region

  • Oleksandr Mohylov The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, The Institute of Archaeology, The Iron Age Archaeology Department, Senior Research Fellow, Ph.D. in History http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2400-2380
Keywords: Scythian period, mound, burial, bridle, weapons

Abstract

In 2018—2019, the Scythian Right-bank Ukraine expedition, organized by the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the National Historical and Cultural Reserve “Chyhyryn” conducted a research of the barrows near Mykhailivka village, Kamianka district, Cherkasy Region.

A group of two barrows was located on a high cape to the north-east of the village, in “Shpyli” tract. Barrow No. 2 had a height of 1.02 m and a diameter of 26.4 m. The barrow mound was made of black soil. In its center, at a distance of 0.9 m from each other, two wooden pillars were found. A barrow was excavated under the mound, surrounded by a clay waste, 11.9—12.4 m in diameter, up to 4.7 m wide and up to 0.74 m thick. There were gaps in it from the western and southern sides.

The burial, rectangular in section, turned out to be robbed. It was a pit with a step, measuring 4.30 × 3.34 m with depth of 2.03 m. The skeleton of a man of 40—50 years old was destroyed and scattered around the tomb. The child’s bones were also discovered in its filling. The deceased were accompanied by sacrificial food: meat of a cow and a pig.

The inventory was plundered. In situ, a part of finds at the northern wall remained, overlaid by a landslide. There were four sets of bridles and arrowheads. Among the horse equipment were iron bits and cheek-pieces; and also — bronze cheek-pieces, rings, frontlet, pendants, vorvorkas and with them — a wonderful set of badges. Some of them, made in Scythian animal style, are especially beautiful. They depict the heads of moose and the legs of a bird of prey. In the central part of the grave, in addition, fragments of a large earthenware pot, jewelry, and an ankle bone were found.

According to the finds, barrow No. 2 in Mykhailivka can be dated by 2nd quarter — the middle (3rd quarter) of the 5th century BC. The wealth of the inventory testifies to the fact that a noble horseman was buried at this monument. The presence of a large settlement of the Scythian time nearby, with an area of up to 100 hectares, allows suggesting that the necropolis could belong to the settlement leaders. The necropolis in Mykhailivka shows us a kind of synthesis of steppe and forest-steppe burial traditions. Apparently, it displays a complex picture of interethnic relations in the south of the Ukrainian Forest-Steppe during the Scythian period.

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