Olbian Perirantheria

  • Alla Buiskykh Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Deputy Director, Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7233-1288
  • Tetiana Shevchenko Junior Research Fellow of the Department of Archaeology of the Lower Buh region, National Historical and Archaeological Reserve «Olbia» of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4237-8074
Keywords: Northern Black Sea region, Olbia, temenos, perirantherion, votive offerings, louterion


From Olbia’s excavations comes a series of ceramic and stone, mostly marble, large open vessels in the shape of shallow bowls, which were installed on high pedestals. On ceramic vessels the stamped decor on the outside of the edge; it usually consisted of several relief belts – Ionic cymatium (ovolos), one or two pearl cords; in the case of marble vessels, only profiling was marked on the outer side of the edge. Such vessels in the modern literature are interpreted as perirantheria. According to the conditions of the finds and the style of the ornament, the earliest of the known vessels belong to the late Archaic period. The peak of their usage falls on the 5th century BCE.

In Olbia, perirantheria have been found in two cult sites, the Western and Southern temenoi, the botroses, and the cultural strata. Their belonging to the cult inventory is unconditional. A wide range of analogies, known from the monuments of the Mediterranean, indicate that the perirantheria were intended for sacred water, which was used for ritual ablutions before and after the sacrifices. Traces of burning on a ceramic vessel originating from the Western Temenos suggest that at some stage of its operation it could be used as an altar for burning offerings.

In the late Classical and Hellenistic periods, louteria became a part of everyday life – identical in shape water vessels, also made of ceramics and stone, mostly marble, but smaller in size. These vessels stood on high pedestals, often designed as fluted columns. The context of such finds is mainly related to residential buildings in both the Mediterranean and Olbia, which suggests a change in their functional usage. In addition, the study of the Olbian collection of ritual vessels opens another unknown page in the nomenclature of goods brought to Olbia.


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