A Prince’s Burial of the Hellenistic Time in the Mezmay Burial Ground (North-Western Caucasus)

Zaitsev Yu. P., Mordvintseva Valentina I., Shevchenko N. F.

In 2004 robbers discovered an unknown burial ground on the northern slope of the Central Caucasus Range, at the hight of 800 m AMSL near the settlement of Mezmay (Apsheron District, Krasnodar Region). Preliminary excavation was conducted there in 2005. Of greatest interest is Grave 3 belonging to a warrior of high social rank. The complex, containing horses’ remains and a rich inventory, is unique not only for the Northern Caucasus, but also for the whole of the North Pontic Area. The inventory includes two bronze helmets, an iron mail, swords, a spear, a javelin and arrow heads, a battle axe, bronze glass and ceramics vessels, gold jewellery, a bronze mirror, an iron baton with figures of animals and many other objects. The grave can be dated to the second half of the 3rd – first half of the 2nd century BC, the necropolis itself to the late Hellenistic or early Roman period. The culture to which the necropolis belongs is difficult to define, but it may be described as connected to the Maeotic antiquities of the region. The authors also publish some bronze and iron helmets from the same area.

Keywords: prince’s burial, North-Western Caucasus, Hellenism, Meotian culture