Yatsenko S.A. Two Sarmatian Stone Slabs with Tamgas in Odessa Archeological Museum Collections

Sergey A. Yatsenko, Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Department of the History and Theory of Culture, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya Sq., 6, 125993 Moscow, Russian Federation
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Abstract. Based on a series of high-quality photos, new analysis was performed for tamgas along with animal and male images on Sarmatian stone slabs from Kryvyi Rih and from Gorgippia. Both stone slabs were created as a result of natural shape stones edges chipping; both were dug into the ground and functioned as the mini-shrines located, probably, in sacred places or at the settlement entrances. They are similar in size, both painted red and both contain a number of sacrificial recesses at the top (in the sacred numbers 3 or 7). Slab from Kryvyi Rih (Figs. 1–2) depicts large earliest signs (mostly used on territories of Western Ukraine and the “barbarian” parts of Crimea) placed around the head of a god with animal ears (similar to the Ossetian Afsati). The later minor signs include the largest number of the Lower Don and the Central Asia (Kangju, Khorezm) tamgas. Also the signs of the kings found here (the ruler of Khorezm – no. 9, the co-ruler of Tiburius Julius Eupator of Bosporus – no. 8). The complex of images was in use since the beginning of the 1st until the middle of the 3rd centuries CE. Five hands of different men are depicted in relief on the stone slab from Gorgyppia (Fig. 3). There are three hands with goblets for making a contract and a quiver with a belt in front of them (probable heroization motif). There are also a hand raised for prayer and a hand passing a quiver. Those three participants match three tamgas (belonging to the “barbarian” regions of Crimea) and three sacrificial recesses at the top. All the images on the slab were probably made at the same time, shortly after the middle of the 2nd c. CE.
Key words: Sarmatian stone slabs with tamgas, mini-shrines, the 1st – 3rd cc. CE, worship of the God Master of Animals, ritual of making a contract, principles of tamgas placement near zoomorphic and anthropomorphic images.
Citation. Yatsenko S.A., 2021. Dve sarmatskih kamennyh plity s tamgami iz kollektsii Odesskogo arheologicheskogo muzeya [Two Sarmatian Stone Slabs with Tamgas in Odessa Archeological Museum Collections]. Nizhnevolzhskiy Arkheologicheskiy Vestnik [The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin], vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 204-216. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/nav.jvolsu.2021.1.10
Two Sarmatian Stone Slabs with Tamgas in Odessa Archeological Museum Collections by Yatsenko S.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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