Chronology of the “Fat Boy Group” Skyphoi and Amphorae from the Prikubanskiy Burial Ground

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Saratov State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saratov
Affiliation: Kuban State University
Address: Russian Federation, Krasnodar
Affiliation: Kuban State University
Address: Russian Federation, Krasnodar
Affiliation: Saratov State University
Address: Russian Federation, Saratov
Journal nameVestnik drevnei istorii
EditionVolume 81 Issue 2

he article discusses four graves of the Maeotian burial ground “Prikubansky” (burials nos. 186, 253, 262, 384) dating from the first half of the fourth century B.C. Their funeral equipment, along with local handmade and wheelmade pottery, included red-figure skyphoi of the “fluent” style (F.B. Group), amphorae of different production centers, several black-glazed vessels. Cross-dating of various categories of imports has narrowed the chronology of tableware and ceramic containers.

Abstract (other)

В статье рассматриваются четыре погребения из меотского Прикубанского некрополя (№ 186, 253, 262, 384), относящиеся к первой половине IV в. до н.э. В их погребальный инвентарь, наряду с местной лепной и кружальной керамикой, входили краснофигурные скифосы «беглого» стиля (F. B. Group), остродонные амфоры разных производственных центров, отдельные чернолаковые предметы. Перекрестная датировка различных категорий импорта позволила сузить хронологию столовых и тарных сосудов.

KeywordsPrikubansky burial ground, Maeotian culture, import, amphorae, red-figure skyphoi, black-glazed pottery
Keywords list (other)Прикубанский некрополь, меотская культура, импорт, амфоры, краснофигурные скифосы, чернолаковая керамика
AcknowledgmentThe study was conducted with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (Project no. 18-18-00096). This article is a translation of: Кузнецова Е. В., Лимберис Н. Ю., Марченко И. И., Монахов С. Ю. Хронология скифосов «беглого стиля» и амфор из Прикубанского некрополя // Journal of Ancient History [Vestnik drevney istorii] 81/1 (2021), 149–165. DOI: 10.31857/S032103910013527-2
Publication date28.06.2021
Number of characters24272
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In 1998–2001, in the course of rescue investigations of the Krasnodar archaeological expedition of the Kuban State University, a considerable area of a Maeotian necropolis was excavated near the khutor (farmstead) of Prikubansky (Krasnoarmeysky district of Krasnodar Terriroty), that is situated in the flood-plain part of the right bank of the Kuban River, in its lower reaches. Totally, during these four years, 429 burials have been excavated where several thousand items of burial inventory including Maeotian wheelmade pottery and handmade ceramics, jewellery, weapon, etc. were found. Also a large quantity of imported ceramic ware was uncovered. A monographic publication of all the finds is expected in the nearest future, but in the present article, we wish to publish a small block of four complexes (burials nos. 186, 253, 262, and 384) which comprise a set of Attic red-figure skyphoi and amphorae from different production centers. Cross-dates of these categories of pottery considerably supplement our notions of the import dynamics of Greek products to the Maeotian milieu. Analysis demonstrates that Attic red-figured skyphoi were brought to the Maeotians of the Kuban region during a brief period within the first half of the 4th century B.C.

2 In the burials mentioned, four red-figure skyphoi of the Attic type (type A) with painting in a ‘fluent’ style have been uncovered. In its style, the painting of these vessels is comparable to the latest group of the Attic red-figure ware (‘Fat Boy Group’ or the F.B. Group after J.D. Beazley). Fragments with details of a painting of this type and a single archaeologically complete skyphos of this group from the Athenian Agora are dated to the second – third quarters of the 4th century B.C.1 These skyphoi belong to the number of the vessels which were copiously distributed throughout the world of the Classic period until the mid-4th century B.C.2 1.  Moore 1997, 63, Nо. 1303–1305.

2.  Ivanov 1963, 199–201, Pl. 106–108, № 485–488; Trias de Arribas 1967, I, 272, 298, 399, 506–507, lám. CLXIV, 1, 7; CLXVI, 13; CLXXXI, 1; CLXXXV, 5; CCLVI; CCLVII; Picazo 1977, 73, lám. XX; Stoyanov, Erim-Ozdogan 2014, 174–175, Fig. 3, 8а–8b, Cat. № 25.
3 All the skyphoi here considered are produced from light-brown clay without discernible admixtures suggesting their Attic origin. In terms of their shape they have walls sagged near the bottom and an outturned pointed rim. The handles are of round section and trapezoid in the plan, slightly raised. The foot is rounded with a raised edge. The red-figure painting in the ‘fluent’ style, rather carelessly applied, is similar on all these items in its subject and manner of representations: palmettes beneath the handles, and volutes at the sides of the handles. Between the handles, paired figures are represented of young men draped in himation standing opposite each other with muffled hands. The glaze covers the inner and near-bottom parts of the vessels as well as the handles. The glaze is black with brown spots.
4 Totally, at the Maeotian sites on the right bank of the Kuban, now there are known 24 red-figure skyphoi in the ‘fluent’ style (including the fragmentary and reused bottom parts). Only 9 items among them are archaeologically complete forms. A complete skyphos in an excellent state of preservation found in burial 46 of kurgan 2 at the Sereginskaya necropolis in the trans-Kuban region is dated to the second quarter of the 4th century B.C.3 Generally, the period of the use of skyphoi with ‘fluent’ painting, as demonstrated by the complexes of the Prikubansky necropolis, is limited by the first – early third quarter of the 4th century B.C.4 This date corresponds well with the chronological situation with analogous ware in the Northern Black Sea littoral5 and on the Lower Don.6 3.  Leskov, Lapushnian 1987, 149, Cat. № 206, Photo XXV; erroneously dated to the late 4th century B.C.

4.  Limberis, Marchenko 2015, 234–239.

5.  Rogov, Tunkina 1998, 165; Maslennikov 2012, 70, 72, № 12, 13, Fig. 2, 4–5a; Vdovichenko et al. 2019, 49, № 290–326.

6.  Brashinskiy 1980, 55.
5 For a more complete idea about the Maeotic complexes here considered, a brief description of the burials (in the chronological order) will be presented below while red-figure skyphoi, other black-glazed vessels and amphorae from different production centers encountered in association with them will be separately analysed.

Burial No. 253

7 This burial was looted in antiquity, no human skeletal remains were here found.7 The grave goods: red-figure skyphos, two Thasian amphorae, mesh lekythos, handmade and grey-ware pottery, a bronze mirror and several small objects (spindle-whorl, beads, knife). 7.  The iron nails uncovered here possibly suggest the presence of wooden litter or a coffin.
8 Of four skyphoi, the vessel from burial No. 253 (Fig. 1, 2) is distinguished in its squatter shape (with slightly tapering lower body) and, according to the standards of the Athenian Agora, it is datable to a slightly earlier time than the ware from other burials, i.e. to a range within 400–375 B.C.,8 as already noted before.9 As to the painting, on this vessel also the figures of two youths in himation facing each other are depicted. A similar in its style fragment of a skyphos from the Athenian Agora is dated to the beginning of the 4th century B.C.10 Therefore, the skyphos from burial No. 253 can be perhaps considered as belonging to a group preceding that of ‘Fat Boy’ (F.B. Group). 8.  Sparkes, Talcott 1970, 260, no. 349; Moore 1997, 304, no. 1294.

9.  Limberis, Marchenko 2010, 323; 2015, 237.

10.  Moore 1997, 304, no. 1294.
9 The same burial yielded a lekythos with mash ornament (Fig. 1, 1) of which only the upper body is preserved; however it is obvious that this toilet vessel belongs to the Boulas Group.11 The beginning of the manufacture of such lekythoi in the Mediterranean region is dated to the first quarter of the 4th century B.C., while their mass production and wide use in the funerary rite falls on the second – third quarters of that century.12 This date coincides with the period of the regular burying of such lekythoi at necropoleses of the Northern Black Sea Region.13 Mash lekythoi are fairly rare finds at Maeotian burial grounds. Thus three complete examples were found in the Maryanskaya (Maryinskaya) kurgan,14 and yet another one was retrieved from the ritual complex of the Tenginskaya necropolis in the Transkuban region.15 Several fragmentary examples come from the cemetery of Lebedi III.16 They all belong to different issues and are widely dated to the first half of the 4th century B.C. As to the lekythos from burial No. 253, it seems to have belonged to one of the earliest series and, probably, its date can be placed to within the boundaries of the first quarter of the 4th century B.C. At least, a lekythos with exactly the same carefully executed ‘checked’ design over the body and with vertical white spots and bands on the throat comes from burial M.04 at the necropolis of Panskoye I, where it was neighboring an amphora of the Murighiol type of the beginning of the 4th century B.C.17 11.  Vdovichenko, Turova 2006, 42, 116–117, Fig. 21, № 134, 135.

12.  Robinson 1950, 148–150, 160–162, pl. 105–108.

13.  Rogov, Tunkina 1998, 173–174; Rogov 2011, 120–121.

14.  Reports of the Imperial Archaeological Commission (ОАК) in 1912, 54 Fig. 73, above, in the center; Monakhov et al. 2019, 61, Fig. 46.

15.  Erlikh 2011, 26, 50, Fig. 68, 5.

16.  Limberis, Marchenko 2016а, 67–68.

17.  Monakhov, Rogov 1990, 127–128, Pl. 4; Rogov, Tunkina 1998, 173, Fig. 7, № 19; Monakhov 2003, 80, Pl. 55, 4.

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