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Material Studies

Ceramics and Finds

ICA-NPTC excavations in the city and chora have resulted in the recovery of enormous quantities of pottery.   They have also uncovered thousands of special finds of every sort, from bronze reliquary crosses to lithic cores to Greek coins.   During the course of excavation, the three-dimensional spatial coordinates of the findspots of objects are recorded, and pottery is collected by numbered context (also know as "stratigraphic unit" or "locus").   The material is washed and dried, if ceramic, or cleaned and stored, if metal or other material.   It is then studied by specialists to answer questions of date, manufacture, and function, in preparation for a final publication in which it can be discussed in its wider use context.

The specialists who carry out this work are staff members at the NPTC, staff members at ICA, and scholars from many other nations and institutions.   As their work is published, the extraordinarily wealthy material record at Chersonesos will enrich the international academic community.   Current work on ceramics includes studies of Greek and Roman transport amphorae and coarseware, Hellenistic fineware, Pontic red slip ware, and Late Byzantine glazed pottery.   The numerous special finds from various projects will be included in the publications of those projects, with contributions by Ukrainian numismatists, Russian glass specialists, Western experts in ceramics and minor objects, and NPTC scholars.

Painted Grave Stelai

ICA was invited by the director of the National Preserve in 1992 to undertake the study for publication of a collection of funerary monuments from the early Hellenistic necropolis of Chersonesos.   Excavated in the 1960s and 1970s by the National Preserve in the Tower of Zeno and the city wall, they number approximately 300 fragmentary stelai and architectural elements, and comprise one of the most numerous examples of the use of color in Greek art and architecture.   Initial documentation, cataloguing, and color photography, in collaboration with one of the excavators, Prof. Vitali Dunielenko, Tauric University, Simferopol, was completed by 2000.   At that time, an international team, consisting of Prof. Joseph Carter, University of Texas; Dr. Richard Posamentir of the DAI, Instanbul; Prof. Paula Perlman, University of Texas; architect Christina Lippert and colleagues; and architectural historian Dr. Alla Buyskikh, Institute of Archaeology Kyiv, was formed to carry out a detailed study of the material. The results of this study will soon be published in English in two major monographs.

Scientific Research

One of the major strengths of the collaboration between ICA and the NPTC is its integrated approach to the various sorts of evidence for life in the past.   ICA-NPTC projects have consistently brought in scientific specialists from various disciplines to study the less visible contents of the archaeological record.   This work is always integrated into the broader study of context and diachronic development; as a result, we can say a great deal about aspects of ancient life that usually remain obscure.  
Our excavations in the chora and in the city rely on the knowledge and expertise of a wide range of scientific specialists.   Among these collaborators are paleobotanist Galina Pashkevich; archaeozoologists Alexei Kasparov and Oleg Zhuravliov; archaeometallurgist Chris Salter; and physical anthropologists Renata Henneberg and Denys Ponomarev. Their contributions have allowed us to understand the agricultural development of the chora across time; interpret the nature of midden deposits and the species of animals represented in the ancient diet; reconstruct the precise nature of the smithing activity in an urban residential block; and examine the demography, nutrition, and pathologies of past populations.   The fruits of such research are even richer for their integration with GIS-based recording systems, which allow us to create graphic and conceptual spatial links between the results of analyses and excavation context, individual samples, and even individual vessels.   The specialists who collaborate in our projects also promote scholarly contact across methodological and international boundaries: not only do we work with some of the finest members of the Ukrainian scientific community, but we bring to the site Russian, American, European and Australian experts, all of whom share their experience and knowledge with colleagues, excavation participants, and local researchers.