Scythian weapons and horse harness in the territory of Serbia

The objects of Scythian origin in the territory of Serbia, which show the cultural contacts. Weapons, arrowheads, bits and horse harness of Scythian origin from burials. Burial mounds of the Early Iron Age in the areas of Atenica, Pilatovici and Romaja.

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Scythian weapons and horse harness in the territory of Serbia

M. Ljustina, I. Nincic

The article analyses the objects of Scythian origin in the territory of Serbia, which show the cultural contacts. Weapons and harness of Scythian origin in Serbia are not numerous and come mostly from burials and as accidental finds. Weapons were found in burial mounds of the Early Iron Age in the areas of Atenica, Pilatovici near Pozega, and Romaja near Prizren. The finds can be traced from Vrsac in the north to Prizren in the south, and the vicinity of Pozega in the west. In most cases they are the items imported from the territory of traditional residence of the Scythians.

Keywords: weapons, horse harness, Scythian, Serbia, import, arrowheads, bits, akinakes.

Introduction. Speaking in general terms, the communities -- bearers of the Early Iron Age cultures in the territory of Serbia were attributed to the tribes of the Balkan peninsula of Illyrian, Thracian, Triballian, Autariataean and Daco- Getic origin. A rather small amount of material remains which could be associated with Scythian tribes is insufficient to reflect their way of arrival to the Balkans, with only arrowheads indicating some sort of exchange. Mutual conflicts are not excluded [cf. Jovanovic, 1999, p. 39]. Archaeological excavations, so far, have not led to a discovery of a settlement or a necropolis that could be associated with Scythians, but rather to a certain number of movable artefacts, generally found as grave goods. The artefacts, with solid archaeological context, are considered to be imported part of the grave inventory in the sites related to other Iron Age ethnic groups. Research of the so-called Scythian horizon, thus, begins with investigations of these sites in Serbia and refers to identification of artefacts of Scythian origin and their stylistic and typological analysis (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Map of archaeological sites with Scythian weapon and horse harness finds on the territory of Serbia

In the late 1950s archaeological excavation began in the prehistoric site of Ritopek, in the vicinity of Belgrade, in which the Bronze Age, and Early and Late Iron Age objects and graves were ascertained. Two pairs of horse bits with bridles (part of a horse harness) were discovered within the grave inventories, as well as two decorative plates for harness [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, с. 153], which are considered one of the first and most recognizable Scythian finds in Serbia. During the same period two mounds in Atenica, near Cacak, were excavated [ЪукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966]. Excavations resulted in greatest number of the Scythian finds discovered in a single site in Serbia. A bone dagger hilt, seven arrowheads, a horse bit, as well as a harness ring, were all discovered in the context of a princely grave. Once more in a funerary context, in the site of At, on the outskirts of Vrsac, a spearhead was found, together with two bronze arrowheads. In Pilatovici, near Pozega, the greatest number of arrowheads uncovered in a single spot, were found in the 1970s. A total of 25 pieces were found in the outer rim of the mound, within a cremated grave [Zotovic, 1985, p. 97]. During the 1970s, excavations in Zlotska pecina (Zlot cave), a cave site with a wider chronological span, led to a discovery of two axes of Scythian origin [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102], with a similar specimen found in a mound in Romaja near Prizren [ЪуриЬ, ГлишиЬ, Jовановиh, 1975, с. 41--42].

A number of Serbian scholars made their contributions to better understanding of the Scythian horizon of finds. B. Jovanovic was engaged in analysis of Scythian animal style, trying to present artefacts, decorated in the style typical for Scythians, found in former Yugoslavia, and to determine analogies and origin of this decorative manner. R. Vasic wrote about Thraco-Cimmerian, Scythian and Thraco-Getic influences in the Danube basin of former Yugoslavia [Vasic, 1987, p. 559--571]. However, M. Parovic-Pesikan contributed to the study of the Scythian horizon in greatest extent in her attempt to present the finds and perform typological analysis with contemporary works from countries of the Scythian origin taken into consideration [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 101-- 107]. Her paper from the mid 1990s was a review of findings provided by archaeological research in the second half of 20th century, considering the question of Scythians in the territory of Serbia.


When the weapons of Scythian origin are in question, amongst many finds of arrowheads inthe territory of Serbia, there is only one short iron sword, a Scythian akinakes, found near Vrsac (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Akinakes from Vrsac []

It was discovered by chance on the Magarcevo Brdo site. It is made out of wrought iron and 30 cm long [Milleker, 1898; Господари ..., 1990, с. 200]. Archaeological context of the find is unclear due to nature of discovery. M. Parovic-Pesikan classified this weapon as a dagger, on the basisof the length, and recognized it as type 1 in the typology of A. Melyukova [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102]. To be categorized as a sword, a weapon must be at least 40--45 cm in total length, or 30--35 cm in blade length [Топал, 2004, p. 26]. Type 1 includes daggers with a flat horizontal crossbar on top, kidney shaped hand protector, and a blade in the form of an elongated triangle with a rhomboid cross section. Similar pieces were found on several sites in Ukraine [Мелюкова, 1964, с. 47]. In the opinion of R. Vasic, the dagger could be dated at the first half of the 5th century BC [ВасиЬ, 1987, с. 564]. Since there is no archaeological context of the find, M. Parovic-Pesikan chronologically positioned this piece to the second half of the 6th century BC, based on typological similarities with the finds from Hungary and Transylvania [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102]. In this area Scythian akinakai start to appear in the 6th century BC, and are linked to the cultural groups of Vekerzug and Ciumbrud [Топал, 2004, с. 29]. D. Topal associated the Vrsac akinakes with the type named after the famous Fettersfelf find [Топал, 2014, с. 7--8]. The swords of the Tisa basin and Transylvania are predominantly smaller in size, and are considered symbolic in character, with their utilization being questioned. Differences in military practice could be the reason behind this phenomenon. Bearers of the cultural groups in this area preferred battle axes and bows and arrows, as indicated by a larger amount of these weapons found in Transylvania and the Tisa basin then in steppes [Топал, 2004, с. 26]. Similar akinakai were discovered on several sites near Harkov. However, the lack of archaeological context makes their dating difficult. Based on the typological characteristics, authors concur on a range from the late 7th to the 5th century BC [Бабенко, 2009, с. 24--26].

Fig. 3. Atenica -- bone dagger hilt [ЪукниЬ, ЛовановиЬ, 1966, таб. XXII, 7a--с]

Fig. 4. Zlotska pecina: 1a -- Type I axe; 1b -- Type II axe [ВасиЬ, 1977, таб. 20, 16, 17]

Besides the sword from Vrsac, one bone dagger hilt was discovered in Atenica near Cacak (Fig. 3). Archaeological site in Atenica consists of two princely mounds, explored in systematic excavation campaign of 1958--59 [ЪукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966, с. 2]. Mound I contains a female burial of a princess in the middle part, and a burial of a younger male at the side. Mound II is bigger and contains a burial of an adult male -- the prince. Both graves are rich in goods, including weapons, gold and silver jewellery, bone decorations, Greek bronze vessels, pottery, horse harness, cult and ritual items and other objects. Mound II, in which the bone dagger hilt was discovered, was dated at the late 6th and early 5th century BC, based on the Etruscan box with decorative relief [Васин, 2009, с. 111]. Hilt end is decorated with a relief of a griffin head, which is comparable with Scythian animal style, while the opposite end is decorated with concentric circles and a sequence of hatched triangles, typical for Illyrian geometric style. Similarly decorated bronze vessels, however, point to a Greek origin [ЪукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966, с. 47]. Bone horse bit ends of Scythian provenance, identically decorated as the dagger hilt from Atenica, were discovered in Kurgan 2, on the site of Ak- syutince in Ukraine [Ильинская, 1968, с. 38]. If the animal head should be interpreted as a bird head, similar pattern could be found with Greek machairai. Greek swords are of curved blades with an average blade length of 44--48 cm. Early types have hilts decorated with a bird head, while later models have heavily stylized curved hilts, without any recognizable prototype [Cermanovic, 1957, p. 76]. Similarly decorated sword hilt was found in Hungary, in the area of influence of Vekerzug culture [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102]. Bone dagger hilt end, similarly modelled, was discovered in one of the graves of Chotin necropolis. Burial site in Chotin, in southern Slovakia, is the most important and best explored site of the Vekerzug culture [cf. Kozubova, 2013]. Zoomorphic figure presumably represents a bird head with a curved beak [Kozubova, 2013, p. 105].

Three specimens of Scythian axes were discovered in Serbia, two of which in Zlotska pecina and one in Romaja mound near Prizren. Zlotska pecina is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Serbia, as well as the most completely explored prehistoric cave site in Northeastern Serbia. Horizons of occupation range from early Eneolithic, up until the Late Iron Age [Капуран, БулатовиЬ, Jовановиh, 2014, с. 123--125]. First specimen is an axe-hammer, with flat or slightly protruding edges (Fig. 4, 1a). Other specimen from Zlotska pecina, discovered in grave 5, has lowered and bent blade edges (Fig. 3, 1b) [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102]. The first example from Zlotska pecina is an early type of axe-hammer with flat or slightly bulging edges, with analogous finds in Starshaya mogila near the village of Aksyutince and in a mound near the village of Popovka on the left bank of Dnieper river, which are dated at the 6th century BC [Ильинская, 1968, с. 92]. A. Kozubova classifies these axes as the type 2, variant 2, amongst finds from the Chotin necropolis, in the Vekerzug culture area of influence. Main characteristic of this type is an asymmetrically set handle opening, as well as a wide, fan-like spread blade. Opening is located in the first third of the axe length from the flat end, with the blunt end having a rectangular cross section. These axes are dated from the late 7th to the mid 6th century BC [Kozubova, 2010, p. 51--53]. The other piece from Zlotska pecina, discovered in grave 5, has a lowered and bent blade edge, and is identical to late type axes discovered in Hungary and Transylvania, in the cultural area of Vekerzug [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 102]. It is similar to the axe from Romaja, though there are no analogous finds in Scythia. Similar axes in Chotin necropolis are classified by A. Kozubova as type I -- axes with symmetrically set handle opening and a rectangular blunt end, and dated at the second half of the 6th century BC [Kozubova, 2010, p. 47--51].

Fig. 5. Spearhead from Vrsac-At

Romaja necropolis consists of a total of 16 mounds grouped in two zones. Three mounds were explored in the early 1970s. A «najak» type axe was discovered in grave 5 (Fig. 4, 2) along with a large stone plate construction and a partially preserved human skeleton [Djuric, Glisic, Todorovic, 1975, p. 41--42]. It is made of iron, with one end shaped into a blade, and the opposite ending like a mallet, with a handle opening set in the middle. Total length is 20 cm, with the blade being 2 cm long, and mallet diameter of 2 cm [Djuric, Glisic, Todorovic, 1975, p. 45]. According to A. Kozubova typology, this axe belongs to type I, variant 1, of axes with symmetrically set handle opening and a blunt end with a rectangular cross section [Kozubova, 2010, p. 47--51]. The Romaja axe bears most resemblance to the second axe find from Zlotska pecina.

Only one spearhead of Scythian origin was discovered in Serbia, in At, on the outskirts of Vrsac (Fig. 5). During the exploitation of sand pit on the north-western outskirts of the town, several graves from different periods were discovered. The older prehistoric burials dated back to the local Early Iron Age, while the younger belonged to the final stage of the middle La Tene of the Carpathian basin. The youngest graves were from Late Antiquity [ЛовановиЬ, 1974, с. 299]. The spearhead was discovered in a grave along with two bronze arrowheads, a string of amber beads and spiral ornaments made of bronze wire. Another grave contained a carinated pot-urn, analogous to those in the so-called «Scythian» burial sites of the Carpathian basin, from North-eastern Slovakia to Transylvania and the Eastern Danube basin [Лованович, 1974, с. 305]. The spearhead is made of iron, with an almond-shaped blade, long inset shaft and a cross-section shaped like an elongated rhomboid. Chronological attribution of the spearhead from Vrsac-At was made possible by the discovery of a carinated pot-urn in one of the graves. These types of vessels were discovered in graves of Chotin necropolis in southern Slovakia, and are linked to the early stage of the Vekerzug culture, around 6th century BC, though later production is not excluded [Kozubova, 2013, p. 142]. The presence of the pot indicates spearhead dating to roughly 6th century BC. Following A. Melyukova's typology, M. Parovic- Pesikan classified this piece to the leaf-shaped spearheads type, with a long, narrow inset shaft without distinctly expressed central rib and inset shaft length equal to blade length, which places it into type 3, group 1 [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. Spearheads of this type are either completely flat, or forged with two slopes, with a thickening in the middle, so that cross-section has a very elongated rhomboid shape [Мелюкова, 1964, с. 38]. This form can be found in burial sites in Transylvania and Slovakia and is dated from 6th to 4th century BC. Vrsac piece could match this cultural and chronological frame, though, considering arrowheads from the grave, it could be older [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. According to A. Kozubova, this spearhead can be classified as type V -- spearheads with almond-shaped blade leaf and a long inset shaft. They are dated as early as the first half of the 6th century BC, with some examples that could be dated at the 4th century BC [Kozubova, 2013, p. 98--99].

Except arrowheads, remains of other archer equipment, like bow and quiver, were not found in Serbia. Grave finds are usually in small lots, up to 10 pieces, with damage and deformation being common due to grave burning practices [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. Two bronze trilobated arrowheads, made of cast iron, were discovered in a grave in Vrsac-At, along with an iron spearhead, a string of amber beads and spiral ornaments made of bronze wire (Fig. 5, 1) [Господари ..., 1990, с. 199]. Burials were dated at around 6th century BC, based on a find of a carinated vessel in one of the neighbouring graves [Лованович, 1974, с. 305]. These vessels are related to the early phase of the Vekerzug culture, though later production is not excluded [Kozubova, 2013, p. 142]. According to the typological division made by A. Kozubova, based on the research of Chotin necropolis, the Vrsac arrowheads should be classified as type II, variant 3 [Kozubova, 2013, p. 91]. Arrowheads of this type are trilobated, with a blade leaf of triangular or almond shape, and are dated at the 6th and early 5th century Bc [Kozubova, 2013, p. 89--90].

Fig. 6. Arrowheads from Vrsac (1); Arrowheads from mound I in Atenica (2a); Arrowheads from mound II in Atenica [БукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966, таб. XX, 19, 20; XXIV, 1--5] (2b); Arrowheads from Pilatovici [Zotovic, 1985, tab. XXXII, 4] (3); Arrowheads discovered on the Danube bank (4: a -- Type 1; b -- Type 2; c -- Miscellaneous [ТодоровиЬ, 1971, таб. XXXIX, 5--20]; Arrowhead from an unknown site in Ram [Orojtfh, Jацановиh, 2008, таб. LXXXIX, 1] (5); Arrowheads from the male grave in Pecka Banja [Луци, 1998, с. 582, сл. 220] (6)

Two specimens of bronze arrowheads were discovered in peripheral grave of mound I in At- enica (Fig. 6, 2a), with another five pieces, made of iron, in the central grave of mound II (Fig. 6, 2b) [ЪукниЬ, Лованович, 1966, с. 19--48]. The majority are trilobated arrowheads with a hidden inset shaft, with the exception of those with an opening on the inset shaft and the blade tip cut off [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. The arrowheads from Atenica are dated at 6th--5th century BC, with an exception of one double-edged arrowhead from mound II, which could be assorted to the first chronological group [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103; Мелюкова, 1964, табл. 6--7]. Most of them are trilobated arrowheads with a concealed inset shaft, with the exception of those with an opening on the inset shaft and cut off blade points [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. According to A. Kozubova's typology, both arrowheads from the mound I, as well as three pieces from mound II, can be classified as type I, variant 3 of trilobated arrowheads of triangular or almond shape. They are dated at the 6th and first half of the 5th century. One of the arrowheads from mound II is of trihedron-triangular type -- type II, variant 2, dated at the second half of 6th and first half of the 5th century BC. Last piece is a double-edged arrowhead, dated not before the end of the 6th century BC [Kozubova, 2013, p. 91].

In Pilatovici necropolis, near Pozega, out of 30 registered mounds, a total of 17 were preserved, more or less damaged by agricultural or other works. Two smaller sites were ascertained during the 1970s: Ravni lug, a military and civilian burial ground, and Trnjaci, where a prominent member of society was buried, most probably an Illyrian prince with his closest family members [Zotovic, 1985, p. 80--88; Jevtic, 2016]. Arrowheads discovered in the grave in Pilatovici are the oldest specimens found in Serbia (Fig. 6, 3). A total of 25 pieces were discovered in the southern peripheral part of the mound, within a cremated grave [Zotovic, 1985, p. 97]. Majority of the arrowheads are double-edged, though thereare some trilobated pieces, with a large cylindrical inset shaft and an oval blade head. In accordance with A. Melyukova's typology, M. Parovic- Pesikan classified them as group I, type 1. Dating is set to 7th--6th century BC [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103; Мелюкова, 1964, с. 18]. Arrowheads of the second type of the first chronological group, with similar dating, are also present. These pieces have sharp leaf shape of the blade, with the greatest width in the base [Мелюкова, 1964, с. 18].

Fig. 7. Iron bits with bridle from Atenica (1); Ring for attaching rein to bridle from Atenica (2)

Best preserved specimens of arrowheads were collected on the Danube bank near Zemun [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 103]. Out of a total of 16 pieces, with the exception of two, all are with a concealed inset shaft (Fig. 6, 4). Despite excellent condition, interpretative value of these finds is restricted by a lack of an archaeological context. According to the typology from Chotin necropolis, 10 arrowheads can be classified as type 1 (trilobated type), out of which only one is a variant 2 (tower shaped), while the rest are variant 3 (triangular or almond shaped) (Fig. 6, 4a). They are dated from the 6th to the first half of the 5th century BC [Kozubova, 2013, p. 89--90]. Four arrowheads are analogous to type 2 (trilobated-triangular shaped), variant 1 (tower shaped) (Fig. 5, 4b). They are dated to the 6th century BC, particularly to the second half of the 6th century, but also appear in the first half of the 5th century [Kozubova, 2013, p. 89--90]. One of them is atriple-edged arrowhead with an inset shaft that makes up roughly a third of the total length, and a blade leaf of elongated rhomboid shape (Fig. 5, 4c). This form is not found in Chotin necropolis, with closest analogy in chronological group II, according to A. Melyukova, dated to 6th--5th century BC in south-western Ukraine [Мелюкова, 1964, табл. 7, Б10]. The last example is a swallowtail type arrowhead (Fig. 6, 4c), with a long perforated inset shaft, a kind that is not found in sites of Vekerzug culture, or in Scythia, which makes its Scythian origin questionable.

A double-edged bronze arrowhead with a concealed inset shaft came from an unknown site in Ram, and was dated at Early Iron Age, from the early 6th until late 4th century BC (Fig. 6, 5). The arrowhead is with a round cross section [СтсиЬ, Jацановиh, 2008, с. 233]. According to the typology of A. Kozubova, this piece should be assorted to type 3, variant 3, of double-edged arrowheads with an almond shaped blade leaf [Kozubova, 2009, p. 69]. They are rare in the neighbouring countries, with only a single arrowhead of this type, which was discovered in Chotin necropolis. They are dated roughly at the first half of the 6th century BC [Kozubova, 2009, p. 80--81].

Fig. 8. Bits with bridle: 1 -- grave 12 in Ritopek [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, табл. II, 13]; 2 -- chance find from Ritopek [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, табл. III, 5]

Protective archaeological excavation at the site Pecka Banja, located on the road to Kosovska Mitrovica, 12 km west of Pec, yielded a devastated rich tomb of a princely couple. Graves were dated at the 6th century BC, based on Greek black- figure pottery. Gender attribution of one of the burials as male was based on the nature of finds, including weapons, silver and bronze buckle and one male ring, since skeletal remains were not found [Луци, 1998, с. 577]. Weapon finds include eight arrowheads made of cast bronze (Fig. 6, 6), roughly 1,5--2,2 cm in length [Луци, 1998, с. 582]. According to A. Kozubova's typology, all of the pieces found in Pecka Banja are of type I, variant 3: trilobated arrowheads with a concealed inset shaft, almond or triangular shape. They are dated at the 6th and the first half of the 5th century BC [Kozubova, 2013, p. 89--90].


In the central grave of mound I in Atenica an iron horse bit with bridle was discovered, along with pieces of chariot fittings (Fig. 7, 1). Judging by the burning marks, the deceased was burned on the chariot [ЪукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966, с. 29]. Rein was connected to bridle via rings, which could be round or in other shapes, and such a ring was found in mound II in Atenica (Fig. 6, 2). The round ring was attached to a triangular buckle [ЪукниЬ, Jовановиh, 1966, с. 32]. The type of bridle discovered in this grave is not distinctive for Scythia in the 6th century BC, though a similar form of early Scythian bits made of bone can be found. Bone sample could have been used as a pattern for later iron models discovered inthe Carpathian necropolises of Vekerzug culture [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 104]. According to A. Kozubova's typology, this type of bridle can be classified as type II, Sentes-Vekerzug bridle, with rings on the side ends. Since the Atenica piece is heavily fragmented, it is not possible to determine the variant of type II, which places dating into a broader range from the first half of the 6th up until the first half of the 5th century BC [Kozubova, 2011, p. 79--83]. The ring discovered in mound II of Atenica probably served as a part of a horse harness. Although these rings were used for other purposes, this type of ring with a buckle was discovered frequently in Scythian graves along with other pieces of horse harness, as seen in kurgan 2 in Aksyutince [Ильинская, 1968, табл. XVI, 10]. Bit with bridle discovered in Tolsta mogila has this kind of ring interconnected to the external loop, so that rein can be attached to the triangular buckle [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 104].

Two pairs of horse bits with bridle were discovered in Ritopek. First pair of bits was discovered in grave 12, and is a type with longways bars, that end with pyramidal heads (Fig. 7, 1). C- shaped (arc-shaped), they have three rectangular slots on the middle widened parts. Bars are tied by bits, made of two twisted joints also connected by rings. On one end, the bit is attached to the bars with a hoop, while the other ends with a ring. Total length of the bit is approximately 20 cm [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, с. 155]. It has a close analogy in mound Tolsta mogila from the 4th century BC [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 104]. There are no analogous finds in Chotin necropolis. The other pair of bits with bridle was discovered by chance, without any archaeological context (Fig. 7, 2). The bit is S-shaped, made of iron, and roughly 30 cm long [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, с. 156]. Bridle of this type, with ends decorated with animal heads, can be found in the mounds of forest steppe as early as the 5th century BC as seen in Aksyutince [Ильинская, 1968, с. 118].

Only three pieces of decorative plates were discovered in Serbia, two in Ritopek and one in

Barace near Tekija. Ritopek plates are chance finds, however, nature of the site with numerous graves, indicates a possible grave context [ТодоровиЬ, 1966, с. 155--156]. The larger piece is shaped like an animal head surrounded from the lower side with radially lined spiral volutes made by casting bronze (Fig. 9, 1). The smaller one is shaped like a very stylized animal head (maybe a fantastic beast like a griffin), with an arched ornament, and is also made of cast bronze (Fig. 8, 2) ИовановиЬ, 1977, с. 22]. Modelling and style of both decorative plates from Ritopek indicate Scythian animal style. Spiral ornaments, however, like those on the larger plate, are not typical for Scythian art. Stylized head of the first plate could have represented a deer, a common motif of Scythian animal style, and is widespread on the territory populated by Scythians. Spiral volute ornamentation of deer horns originates from a tradition of designing horns as bird heads, with examples in mounds of north Crimea and Thrace. Examples of heavily stylized horn ornamentation, as well as more common realistic way, indicate deviations from characteristic decorative patterns of Scythian animal style of the 5th century BC, 1977, с. 23]. There is a presumption that animal on the plate is not a deer, but a griffin. In that case, spiral ornaments would represent wings of a griffin or a lion, although modelling fashion would not be typical. Head of the animal is also not depicted in a way typical for a lion or a griffin, but in a distinctive way for deer depictions of animal style in the lower Danube basin and Black Sea steppes. The Ritopek plate probably served as a decoration for horse harness. Deer depiction fits Scythian animal style, but with an iconographic order somewhat changed. Mutually opposed position of horns and head is a deviation, and with this taken into account, the depiction could be considered a sort of a deer protoma, and not a complete figure, 1977, с. 24]. Similar deer head design can be seen on a decorative application from Craiova hoard, with loosely depicted horns, reduced to unusual, almost symbolic dimensions, ending with volutes, decorated with shallow, parallel notches. Another analogous piece can be found in a grave in Transylvania. This bronze application depicts a roughly contoured deer, in a usual icongraphicpose, with bent front legs, and summarized horn represented by triangles, resembling simplified lyre 1977, с. 24].

Fig. 9. Larger decorative plate from Ritopek (1); Smaller decorative plate from Ritopek (2) [ТодоровиЬ, 1971, таб. XLV]

Fig. 10. Bronze buckle from Barace [Todorovic, 1968, tab. I

Second plate from Ritopek is conducted even more summarily, though it can be with some certainty concluded that it is a bird head, most probably of a griffin. Fastening hole, instead of a buckle or a ring, is not a common feature of items made in animal style of the Iron Age, 1977, с. 25].These depictions of certain parts of animal bodies are typical for Scythian lands in the 5th-- 4th century BC [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 106]. Closer analogy can be found in a silver plate from a rich Thraco-Getic grave in Agighiol in Dobruja, dated to around 400 BC. The plate has a griffin head depicted in a similar manner, with a stand decorated with spiral curls representing stylized clutches with interposed palm tree motifs, considered to be made by a local craftsman [Berciu, 1974, p. 69--70]. Agighiol application is an evidence of the development of same tendencies of Scythian art, with intensive Greco-Thracian influences in the time of arrival of Scythian tribes in Dobruja [ПаровиЬ-Пешикан, 1994, с. 106]. Some authors conclude that Ritopek plates are likely products of local craftsmen, inhabiting north-eastern parts of the Pannonian basin and Transylvania in the 5th and first half of 4th century BC, 1977, с. 25].

A bronze buckle made in Scythian animal style (Fig. 9) was discovered in Barace, in the Irong Gates, by chance, without archaeological context, although the site was of multi-layered settlement character [Todorovic, 1968, с. 57; JовановиЬ, 1977, с. 21]. The buckle is in shape of an elongated lion, made by cast bronze. Middle part of the body is divided by a pronounced rib, while the edges are decorated with deeply rifled lines and strips, decorated with skewed notches. Mane is depicted by short transverse rifles, as well as hind limbs. Ears and eyes are depicted in an ornamental element of «eight», while mouth is pronounced with massive semi arched strips. Buckle dimensions are roughly 9,1 x 2,6 cm ^овановиЬ, 1977, с. 21]. Dating of the find can be accomplished with some certainty based on analogous pieces discovered innorth-western Bulgaria. Lion shaped item found in Kalugerovo, near Botevgrad, is conducted in an even more evident geometric manner, while Toros buckle has a somewhat shorter animal body. Application from Barace stylistic design is more similar to Toros find, dated at the 4th century BC [Паровин-Пешикан, 1994, с. 104].


Appearance of the spearheads typical for the warlike, nomadic tribe from the Black sea coasts in the region of the Central Balkans, together with parts of weaponry and horse harness in princely graves in Atenica and Pilatovici, was explained by «probable contacts between the Illyrians and the Scythians» [ЪукниЬ, JовановиЬ, 1966, с. 85], at the moment of their penetration into the Pan- nonian zones during the 6th and 5th century BC, most probably as a consequence of trade or war loot. According to M. Parovic-Pesikan [Паровин- Пешикан, 1994, с. 107], the material of Scythic origin, being few in number, was brought to the Central Balkans as a result of exchange with neighbouring regions, and not as a consequence of settling of Scythian tribes. The problem of presence of Scythian products in funerary context of the Early Iron Age of the Central Balkans is a specific field or research, but S. Babic [БабиЬ, 2004, с. 133] stated that the Scythic arrowheads from the graves indicated a possibility to trace their meaning not in the contacts with nomadic settlers of the Lower Danube Basin and the Black Sea region, but in some other contexts. Namely, a function different from the obvious purpose of a projectile can be attributed to the arrowheads, leading to a totally different context. For the Scythian warriors, bronze arrowheads were not only the most common type of weaponry, but they had a symbolic sense, representing warriors themselves, their strength and honour [БабиЬ, 2004, с. 134 with references]. If it is presumed that the presence of arrowheads is a sort of preparation for the monetary system in exchange between the Greeks and the Scythians in the Pontic area, their presence in the Central Balkans graves with Greek import can be understood as a sign that the similar procedure was applied to the inhabitants of the Central Balkans, too. Since the number of these finds is very small in every single case and having in mind the number of grave units as well, it can be concluded that this attempt did not make a deep impression on the Balkan peoples [БабиЬ, 2004, с. 134]. On the other hand, this attempt, no matter how (un)successful was, had its roots in the concept in which the arrowheads had a symbolic meaning, closely tied with the notion of prestige. It is not certain to which extent the arrowheads in the graves from Atenica and Pilatovici symbolized prestige of their owners (in Atenica members of the princely familyhad them, but in Pilatovici -- probably a servant carrying arms), but it is undeniably clear on the basis of their deliberate selective deposition that they have their position in the study on the prestige [Ljustina, Dmitrovic, 2010, p. 133].

To conclude, the research on the Scythian horizon of finds in the territory of Serbia has it base in stylistic and typological analysis of material remains of Scythian origin in a different ethnical environment. The total number of archaeological sites and finds is not big, so conclusive remarks are very few. Geographic spread of the finds is not indicative of any pattern, since the finds can be traced from Vrsac in the north to Prizren in the south, and the vicinity of Pozega in the west. In most of the cases, we are faced with the items imported from the territories traditionally settled by the Scythians, by means of trade of local populations and neighbouring regions. The artefacts analysed reveal a very strong stylistic and typological connectivity with the material from the Carpathian basin and cultural zone of the Vekerzug culture. At the same time, their origin from the remote regions of Ukraine cannot be excluded from our considerations.

scythian serbia weapons harness burial


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M. Люштина, И. Нинчич


Существующие исследования скифского горизонта в Сербии все еще не результировали открытием археологической местности, которую однозначно можно было бы охарактеризовать как скифскую. Отсутствуют некрополи и поселения со скифскими элементами, однако, зафиксировано присутствие предметов, относящихся по своему происхождению к культурным кругам скифской цивилизации, и оно указывает на соприкосновения культур. Следовательно, изучение данного культурного горизонта подразумевает в первую очередь узнавание, а также стилистический и типологический анализ данных предметов в местностях носителей другого этнического происхождения.

Находки скифского происхождения в Сербии немногочисленны и включают в основном предметы в археологическом контексте погребального инвентаря, вместе с определенным количеством случайных находок. Оружие обнаружено в известных могильных холмиках раннего железного века в местностях Атеница, Пилатовичи, Ат возле Вршаца и Ромайя возле Призрена. Декоративная плитка из местности Барач, а также два боевых топора из Злотской пещеры обнаружены в поселенческом слое. Среди находок, собранных вне археологического контекста, выделяются целых 16 наконечников стрел, найденных на берегу Дуная. Небольшое количество находок делает невозможным более детальный статистический анализ контекста, в котором замечены куски оружия.

Географические местоположения не указывают на какой-либо образец распространения местностей, обладающих скифскими элементами. Предметы зафиксированы от Вршаца на севере до Призрена на юге, и до окрестности Пожеги на западе. Численность находок снова же ограничивает выводы о территориальном распределении.

С определенной долей уверенности можно сказать, что в подавляющем большинстве случаев речь идет о предметах, импортированных с территорий традиционного проживания скифов, попавших на территорию нынешней Сербии путем торговых связей местных населений и соседних цивилизаций. Артефакты указывают на наибольшее стилистическое, типологическое, а также географическое сходство с аналогичными предметами Карпатского бассейна, культурного ареала культуры Векерзуг; в то же время, происхождение из дальних областей, нынешней Украины, не исключено.

Ключевые слова: оружие, снаряжение, скифы, Сербия, импорт, наконечники стрел, бляшки, псалии.

M. Люштина, I. Нінчич


На території Сербії не виявлено археологічних пам'яток, які можна однозначно інтерпретувати як скіфські. відсутні некрополі і поселення з скіфськими елементами, проте зафіксовано предмети скіфського походження, які вказують на культурні контакти. Знахідки скіфського походження в Сербії нечисленні і включають, головним чином, предмети поховального інвентарю і певну кількість випадкових знахідок. Зброю виявлено в курганних могильниках раннього залізного віку в місцевостях Атені- ца, Пілатовічі, Ат у Вршац і Ромайя у Призрена. Декоративна плитка з місцевості Барач, а також дві бойові сокири з Злотской печери виявлені у шарі поселення. Серед знахідок, зібраних поза археологічним контекстом, виділяються 16 наконечників стріл, знайдених на березі Дунаю. Невелика кількість знахідок унеможливлює більш детальний статистичний аналіз контексту, в якому виявлені фрагменти зброї.

Географія і кількість знахідок не уточнюють локальні особливості скіфських елементів або їх територіальний розподіл. Предмети зафіксовані від Вршац на півночі до Призрена на півдні, і до околиці Пожеги на заході. У переважній більшості випадків йдеться про предмети, імпортовані з території традиційного проживання скіфів, які потрапили на територію нинішньої Сербії шляхом торгових зв'язків місцевого населення з сусідами. Артефакти мають найбільшу стилістичну і типологічну подібність з аналогічними предметами Карпатського басейну, культурного ареалу культури Векерзуг; водночас не виключено їхнє походження з далеких областей нинішньої України.

Ключові слова: зброя, спорядження, скіфи, Сербія, імпорт, наконечники стріл, бляшки, псалії.

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