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Stratum plus. 2019. No3

A. V. Dedyulkin (Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation), I. F. Kayumov (Ufa, Russian Federation), D. V. Meshcheriakov (Orenburg, Russian Federation)

Hellenistic Iron Cuirasses from the South Ural Region

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Pages: 51-88

A Hellenistic iron muscle cuirass was unearthed in 1995 during archaeological excavations of a Sarmatian warrior grave at Berdyanka V tumuli necropolis. Already in ancient times, the breastplate of the cuirass fell apart into small pieces. Its complete restoration was carried out in 2016—2017. For the first time, the article presents the restored breastplate and discusses Hellenistic iron cuirasses from nomadic tumuli of the South Ural region. The Berdyanka warrior grave is synchronous with the chieftain’s tomb from the Prokhorovka tumuli necropolis, eponymous for the Early Sarmatian culture. According to the archive photos, the cuirass from Prokhorovka was fully identical to the cuirass from Berdyanka. Their shape features indicate that they are equestrian armor. The authors review the problems of the Early Sarmatian culture chronology, the historical context of the graves with the cuirasses, and possible routes for import of armor by the nomads of the South Ural region. Both cuirasses were made in the second half of the 3rd — the first quarter of the 2nd centuries BC. in arms workshops of the Seleucid Empire or of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. The resemblance of the reviewed cuirasses with the similar body armor from Epirus and the Eastern Mediterranean shows continuance of the traditions among arms workshops of the Metropolis and the East Hellenistic states. The results of the metallographic study are presented in the Appendix. It has been established that the production of both cuirasses used sufficiently pure medium-carbon steel without quenching and cementation.

Keywords: South Ural Region, Early Sarmatian culture, Hellenism, armor, Parthia, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom

Information about authors:

Anton Dedyulkin
(Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation). Novocherkassk Museum of the History of Don Cossacks. Atamanskaya St., 38, Novocherkassk, 346429, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]
Ildar Kayumov (Ufa, Russian Federation)
E-mail: [email protected]
Dmitri Meshcheriakov (Orenburg, Russian Federation). Chernomyrdin Museum. Tsentralnaya St., 7B, Tschorny Otrog Village, 462114, Saraktashsky District, Orenburg Oblast, Russian Federation
E-mail: [email protected]

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