Автор фото - Kurgus. Джерело: https://uk.wikipedia.org
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Nymphaion. Consequences of the occupation for cultural heritage

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Nymphaion (ancient Greek Νυμφαι̃ον – “sanctuary of nymphs”) is an ancient city located north of the village of Eltigen (Heroivske, within modern Kerch). It was founded in 580-560 BC by Greeks, natives of the island of Samos. This city is mentioned by Aeschylus, Scylla, Pliny, Ptolemy. The city covered an area of about 9 hectares. With the formation of the Bosporus Kingdom, Nymphaion was included in its composition. In the 5th century BC, Nymphaion minted his own coin. The period of the greatest growth of the city falls on the 5th – beginning of the 4th century BC. In the first half of the 4th century BC Nymphaion was destroyed but quickly rebuilt. In the 3rd century, the life in the settlement stopped. Excavations uncovered the following objects: part of the acropolis, fortifications, residential and public buildings, wineries, pottery kilns, an ancient temple and several sanctuaries of the 6th-3rd centuries BC (Demeter, Cabeiri, Aphrodite). To the north, west and south of the settlement, there is a necropolis.

In the period from 2014 to 2019, the specialists of the State Hermitage (a group led by a senior researcher of the Department of Classical Antiquities of the State Hermitage O. Sokolova) under the guise of “archaeological research” unlawfully excavated the cultural heritage of Ukraine in Crimea, i.e. the ancient settlement Nymphaion. Archaeological artifacts were unlawfully seized  from the site during these works.[1] Antique samples of ancient Greek (Hellenistic) and other cultures of the peoples of Crimea were damaged.

2014

During unlawful archeological excavations on the southern slope of the plateau, an embankment was removed that covered a number of objects discovered during archeological excavations carried out before the occupation of the Crimean peninsula. 9 household pits were excavated. Materials of the 3rd – 2nd centuries BC  predominated among the artifacts unlawfully seized from the archeological monument. There were also fragments of black lacquer and red-figure vessels of the 4th century BC and fragments of amphorae and red lacquer ware of the first centuries BC.[2]

2015

An extension of the lower rows of the amphitheater and a small staircase leading to the western side of the excavation site were uncovered. Artifacts of the 4th – first half of the 3rd century BC, including fragments of ceramics of the 5th century BC, were unlawfully seized from the archeological monument. In the western direction, a plot of about 72 square meters was excavated to a depth of 0.40–1.04 meters, where the throat of the household pit with stone cladding was found. Artifacts from Hellenistic and Roman times with a predominance of pottery from the first centuries AD were unlawfully seized from the monument. Topographic and geodetic survey of the settlement was performed by specialists of the company “Credo-Dialogue” (Minsk, Republic of Belarus) and volunteers of the project “Expedition CREDO”.[3]

2016

The area of about 100 square meters was excavated. Artifacts with a predominance of pottery from Hellenistic times and 5th – 4th centuries BC, including single fragments of pottery of Roman times, as well as black lacquer and red-figured pottery of 5th – 4th  centuries BC were unlawfully seized from the monument.[4]

2017

The area of about 300 square meters was excavated. Artifacts with a predominance of pottery from Hellenistic times and 5th – 4th centuries BC, including single fragments of pottery of the first centuries BC were unlawfully seized from the monument. In addition, artifacts, mostly from the 4th – 2nd centuries BC, as well as fragments of amphorae, red lacquer ceramics and glass vessels of the 1st – 2nd centuries AD were seized from the household pits of the archeological monument.[5]

2018

On the southern slope of the plateau an area of about 100 square meters was excavated to the depth of 0.5 m. Ceramics of Hellenistic times including findings of 6th – 4th centuries BC and the first centuries AD, as well as a lead weight weighing 492 g, three copper coins, amphorae, a fragment of a terracotta statuette in the form of a girl with a tympanum were unlawfully seized from the monument. About 440 cubic meters of soil were removed from the territory of the settlement. According to the field description, 44 museum objects were donated to the funds of the “East Crimean Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve” created by the occupation authorities.[6]

2019

Large-scale unlawful archeological excavations were carried out at the necropolis and chora of the ancient city of Nymphaion between lakes Churubash and Tobechi, in particular at the site of the Kostyryn settlement, which had not previously been subjected to large-scale archaeological work. During the excavations of the Nymphaion necropolis, the looted family crypt and the earthen burial of the first centuries AD were excavated. Geophysical surveys were conducted under the direction of T. Smekalova (“Research Center for History and Archeology of Crimea”).

In its report on the results of unlawful excavations of the Nymphaion settlement, the State Hermitage notes that more than 250 particularly valuable artifacts were removed from the monument during these works.[7]

The federal budgetary institution of culture “The State Hermitage” is involved in unlawful activities in the ancient settlement of Nymphaion, which is located north of the village Heroivske (Kerch, AR of Crimea, Ukraine). The State Hermitage is included in the list of entities to which sanctions are applied according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine of May 14, 2020, №184 “On the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine of May 14, 2020 “On the application, abolition and amendment of personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)”.

Involvement of one of the leading scientific cultural institutions of the Russian Federation (the State Hermitage) in unlawful activities on the archeological site increases the threat of impunity for the destruction of the site due to the business, scientific and cultural ties of this institution and its employees with scientific, cultural, political circles of foreign countries.

The actions of the occupation authorities, which resulted in unlawful appropriation, unlawful archeological excavations, during which archeological artifacts were seized are a violation of international humanitarian law.

These actions of the Russian Federation, together with other actions of the Occupying Power in their entirety may constitute a war crime in the form of extensive destruction and appropriation of cultural property, not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

 

The group of monitoring experts of the Regional Center for Human Rights,

the working group of the expert network “Crimean Platform – Humanitarian Policy”

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[1] Nymphaean expedition. The State Hermitage. Access mode: https://archive.is/xTwxz

[2] The State Hermitage report. 2014 / The State Hermitage. – SPb.: Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2015 .– 244 p. : ill. – P. 158. – Access mode https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/0868d170-3ae8-4699-8e41-9f644a0a0f73/%D0%9E%D1%82%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%82+%D0%93%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%83%D0%B4%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE+%D0%AD%D1%80%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%B0+2014.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-0868d170-3ae8-4699-8e41-9f644a0a0f73-l4fSHkd

[3]The State Hermitage report. 2015 / The State Hermitage. – SPb.: Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2016 .– 200 p. : ill. – P. 124-125. – Access mode      https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/c6c40776-75e6-449e-843c-47a7fed28774/otchet_2015.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&amp%3BCONVERT_TO=url&amp%3BCACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-c6c40776-75e6-449e-843c-47a7fed28774-m1kGC20

[4]The State Hermitage report. 2016 / The State Hermitage. – SPb. : Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2017 .– 204 p. : ill. – P. 130-131. – Access mode      https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/f93842af-ecd8-4446-a954-3d66054e15c4/report2016r.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-f93842af-ecd8-4446-a954-3d66054e15c4-lZjycIk

[5]The State Hermitage report. 2017 / State Hermitage. – SPb.: Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2018 .– 216 p. : ill. – P. 144-145. – Access mode:      https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/7b60549f-4fe9-4878-bb3f-4f45626e7591/%D0%9E%D1%82%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%82+%D0%93%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%83%D0%B4%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B3%D0%BE+%D0%AD%D1%80%D0%BC%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%B0+2017.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-7b60549f-4fe9-4878-bb3f-4f45626e7591-muIYRB2

[6]The State Hermitage report. 2018 / The State Hermitage. – SPb.: Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2019 .– 228 p. : ill. – P. 145. – Access mode: https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/c9220123-12be-47bf-924f-beae36983491/otchet_2018.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-c9220123-12be-47bf-924f-beae36983491-mWT9VLJ

[7]The State Hermitage report. 2019 / The State Hermitage. – SPb.: Publishing house of the State Hermitage Museum, 2020 .– 244 p. : ill. – P. 169-170. – Access mode: https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/wcm/connect/4d36cdb4-263a-47fe-b419-cfd9d4b00347/otchet19.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE-4d36cdb4-263a-47fe-b419-cfd9d4b00347-nz6QdmO

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Implemented within the project “Information Platform” Voice of Crimea. Culture “- about Crimea honestly, qualitatively, actually” with the support of the Media Development Fund of the US Embassy in Ukraine. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the official position of the US government.

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