Древности Семидворья I. Средневековый двухапсидный храм в урочище Еди-Евлер (Алушта, Крым): исследования и материалы [Drevnosti Semidvorja I. Srednevekovyj dvuxapsidnyj xram v uročišče Yedi-Evler (Alušta, Krym): issledovanija i materialy] - Normandie Université Access content directly
Books Year : 2015

Древности Семидворья I. Средневековый двухапсидный храм в урочище Еди-Евлер (Алушта, Крым): исследования и материалы [Drevnosti Semidvorja I. Srednevekovyj dvuxapsidnyj xram v uročišče Yedi-Evler (Alušta, Krym): issledovanija i materialy]

Iryna Teslenko
  • Function : Scientific advisor


The collective work presents the study and publication of excavated materials of an archaeologically known twoapse church from the first half of the 9th to the first half of the 10th century at the top of the Tuzluk Hill in the Yedi Evler area, Crimean Peninsula, near the village of Semidvorie (Alushta, Crimea, Ukraine). This sanctuary was linked to the large agricultural and pottery producing settlement that existed in this economically developed and populous region in the second half of the 8th/9th - first half of the 10th century. The settlement was situated 150-250 meters to the east and southeast from the church. Just 350 meters southeast from the church was a medieval cemetery of the “Suuksu” type of the 7th – 8th / 9th (?) centuries existed which was left by the population usually identified as Crimean Goths tribes. In 2007, an area of around 96 m2 was investigated and church ruins and surrounding cultural layer were studied. The stratigraphical analysis managed to identify here 44 archaeological layers or contexts, one medieval grave with double burials, and a Bronze Age cultual place. The study of ruins shows that the sanctuary was rebuilt multiple times. The church consisted of two communicating compartments of different sizes. As for characteristic features, the southern main apse is bigger in size than the northern one, and there was an entrance in the main part of the church through the northern compartment as well as two other doorways from the west and from the south. The western portal of the northern compartment was completely open and no traces of wall masonry here were attested. In contrast to the southern compartment, the foundation of the northern part was cut in natural. The three-layer masonry wall was made of local poor faceted rectangular stones of various sizes. For building mortar, mud solutions with clay loam as a binder element were mostly used. The inside of the southern church walls was plastered with lime mortar, which in some places is preserved in situ, and painted with red linear and geometric patterns including letters or even inscriptions that are today illegible. The roof likely had two slopes covered by locally made tiles of different types. The overall dimensions of the church were: width – 5.60- 5.70 m, length - 8.50 m. The thickness of the wall was about 0.7 m. Structure remains are preserved to a height of 0.80 m. Both apses have shoulders connecting apsidal semicircles and walls. The external diameter of the southern apse is 2.13 m. The internal dimension of the southern main compartment is 2.34×4.15 м. The external diameter of the northern apse is 1.20 m, while the internal is 0.63 m. The width in the western part of the northern compartment is 1.34 m, and in the eastern part it is reduced to 1.26 m. The church was oriented to the northeast. The azimuth of its central axis is 47°, which roughly corresponds to the azimuth point of sunrise during the summer solstice for Crimean latitude. SUMMARY In the first chapter, written by V. Kirilko, the building history of the church and its architectural peculiarities are presented. The double apse sanctuary belongs to the relatively rare type of churches of the Middle Byzantine period that could be described as a two-apse church with unequal apses of different sizes. G. Dimitrokallis (1976), the author of the most representative corpus of double apse byzantine sanctuaries, classified them as “pseudobiconques.” There are some examples of double apse churches in the Crimea (Sotera near Alushta, Sudak, Funa near Luchistoe settlement, Chembalo fortress in Balaklava). Yet, these sanctuaries mainly date back to the 14th century, with the one exception being the Sotera church that belonged to the period of the 8th-10th century, and none of them provides an exact parallel to the church of Yedi Evler. During the short period of its history, the church was completely rebuilt at least once. The first building period involved the creation of the main southern church with the apse and the three entrances from the west, south and north. It is highly likely that the church was intentionally conceived by priests, ktitores or the Christian community as a double apse and two-part building. Immediately after the perfection of the southern church, the additional northern compartment with open western portal and separate apse was added. This part of the church was connected to the main church via a special doorway in the wall dividing the compartment that previously served as the northern entrance to the southern church. In fact, the second building period is distinguished only theoretically as a final step in the construction of the church. The chronology of the first two periods of the building’s history, based mainly on the study of pottery and ceramic materials from the complex, dates back to the first half of the 9th century, or more precisely the second-third to the middle of the century. After a short period the church was completely destroyed, most likely due to inadequate construction works or an earthquake. The third building period is determined as 860-880s, when the sanctuary was rebuilt and reconstructed. After reconstruction, the northern compartment was buried by earth and ruined stones and preserved according to canon law practices for unused sacral Christian objects. In the third building period, the northern part was not active as a liturgical zone. The sanctuary became an ordinary rural Byzantine one-apse, one-nave church. A narthex was constructed in the eastern part of the sanctuary. The doorway between the southern and northern parts was closed off by wall masonry. During the third building period, only two entrances — the southern and western — were still active. The main entrance was the southern one, which was added by a wooden apprentice. After the second deterioration of the church in the first half of the 10th century, no more renovations were carried out. The ruins were reused by the local population for ordinary purposes no earlier than in the second half of the 14th -15th century, as pottery fragments from the ruins show. Most probably, the narthex and apse were used at this time as a temporary living structure in what is regarded in the chapter as the fourth building period. The author proposes graphical reconstruction of the sanctuary according to fourth building periods and shows architectural parallels to this building among contemporary churches of the Northern Caucasus and Minor Asia. Chapter two, author I. Teslenko, deals with the stratigraphy of the site and description of archaeological layers. The analysis of excavated materials provided in the chapter allowed for the presentation of all steps of anthropogenic activity on the Tuzluk Hill from the Bronze Age to modern times. The description of materials is organized by archaeological layers, with general characteristics of different finds included. Every layer inside and outside the church is attributed to a corresponding building period. A hypothesis on the formation of each layer and its causes are also given. The most important layers are linked to two dilapidations of the church, and some of them are attributed to regular liturgical life and different rituals practiced in and around the sanctuary. Several layers may be left from construction and reconstruction works. A detailed description of the archaeological finds and a cultural and liturgical interpretation of structures, layers and bones are given in the next chapters. In the third chapter, I. Teslenko provides an analysis of ceramic and pottery materials from the church. During the excavation, 2,589 fragments of roof tiles and kalypters (55% of all ceramic materials), 637 fragments of kitchen and table wares (13.5%) and 1,485 pieces of pithoi and amphora (31.5 %) were recorded. Among them 9 intact rectangular roof tiles that were still preserved and 5 kalypters can be fragmentarily reconstructed. Several tiles have a construction sign or craftsmen marks as tridents and Greek letters «λ», «ρ», «π» «В», «V». A theoretical estimation on the number of tiles, including kalypters for covering the roof, has been done. The amount is between 374 tiles / 376 kalypters and 396 tiles / 397 kalypters in the second and third building period respectively. Accordingly, in the second period the weight of the roof was about 3893-3897 kg, for the third period – 4118-4122 kg. Nearly all excavated ceramic materials came from local production. The author lists the characteristics and provides a description of clay pottery and ceramic items, which show two craftsmen traditions. The first one emerged locally and is characteristic of primitive treatments, the use of a hand pottery wheel and unsatisfactory baking. The second craftsmen tradition reflects well-organized, high-technology commodity production oriented on the external wine trade. It is presented specially by amphora. Today, there are more than 40 known pottery workshops with high-technology kilns in the southern part of the Crimean peninsula. Such a pottery tradition was most likely brought here in the 8th-9th century from Minor Asia. The author discusses chronologies of various types of local pottery, particularly amphora, and he makes comparisons to groups of amphora known from different regions of the Byzantine World. Local amphoras are presented by so-called “Black Sea type” (second variant), which was produced until the mid-10th century, according to the author. At the archaeological site, only two fragments of imported pottery have been recorded: the bottom of a high neck brown clay jug with wide flat handles, no earlier than the mid-9th century, and a fragment of Glazed White Ware II, according to J.W. Hayes, from 10th century Constantinople. The kitchen pottery which were in use in Khazar kaganate is also absent. Ceramic finds in the church date back mainly to the end of 8th-10th century; only several fragments of two red glazed sgraffito bowls and one fragment of a brown unglazed pot come from the 14th-15th century. The fourth chapter presented by I. Teslenko and A. Musin describes and studies the collection of glass lamp fragments (342 items) that are partially not indentified. The bulk (91%) of the lamps comes from the third building period and is concentrated near the southern entrance to the church, where the liturgy should start. Precisely within the same zone, micropieces of flint made by strike-a-light for making “liturgical fire” were recorded, and kitchen and bone remains from community meals were also attested. Glass lamps are presented by two main groups: polycandelon or beaker-shaped lamps with hollow stems, and single lamps with handles on the rim. All lamps have close parallels among glass finds from other Middle Byzantine sanctuaries, for instance, Myra-Demre in Turkey, Thessaloniki in Greece, Chersoneses in Crimea, etc. The glass is mainly colored light green and blue. A slowly increased percentage of potassium oxide recorded by optical emission spectroscopy may point to glass production centers in the southeastern part of Asia Minor or Levant. Chapter five, written by A. Musin, analyzes and classifies metal crosses found in the church. The excavation recorded at least 30 crosses and their fragments. Crosses were used throughout the entire period of the church’s existence. Crosses are regarded as an ex-voto offering. Most of them were concentrated in the altar zone of the sanctuary and near the southern entrance to the church. Two crosses were put in wall masonry that closed the doorway between the northern compartment and the main church during the third building period, evidently with apotropaic magic purposes. Presumably, crosses were suspended on the church wall or on elements of the church’s interior, or inserted in them. The corpus of crosses is divided into five typological groups. The main group consists of iron crosses with an extended lower branch made of two plates connected with a rivet that derived from individual processional crosses and turned in ex-voto. Some crosses with splayed arms were cut from thin sheet-metal, including copper alloy and probably silver, and decorated with punch ornamentation. Two crosses were made of silver coins: Umayyad dirham (661 – 750 AD) and imitation of Arab-Sassanian half-drachma of the Sassanid king Kosrou II (590-629 AD). The two last groups of crosses can be compared to the crosses of the type 1.2.2 according to J. Staecker found in Early Rus’ and Scandinavia in the 10th – 11th century, especially known to be in graves in Birka (Sweden), Gnezdovo near Smolensk, Timerevo near Yaroslavl (Russia), Kiev, Iskorosten (Ukraine) and other political and economic centers of the formation of early medieval states in Russia and Sweden. Several scholars have insisted that the crosses have an Anglo-Saxon origin and appeared in Sweden around 930-940s AD with the mission of bishop Uni from British Islands. However, after the Yedi Evler excavation, the Byzantine origin of these crosses is quite clear. Crosses from Eastern and Northern Europe may have been created using a Byzantine example or brought directly from this region in several cases. During the cultural transformation of the Christianization period, crosses that initially belonged to liturgical public culture were turned in barbarian society into private devotion objects and used as an element in burial customs. Nearly all crosses found in the Yedi Evler church have parallels in other regions of the Byzantine Empire and the neighboring region in the Black Sea coastland, Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Northern Caucasus and Balkans. Such ex-voto crosses illustrate a special feature of post iconoclastic culture in the beginning of the Middle Byzantine period, as well as large distribution of personal reliquary-crosses of the end of the 9th – 11th century. However, prior to becoming an ex-voto offering in church interior, both types of crosses were generally used in private Christian devotion. It is largely accepted that the 9th -11th century was a period of increasing individualism, social atomism and growing emphasis on personal piety. With that in mind, individual crosses were evidence of the new post-iconoclasm Orthodoxy as a manifestation of personal activity in church life and a sign of the victory of polis community tradition over imperial tyranny. The process of donating personal crosses to churches should be regarded as a special way of reconciling personal devotion with the liturgical needs of the local community encouraged by Church hierarchy. The present hypothesis is confirmed by information in the Byzantine Monastic Typikons, especially that of Empress Irene Doukaina Komnene for the Convent of the Mother of God Kecharitomene in Constantinople founded between 1100 and 1118, which prescribed that each Saturday laymen would offer crosses- stauria in the sanctuary for the commemoration of the deceased, and that other crosses must be brought similarly each Sunday on behalf of the living who are recorded on the diptychs. Crosses from the Yedi Evler church and in other cases should be regarded as an archaeological illustration of such a ritual. Other small finds from the church like nails, chain links for the suspension of lamps, fragment of bronze wire, lead plates from a wick holder, buttons of bronze, small green glass beads, and an iron arrow-head characteristic of Eastern Europe military culture in the 10th/11th - 13th century are described and analyzed in chapter six by I. Teslenko. Two amulet-pendants found in the church that are made of clam shell of Cerithium vulgatum and tooth of deer of Cervus elaphus, which could also be offered in the sanctuary as ex-voto, are presented in chapter seven by G. Gavris and I. Teslenko. Chapters eight to twelve compiled by G. Gavris, V. Logvinenko, and S. Leonov deal with bones and faunistic remains including birds, mammals, fishes, marine mollusks, and land snails recorded during the excavations. As a result, information is exhausted on the repertoire of animal sacrifices, a normal practice in rural parish Byzantine churches, and the composition of church festive meals has been determined. Among 139 identified bones of mammals, 64% belong to Ovis aries and Capra aegagrus hircus, 16% to Sus scrofa domesticus, 6% to Lepus europaeus and 2 % to Bos Taurus. Birds are presented with 148 individuals of 19 species, including 78% of Gallus domesticus and Gallus domesticus sm. and an insignificant quantity of bones of Otis tarda, Cygnus olor, Perdix perdix etc. It is quite interesting to note that fishes are nearly absent from the collection, and consequently, on the table of parish men who lived along the sea coast, only 13 bones of Acipenser gueldenstaedtii and Perciformes were recorded. Evidently, bones from the excavation present the remains of a festive meal and not an everyday diet. However, shellfishes are recorded here in 1900 fragments of Mytilus galloprovincialis (95% of mollusk) and a small number of Patella ulyssiponensis and Ostrea lamellose. Eriphia spinifrons presented in 4-5 individuals should also be noted. Terrestrial gastropods mollusks are mainly presented by Helix albescens (72.4%), Monacha fruticola (24.2%) Chondrula tridens (3.2%), and only one shell of Brephulopsis cylindrical. Some remarks on the distribution of animal bones in the excavated complex will be provided in the following chapters. In chapter thirteen, I. Teslenko proposed and argued the chronology of the site based mainly on pottery analysis. Coins from the 7th – mid-8th century that were used for the manufacturing of crosses give only large terminus post quem for the church building. Amphora with small horizontal multiple grooves on the surface well-known in Crimea not later than the beginning - first half of the 9th century are not recorded among the excavation materials; so the beginning of the church complex must date back to the second third-middle of the 9th century. The find of the fragment of a high neck jug with wide flat handles in layers of the second building period, and their absence later on, puts the date of the rebuilding of the church at 860-880 AD. The presence of local “Black Sea type” amphora of the second variant and the absence of forms similar to amphora of types I and IIb according to N. Günsenin allow to propose the first half – mid of the 10th century as the final stage of the church’s existence and that of surrounding settlements. Another find is the fragment of Glazed White Ware II, dated no earlier than the beginning of the 10th century. The history of the church actually spans about 100 (± 20-25) years. Chapter fourteen by A. Musin discusses liturgical rituals practiced in the sanctuary against the large background of Byzantine church culture and shows parallels from related territories. To explain the meaning and origin of the two unequal apse church building in the Yedi Evler area, the author provides a thorough account of the phenomenon of double apse churches with unequal apses from Transcaucasia and the Northern Caucasus through Asia Minor and the Greek Islands up until biapsidal churches were recorded in medieval Italy in the 9th-13th century. As a result, a conclusion has been made that the Mediterranean World did not have a unique genesis of double apse churches. Late Antiquity churches with two symmetrical naves and apses cannot be regarded as a direct prototype for the Yedi Evler church and related building. The architecture of Transcaucasia and the Northern Caucasus sometimes gives similar features, for example Mgvimevi, Georgia, the end of the 13th century, but all of them were built later than the monument under consideration. The “pseudobiconques” churches with a reduced northern apse are also known in medieval Italy and Corsica of the 10th-12th century (see for example: San Venerio, La Spezia-Migliarina, Liguria; San Tommaso al Poggio, Rapallo, Liguria; Santa Maria della Chiappella, Rogliano, Haute-Corse; Santa Maria di Sibiola, Serdiana, Sardegna). However, they hardly could be a source of inspiration for builders of the Yedi Evler church for cultural and chronological reasons. The Italian architecture of the “chiese biabsidate” did, however, deeply influence the appearance of two apse churches in Crimea and Muscovite Russia in the end of the 14th-15th century. Nevertheless, early Italian two apse sanctuaries, especially with different apses and an additional northern entrance, could initially reflect the same process of the change of liturgical planning as in the Yedi Evler church. It should be acknowledged that “pseudobiconques” churches are not very characteristic for the Greek Island. Some indirect parallels can bee seen in the planning of the church of St Spyridon – Panagia Protothroni Halkia, Halki, Naxos Island; church of St Pantaleon, Kotraphi, Peloponnesus; church of St Athanasius, Phaturu, Patmos Island; church of St Athanasius, Phaturu, Patmos Island. In all cases, it is difficult to say whether the additional reduced compartment was initially intended for this or that particular liturgical ritual. It is quite possible that both naves were used for the Eucharist. However, in the Middle Byzantine period, the appearance of double churches of Sts John and George, Sarakini, Samos, and the Monastery of St John Chrysostomos at Koutsovendis, Cyprus can be attested. The double apse church was renewed in the 10th century in Üçayak, near Kirşehir, Central Anatolia, Turkey. The most notable fact is that the high density of two apse middle byzantine churches, including the “pseudobiconques” sanctuary, is known to have existed in the ancient Pont province and near Trabzon, Turkey, for example in Koralla, Görele Burunu fortress or Gantopedin fortress (Matzouka, Zana Kale), Labra, Maçka Dere, near Köpruna Köy. This region always had direct ties with the northern Black Sea coast and Crimea during Antiquity and Middle Ages. At the same time, the closest parallel to the Yedi Evler church can be seen in the 10th-11th century double apse church in the Upper City of Middle Byzantine settlement in Boğazköy (Hattusa, Asia Minor), Turkey, excavated by P. Neve in the early 1980s. At the small northern compartment that served as the principle entrance in the southern main church, obviously meant for the Eucharist, a considerable number of metal ex-voto crosses was recovered. The combination of such features attested both in Yedi Evler and Boğazköy and the chronological coincidence cannot be accidental. The author argued that different liturgical functions of two church compartments and the subsidiary role of the northern part may be stressed by their sizes and architectural volumes and expressed in the exterior of churches in an architectonic way and by means of architecture. An additional means of special organization of two parts of liturgical space involved the arrangement of a separate doorway to the main church via the northern compartment as a supposable place of initial worship rituals. Such a change in liturgical planning finds its possible explanation in the reform of Prothesis/Proskomedia, which took place in Middle Byzantium during and right after the iconoclasm period. The Euchologion Barberini gr. 336, the oldest Orthodox liturgical book of the end of the 8th century, reported the appearance of the first priest’s prayer for the preparation of bread and wine as gifts for the Eucharist. There was a time when the clergy and monks established control over the expression of community and individual piety within the bringing of liturgical gifts. The chapter argues in support of a hypothesis on the Prothesis function established in the northern compartment in Middle Byzantine churches with two unequal apses such as Yedi Evler, Sotera, Boğazköy, several sanctuaries of Pont and Trabzon, etc. as a materialization of church reforms at that time. It is quite possible that contemporary Italian churches with two unequal apses were also influenced by the same architectural and liturgical innovation in the beginning of the Middle Byzantine period, especially since the Euchologion Barberini is a manuscript of southern Italian provenance, which reflects, however, practices of Constantinople. Architectural studies let us assume that initially, for a newly performed ritual, the northern annexes or nave of church could be reserved, but later such liturgical planning innovation did not catch on in church practice. Both preanaphora and anaphoric rituals were concentrated in the altar zone. The architectural implementation of the Prothesis reform could be reflected in another way, for example, in the construction of rectangular annexes to Middle Byzantine church as monastery Kisleçukuru, Antalia, and in İnişdibi fortified settlement, Istlada, near Kekova – Myra/Demre, both in Turkey provide examples. In fact, the Middle Byzantine period is generally characterized by the rising of additional architectural volumes and a compartment around the main church building within the multiplication of liturgical rituals and “Privatisation” of Liturgy. As proof for the given hypothesis, a find of liturgical equipment in the church can be added. At the central part of the northern compartment just opposite the doorway to the main church, an almost rhomboidal flat stone with dimensions of 0.5 х 0.7 m (weight 75 kg) was attested. Its horizontal position in situ was fixed by two roof tiles and fragments of amphora. A considerable number of pottery and glass fragments was concentrated around the stone, as well as some animal bones. At the east end of the northern apse, the bottom of pithos and fragmentary sheep skull were also recovered, which indicate some unknown ritual. It is quite possible that such flat stones laying directly on the church floor and serving as the Prtothesis table for offering liturgical bread and wine were typical for rural Byzantine churches, as the information of Pratum spirituale by John Moschus suggests. No remains of the altar table or distinct elements of the altar screen were recorded during the excavations. This implies that the Holy table in the church could be made of wood and the altar screen existed as a cloth curtain or katapetasma. However, the altar zone was separated from the naos by a terrace cut in natural as a kind of bema. Near the bema, there was a pit, most likely for a water reservoir used for church needs and ritual purification purposes. Beside this pit within the altar zone, several roof tiles were stocked as a special construction associated with finds of metal crosses and glass lamp fragments that may be regarded as an element of an unpreserved altar barrier. Such liturgical elements as the offering of ex-voto crosses and new arrangement of the Prothesis ritual may suggest a monastic influence in the area. Additionally, this possibility is confirmed by some features of burial custom of the grave excavated near the church to the southeast from the main apse, i.e. the fixation of the head of one buried senilis man with the help of small stones or a special head-support known in the practice of Mont Athos monasteries and in the Typikon of Studios monastery in Constantinople. This observation allows for a revision of the role of Byzantine monasticism in the development of Crimean Christian culture of the iconoclasm and posticonoclasm period, especially since an erroneous hypothesis on the “mass migration” of Byzantine monks-iconodoules to the Crimean peninsula based on an uncritical review of the information of the Life of Saint Stephen the Younger has been abandoned after new research. However, rituals practiced in the Yedi Evler church were linked not only to monastic practices but also to popular Christianized rituals, as finds of animal bones in and around the church suggest. Without a doubt, these kitchen remains testify to animal sacrifice and parish community or family festive meals organized in the church. The finds of ox remains, an animal usually offered as a sacrifice in rural Greek communities during sanctuary consecration, near the western and southern entrances to the church may refer to rituals of dedication of the church after its construction and reconstruction in the second and third building periods. Other bones and faunal remains are relatively proportionally spread out in the church complex. It is difficult to determinate where exactly the common meals took place. Most likely, during the first period of church life it was the northern part of the church; the joint offering of gifts for the Eucharist and ordinary meal in the same place near the flat stone in the northern part of the church shows a kind of syncretism of liturgical and popular rituals. During the last period, when the northern compartment was buried according to canon law postulates the main part of the kitchen remains was concentrated near the southern entrance to the sanctuary. The practice of animal sacrifices and parish meals was largely in use in Byzantine popular religion, or so-called “parish Orthodoxy.” In spite of prescriptions against such practices, which can be found in canon law, it was regarded as a norm in society, and even hagiographical texts, for example, the Life of Saint Nicolas of Sion in Asia Minor, tell about such rituals without any fulmination. Rituals of animal sacrifices are also known in the North Caucasus, Transcaucasia, and the Balkans and are still preserved in ethnographic practice until the beginning of the 20th century and on several territories up until the present age. For example, in the Farassa area, Cappadocia, modern Feke, Adana Province, Turkey, in the Greek parish the ritual of animal sacrifices was recorded in the church opposite the main altar on a big stone. This parallel may suggest that the flat stone in the northern part of the Yedi Evler church, apart from its Prosthesis function, could have also served as archaic sacrifice. The remains of rituals of church consecration are also known from the excavations. They have been attested thanks to one-time concentrations of charcoals and fireplaces as well as kitchen remains opposite to the entrances of the sanctuary. For the first church consecration, three fireplaces were recorded to the north, west and south of the church. The second consecration left one fireplace to the south from the church according to the position of the main doorway during the third building period. Within the last zone, micropieces of flint made by strikea- light were found. It is obvious that there was a special place here for making ‘liturgical fire’ before the beginning of office of vespers. Evidently, the celebration in the church was not conducted every day, but on special days including Feast and Sunday Liturgies. Today the ritual of making new fire before offices is still preserved in Latin and Greek parish life, only on the eve of Easter Day when the liturgical light for the ceremony is normally lit from a bonfire burned outside the church. In Russian and Ukrainian Orthodoxy, such practice has been abandoned. A specific derivate of such practices is the ritual of ‘Holy Fire’ in the church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on Great Saturday, the day before Orthodox Easter, presented in mass mentality and church propaganda as a miracle. However, the practice of making ‘new’ or ‘holy’ fire, especially at the beginning of spring, is well known thanks to ethnological research in Western and Central Europe, and relations between church rituals and folklore customs are difficult to establish. Multiple fragments of glass lamps in the same zone hardly refer to any rituals, nor do presented remains of lamps accidentally broken during manipulation. Only one church custom that involves the intentional breaking of wedding glass cups of wine was first attested in the Euchologion Paris Coislin. 213 in 1027 AD. However, until the 12th century, the church blessing of wedding was practiced in the aristocratic milieu and was not very widespread in rural society. In sum, the local parish community had enough cultivated level of religious life and combined innovations of liturgical mainstream of Byzantine society issued from cultural centers and archaic practices belonging to the provincial rural population. The conclusions presented by I. Teslenko and A. Musin summaries research results and give future perspectives. For the first time in the history of excavations of Crimean medieval churches, thanks to careful digging and field fixation, architectural archaeology managed to record many liturgical features and everyday life elements characteristic of Byzantine rural churches. It allowed for determining a characteristic of the material culture of the local population during the “demographic boom” and establishing of themata administrative division in Byzantine Empire in the 8th-9th century. Church planning kept the very important step in the development of the initial part of East-Christian Liturgy as ritualisation of Prothesis. Archaeological contexts preserved intact bones of animal sacrifices and community meals appropriated to Byzantine popular religion, traces of making of ‘holy’ or liturgical fire as micropieces of flint made by a light-a-strike, and ex-voto offering in the form of metal crosses, and amulets pendants that at the same time could serve as interior church decoration. Such finds allowed us to establish byzantine origin of several types of Christian devotional crosses pendants from the 10th- 11th century originated from the territories of Early Rus’ and Scandinavia. The church in Yedi Evler is an example monument of the Middle Byzantine period for the study of liturgical devotion, rural sacral architecture and everyday life of provincial settlements, which should be useful for the understanding of both Crimean medieval culture and the history of other parts of the Byzantine World. The study of the Yedi Evler church permits us to draw some conclusions about the historical development and cultural situation in the southern part of the Crimean peninsula at the end of the 8th – mid 10th century. The material culture of the local population known from the result of the church excavation and investigation of surrounding settlements and pottery workshops suggests important innovation, such as stone housebuilding using roof tiles, high-technology pottery production with very effective kilns, winemaking oriented to local and long distance trade, and ecclesiastical architecture of basilica-type parish churches. All these improvements were previously unknown for the autochthonic people, which may be indentified to the Crimean Goths. The settlement archaeology in the area shows that the above-mentioned innovations were brought here with the wave of mass migration, and newly-established residences of the new population existed quietly side by side with previous habitations. This situation may demonstrate the process of mutual integration and even acculturation of autochthonic people in higher organized society. Most likely, the main group of migrants came from Asia Minor and brought the mentioned traditions of Byzantine-Rhômaios civilization, including high technology in pottery and liturgical innovations reflected in ecclesiastical architecture and devotional practices. Undoubtedly, the colonization of the southern part of the Crimean peninsula was organized by the administration of the Byzantine Empire in the framework of the establishing of the themata system. The theme ta Klimata in this area was constituted in 841 AD, and later in the 850s it was reorganized in the theme of Chersoneses. In the same vein, the new church administration was established here. The region under question had probably been included in the metropolitan of Ghotia or Doros, whose eastern border separating it from another one new diocese of Sougdaia or Sourozh, now Sudak, was exactly across from the Yedi Evler valley. The Goths diocese is referred to as “a certain region along the coast there called Dory,” mentioned by Procopius of Caesarea in his panegyric on the building activity of the emperor Justinian De Aedificiis. The chronology of pottery materials suggests that the church in Yedi Evler and the local agglomeration, as well as a considerable part of settlements in Southern and South- Western Crimea, ceased to exist at the same time in the first half of the 10th century. Such a social collapse may be linked to the politically unstable situation in the area caused by the conflict between the Byzantine Empire and Khazar kaganate and active military raids of the Rus’ from the Middle Dnieper area to the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, Asia Minor and Constantinople. The local population moved to more secure regions or fled behind city walls for protection. This publication is supplemented by appendixes with catalogues of finds of various categories including metals, glass, and faunal artifacts (I. Teslenko, N. Turova), pottery, ceramic and stone materials (O. Ignatenko, I. Teslenko), architectural elements (V. Kirilko), find of Bronze Age period (I. Teslenko), description and results of optical emission spectroscopy of glass finds (A. Egor’kov) and study of flint finds (V. Chabai).
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hal-03221359 , version 1 (08-05-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03221359 , version 1


Iryna Teslenko, Aleksandr Musin (Dir.). Древности Семидворья I. Средневековый двухапсидный храм в урочище Еди-Евлер (Алушта, Крым): исследования и материалы [Drevnosti Semidvorja I. Srednevekovyj dvuxapsidnyj xram v uročišče Yedi-Evler (Alušta, Krym): issledovanija i materialy]. Antikvar, 408 p., 2015, Archaeological Almanac. ⟨hal-03221359⟩


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