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Articles and Publications

Treasures of the Odessa region number 3. The treasure of Borodino. Part 1

Borodino or more known as Bessarabian treasure was discovered a little over a hundred years ago - in 1912. In the same year revealed the Seima burial in the Volga region. At first glance - nothing in common, but in both places have been found similar metal objects. 

In the II millennium BC. e. the steppe and forest steppe of Eastern Europe were inhabited by many ethnic groups that built their economies on livestock. Daily farming and production of wool was developing well.

Tribes that were working with cattle breeding began to have a surplus of livestock and its production, which were the subject of exchange. Property hierarchy was growing rapidly among the pastoral tribes, followed by the wealth accumulated in the tribal and military elite.

A bit later comes the heyday of copper and bronze production, and then there is a need for raw materials for the manufacture of bronze tools and weapons. At that time, the main source of production of copper and bronze for the majority of the tribes of Eastern Europe were the Ural and Altai. Demand for the metal created contacts between the various tribes, often thousands of miles distant from each other.

Parts of Borodino hoard opened tribe’s contacts of the North-Western Black Sea region with a population of Eastern Europe and Siberia, as well as the ancient civilizations of Crete-Mycenaean culture.

Borodino treasure was discovered during the extraction of the stone of kurganoobraznyh mounds by the village of Borodino of Akerman County (formerly the province of Bessarabia). A find was handed to Odessa archaeologist E. R. Stern, who in 1913 made a presentation at an international congress of historians in London, then it became a world-famous treasure. The report was published in issue 34 of the Materials on the archeology of Russia.

The treasure has been studied by many pundits, however, a comprehensive analysis was made only in 1949, by an employee of the State Historical Museum OA Krivtsovoj - Grakova.
Because of the great importance of the find, in 1914, treasure was deposited in the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1923, he moved to the State Historical Museum in exchange for Greek vases from the collection of antique time MP Botkin.

The treasure includes 17 titles, from which only eleven are preserved in a good condition, while the other six only in fragments: two silver spearheads broken off in ancient times from the third sleeve like a tip, silver dagger, big pin, drilled four polished jade ax; three different shapes of stone tops clubs. Besides, three fragments of stone axes, two bronze plates apparently ferrules shafts and two fragments of ceramics. Now about the product from the metal. Two tip and bushing are made out of silver. The most massive spear, has a length of 34.1 cm weighing 519.1 g, is also made of high-grade silver 916 samples. From the same silver and made a spear from which survived only a bush. The second spear was somewhat smaller (weighing 280.8 g) is made of low-grade silver 400 samples (an alloy of copper and silver). Spectral analysis of the metal showed that the raw material for the manufacture of finds was taken from Nicholas silver deposit and the Urals.

Ancient spear is placed on the wooden poles. Fastening served two eyelets on the first spear, one loop on the second and two through holes on the sleeve third. They passed rawhide strap, which is more reliable countersigned spears with shafts.

All items Borodino of copies were cast entirely in bilateral molds. This technique of casting shows the high level of ancient metallurgy. After molding their further was treated with: casting stitches removed, the surface leveled and polished. Initially circular rod pen was forged and only after converted into an edge is clearly visible, giving the spears amazing grace. Blades perfectly drawn and punctured, sharpened only the upper part of the spear, at the very top.

And only after that jewelers applied to the first surface of the spear ornament round and flat chasing. Each bushing additionally decorated with gold 750th sample. With that figure was originally applied to the silver base, and only after it imposes a very thin sheet of gold (a sign of high craftsmanship of jewelers). Then image exactly repeated on gold. Gold penetrated into hollows left in silver, and is attached to a tightly basis. This technique is well known in various ancient cultures of the Aegean Sea, it is, by the way, used in jewelry and craft to this day.

A separate topic for reflection patterns on the spears those were different. But we'll discuss this in the next article.

Valery Sinkovsky




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