To achieve its scientific goals and to collect the missing data, the Project foresees three field-survey and excavation campaigns. These will be conducted on the Tarchankut Peninsula, which includes the Chernomorskoe district of the Crimea, Ukraine.
WCAP Survey area
As a result of the widespread preconception about the inner areas of Crimea being devoid of a stable sedentary population, previous surveys in the Tarkhankut Peninsula have focused predominantly upon the coastal zone, where several dozens of settlements datable to the Late Bronze Age and the late Classical through early Hellenistic period have been found. A new approach was taken in the Dzharylgach Survey Project (DSP) of 2007-2008; focusing on the area around Lake Dzharylgach, the fieldwork revealed a more complex settlement pattern with a string of previously unknown inland sites from both periods. The Western Crimean Archaeological Project (WCAP; V. Stolba & T. Smekalova) of 2009, which identified nearly 100 more unknown settlements, mostly short-lived, broke new ground in establishing that the pattern disclosed by the DSP project is far more widespread.
An extensive survey of 2010 (May-June) in the part of peninsula between the Karadzha Bay and Lake Donuzlav carried out by the WCAP (now an integral part of the EMAS Project) revealed a whole string of new settlements from both the LBA and the Classical/Hellenistic period, of which some, such as the fortified inland settlement of Agysh datable to the 4th/3rd cent. BC, have been subjected to archaeological soundings.
The larger scale excavations focused primarily on a new type of a rural settlement, previously unknown for the area, represented by the settlement of Kelsheikh 1 (c. 5 km south of the district centre of Chernomorskoye) that ceased to exist abruptly in the early 3rd century BC.
- Excavation and a stamp on a Greek transport amphora, site of Kelsheikh 1
Settlements-sites in north-western Crimea
This region played an important role in the history of the northern Black Sea littoral in antiquity. In terms of its landscape, economy, and cultural history, this region was unusual; it was the main agricultural base for both ancient Greek Chersonesos and the Late Scythian kingdom.
The north-western Crimea was a focus of the interests of the Chersonesean state in the second half and the end of the 4th century BC. The whole maritime zone of north-western Crimea and the inland areas of the Tarkhankut Peninsula was controlled by Chersonesos, which founded a net of settlements here. In contrast to Late-Scythian townsites of the Crimean foothills, the Late-Scythian settlements in western Crimea are a special phenomenon; this is because they were established at fortified and unfortified settlements in the Chersonesean rural hinterland. These settlements were founded between the beginning and the second half of the 2nd century BC. Therefore, the defensive system of these settlements was based on the fortifications of the Chersonesean period.
Until recently, a generally accepted axiom was that, during the Greek period, only the maritime zone was occupied in north-western Crimea. This supposition must now be revised in respect to Chersonesean settlements; this is because of recent discoveries in the inner part of the Tarkhankut Peninsula.
Based on the results of remote sensing, the archaeological and geophysical surveys were conducted during the field campaign of 2010. Ancient Greek and Late Scythian settlement-sites are considered in the context of over 120 aboriginal settlements and over 5,000 barrows revealed in 2007-2010. Most of the kurgans have stone mounds; these are dated to the 4th–3rd centuries BC and are situated in the inland parts of the peninsula. The excavation of one of them were started in 2010.
Excavations of barrow 335