Hellenistic Plastic Lamps from the Ancient Sanctuary at Sveti Atanas Cape near Byala, Varna Region Cover Image

Елинистически фигурални лампи от античното светилище на нос Свети Атанас край Бяла, Варненско
Hellenistic Plastic Lamps from the Ancient Sanctuary at Sveti Atanas Cape near Byala, Varna Region

Author(s): Alexander Minchev
Subject(s): History, Archaeology, Cultural history, Ancient World
Published by: Издательский дом Stratum, Университет «Высшая антропологическая школа»
Keywords: Western Black Sea region; Hellenism; plastic lamps; ancient pit sanctuary; Thracians; cult objects
Summary/Abstract: Three plastic terracotta lamps of Hellenistic period have been published and discussed in this article. They were discovered at three different cult pits during excavation of the ancient Thracian pit sanctuary, located near Byala, Varna Region, Bulgaria. It is situated on Sveti Atanas Cape and was in function during 6th —1st centuries BC, or maybe a bit later.All three lamps are shaped as Negroid heads. The first one is made of brownish clay and is preserved intact. It is dated to the 3rd century BC and is possibly of Attic origin. It finds parallels among the finds of the second half of the 3rd century BC from Seuthopolis — the capital of the Thracian Kingdom of 4th —3rd centuries BC. The other two lamps are also shaped as Negroid heads, but fragmented and belong to another type. A lamp of the same shape was found in Burgas, again on the Western Black Sea coast. Based on similar finds from other regions of the Ancient world, both lamps from Byala have been dated to the 1st century BC. The author supposes that they are of Asia Minor origin and possibly products of Cnidus’s workshops.Based on the finds in the pits, it was established that this cult center was used, by no doubts, by the locals: Thracians and Greeks who lived around the cape in the vicinity, and in the ancient towns on the coastline. It was visited permanently also by a number of ancient sailors of various ethnic origin, who stopped there to make their offerings to the gods when sailing along the Western Black Sea coast in northern and southern directions. The three lamps were deposited probably as votive offerings by ancient sailors, who deliberately stopped at the sanctuary on Sveti Atanas Cape. Here, they were able to make their ritual offerings to thank the (sea?) gods for saving their lives during that sailing or for a safe return home.

  • Page Range: 35-42
  • Page Count: 8
  • Publication Year: 2019
  • Language: Bulgarian