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Taganrog's Ancient History

The history of the city of Taganrog, which lies on the coast of the Azov Sea, is remarkable and fascinating. It goes back to late Bronze Age - early Iron Age (between 20th and 10th centuries BC), and was mentioned by the Greek historian Herodotus as Emporion Kremnoi a Greek settlement of 7th-5th centuries B.C. The excavations conducted by the German Archaeological Institute (Berlin, Germany), the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), the Don-Archaeological Society (Rostov-on-Don, Russia) not only confirm the early date of Taganrog's foundation, but also prove Taganrog settlement to be the earliest Greek colony in the Northern-Western Black Sea Region. The settlement was situated at mouth of two rivers - Don and Mius that used to be important water transportation routes to neighboring territories.

Handmade ceramics found in Taganrog, 4-3 centuries BC ©DAI
The excavations by the German Achaeological Institute (Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut) and Don Archaeological Society, led to conclusion that there was a Greek settlement in the place of the modern-day Taganrog, founded in the late 7th century BC. It played an important role in the course of the early Greek colonization of the Black Sea region, and was founded probably soon after Berezan and Histria, it is anyway much older than the first settlements and colonies in the Cimmerian Bosporus (Strait of Kerch) or Tanais that were founded between 580 and 60 BC.

Remains of the ancient plaza found in Taganrog (7th century BC. Photo: Alexandre Mirgorodski

According to scientists, the name of the settlement might be Emporion Kremnoi on the coast of Palus Maeotis, mentioned by Herodotus. The starting point for the expedition were some 20,000 pieces of ceramics, mostly of Greek origin, from the regions of Eastern Hellas (today - the Turkish Mediterranean coastline and islands) that date back to late 7th-6th centuries BC. These artifacts have been washed away regularly by the Azov Sea onto a small plot of land near the Stone Stairway since 1930s, and are now exhibited at the Taganrog Museum.


Greek amphora (from the island of Khios), 6th century BC

Bread Oven, 7th century AD

 

Bread Oven, 7th century AD