A Byzantine treasure was discovered in Taman: it consists of 28 rare gold coins of the 10th century Byzantine emperors. Most of them are the tetarterons of Emperor John I Tzimiskes (969–976). The treasure also includes earlier coins - solidi - from the reign period of Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas (963–969). The image of Christ is depicted on the obverse of the coins. The reverse of the coin of John I Tzimiskes shows the emperor John being blessed by the Holy Virgin, and the reverse of the coin of Nicephorus II Phocas depicts the Mother of God and the emperor holding a cross. The treasure was hidden in a ceramic vessel. It was found in a shattered condition by the members of the Taman archaeological team of the IA RAS at one of the settlements abandoned by residents around the 11th century.
“Such treasures are rare: for example, in the book by V.V. Kropotkin “Treasures of Byzantine coins in the USSR ”, published in 1962, only two treasures of the 10th century are described, both of which have not survived to the present day. This find will help us to obtain new data on the extremely interesting, but very poorly illuminated by historical sources period of our history - the formation of Russia and the first campaigns of the Kiev princes," said Peter Gaidukov, deputy director of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Presumably, the treasure was buried during the reign of John I: this is the time of the formation of the Tmutarakan principality - a special Russian principality that existed in the late 10th – 12th centuries, which began with the eastern campaign of Svyatoslav in 965 against the Khazar Khaganate.
Currently, the treasure has been transferred to the “Phanagoria ” museum-reserve, where coins will be available for further study and exhibition.
“The Christianization of the Bosporan Kingdom ended with its entry into Byzantium,” says Ivan Chaika, chairman of the Krasnodar Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society. “Cape Panagiya on the Taman Peninsula is the oldest place in modern Russia where Christianity was practiced. Archaeologists discovered traces and symbols of early Christianity there. It is no accident that on the reverse of the coin of Nicephorus II Phocas the Mother of God and the Emperor hold a cross, and on the reverse of the coin of John, the emperor is depicted being blessed by the Virgin. This rare find of the archaeologists will become an addition to the collection of the museum-reserve "Phanagoria", which is one of the sites of the tourist project "Golden Ring of the Bosporan kingdom."
After the examination, the unique treasure will be available for exhibition to the numerous tourists.