The archaeological and geographical expedition "Akra, the ancient city of Bosporus" finished in Crimea. Four weeks, volunteers of the Russian Geographical Society together with specialists of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the State Hermitage and the Black Sea Underwater Research Center of Crimea studied the ancient city of Akra sunken in the waters of the Black Sea.
The ancient city of Akra is located near the village of Naberezhnoe (Leninsky district, Republic of Crimea). This small port city was founded by natives of Nymphaeum or Panticapaeum at the end of the 6th century BC. It was part of the Bosporus kingdoms Kingdom until the beginning of the 4th century until most of the city, with the exception of a small western area, disappeared under the waters of the Black Sea due to shore platform lowering.
The underwater exploration of Akra has been going on for five years already. During this time, the participants of the expedition have managed to find a lot of unique artifacts that create an idea of the culture and life of the people of that time. Among the finds there are the remains of fortifications, ruins of large and medium-sized stones, presumably left from the blurred masonry, fragments of ceramics and much more. In particular, the remains of an Akra wealthy resident’s house (first half of IV century BC) were found under the water. And not far from this structure, archaeologists found a fragment of a column, a gold earring with a lion's head and a spindle whorl (a weight in the form of a disk used for weighting a hand spindle and attaching yarn on it) with an inscription.
This year, the experts, in addition to searching for new artifacts, have continued excavations of the defensive wall, started during the previous expedition. The works resumed on the previously discovered tower, which dates back to IV century BC and was part of the defensive system of Akra.
"The tower was discovered during our previous expeditions. This year we have cleared it again and continued our research. One third of the tower was excavated to learn more about its structure – at its base there are very interesting wooden crates, built of large oak beams. A 3-d electronic model of the tower has already been created, with the help of which it is possible to continue its study off-site," said head of the expedition, researcher of the Department of Conservative Archeology of the Institute of History of Material Culture Sergey Soloviev.
Weather conditions and peculiarities of the Black Sea bottom often interfere with the archaeologists’ work. As a result, researchers have to restore the results of previous excavations. In this regard, scientists think about creating a research base near Akra, which could operate year-round and ensure the safety of archaeological sites.
"There it would be possible to create restoration workshops, laboratories, storage facilities for primary processing, study and temporary storage of finds. You can think of a system of structures that would protect the territory of the city from the wave impact," said Sergey Soloviev.
In addition to practical benefits the creation of such a base may turn Akra into a tour sight, a center of underwater tourism and even a park of the world level. The unique situation for the Black Sea, when almost the entire ancient city was under water, almost without losing its integrity, gives Akraa special value for underwater archeology. According to experts, such massifs exist only in the Mediterranean, Aegean seas and off the coast of North Africa.
The project is supported by a grant of the President of the Russian Federation.