Ancient coffin with teenager’s skeleton discovered in Crimea

Ancient coffin with teenager’s skeleton discovered in Crimea

Russian archaeologists have discovered a sarcophagus with juvenile remains while digging the Gospitalny burial mound in Crimea, the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

The institute’s research scientist at the Scythian-Sarmatic Archaeology Department Irina Rukavishnikova noted that the oldest graves of which date back to the 4th century BC, the golden age of the Bosporan Kingdom.

"Two stone tombs covered by slabs were the oldest burials found under the mound. One grave had been robbed during ancient times, while the other one contained a wooden sarcophagus covered with gypsum ornaments holding a teenager’s skeleton inside. The wooden sarcophagus had been crushed and partly decayed and disintegrated," the report says.

Archaeologists found many sports-related items near the buried juvenile: 10 alabastrons - vessels for oil that was used for exercises and competitions, a strigil - a tool for cleansing the athlete’s body by scraping off oil, perspiration and dirt and massaging after competitions, as well as 150 astragali (knucklebones), the press service specified.

"A red-figure pelike - a ceramic vessel for wine - from the so-called Kerch style is especially notable. Judging by these finding, a twelve-year-old teenager, who did not have time to start a family or take part in war, but, perhaps, was promising in sports - was buried there in the second half of 4th century BC," TASS cited the report as saying.