Black Grave

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Image:Black grave 19th century drawing.jpg
A 19th century drawing depicting the mound.
Image:Chorna Mohyla ryton.jpg
A drinking horn encrusted by silver found in the Black Grave. Collection of the State Historical Museum of Russia.

The Black Grave (Ukrainian: Chorna mohyla) (Russian: Chyornaya mogila) is the largest burial mound (kurgan) in Chernihiv, Ukraine. Comparable to the barrows of Gnyozdovo near Smolensk, the Black Grave has a height of 11 meters and a circumference of 125 meters.

During excavations undertaken in 1872-73, Dmitry Samokvasov uncovered two cremated bodies of Norse warriors (probably father and son), surrounded by slaves, sacrificial animals, arms, armour, and decorations. Samokvasov dated the burial to the late 10th century, when Vladimir I was the ruler of Kievan Rus. It is likely that the buried warriors were two princes (knyazes) of Chernigov, although no local potentate is attested in the Slavonic chronicles before Vladimir's son, Mstislav of Chernigov.

After the bodies were cremated, they were put upon a 7-meter-high mound, where a funeral feast (trizna) took place. Arranged near the bodies were two helmets and knee-length mail shorts (hauberks), probably extracted from the pyre, as well as a cauldron with ram bones, two sacerdotal knives, two golden Byzantine coins, an imported sabre, a miniature dark-red bronze idol of Thor, and two silver-bound auroch horns decorated with floral motifs, fabulous animals, and figures of a man and a woman shooting at a bird. When the barrow was completed, a stele was placed at the top. All these items are now displayed at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

At the present time the site of the burial mound along with other 34 buildings (mostly churches) are included in the Chernihiv State Historical and Architectural Reserve "Ancient Chernihiv". The Black Grave along with the rest of the reserve is the major tourist attraction in the Chernihiv Oblast (province) of Ukraine.

[edit] References

  • Dmitry Samokvasov. Могилы русской земли. Moscow, 1908.
  • Boris Rybakov. Древности Чернигова. // Материалы и исследования по археологии СССР, №11, Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
  • T.A. Pushkina. Бронзовый идол из Черной могилы. // Вестник Московского университета. Серия 8. История, №3, 1984.

[edit] External links

Volkhov-Volga trade route: Lyubsha | Aldeigja | Álaborg | Hólmgarðr | Sarskoe | Timerevo
Dvina-Dnieper trade route: Pallteskja | Gnezdovo | Chernigov | Kænugarðr
Other locations: Bjarmaland | Khortitsa | White Shores | Miklagarðr | Særkland
Varangians | Rus' | Slavs | Merya | Bulgars | Khazars
uk:Чорна могила

Black Grave

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