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Ukraine’s World Heritage Site: Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese

Posted on Oct, 23, 2013
Contributed to WCHV by Danielle

Tauric ChersoneseLast month (Sep 2013) after two decades of research and gathering data by the Ukrainian and US archaeologists the ancient city of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora was granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

A port city founded by Greeks in the fifth century B.C., Chersonesos is the site of an excavation led since 1994 by Professor Joseph Carter, professor of classical archaeology and the director of the Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICA) at University of Texas, Austin.

According to UNESCO, the site features the remains of a city founded by Dorian Greeks in the 5th century BC on the northern shores of the Black Sea. It encompasses six component sites with urban remains and agricultural lands divided into several hundreds of chora, rectangular plots of equal size. The plots supported vineyards whose production was exported by the city which thrived until the 15th century. The site features several public building complexes and residential neighborhoods, as well as early Christian monuments alongside remains from Stone and Bronze Age settlements; Roman and medieval tower fortifications and water supply systems; and exceptionally well-preserved examples of vineyard planting and dividing walls. In the 3rd century AD, the site was known as the most productive wine center of the Black Sea and remained a hub of exchange between the Greek, Roman and Byzantine Empires and populations north of the Black Sea. It is an outstanding example of democratic land organization linked to an ancient polis, reflecting the city’s social organization.

The excavation was supported by David Packard and the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), which contributed more than $12 million during a 12-year period to the project.

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