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Title: Bilsk (Belsk) City-Site
Subtitle: The Largest Fortified Settlement of Scythia
Author(s): SHRAMKO, Iryna
Journal: Ancient West & East
Volume: 20    Date: 2021   
Pages: 171-218
DOI: 10.2143/AWE.20.0.3289534

Abstract :
Within the territory of the European part of the Scythian world, Bilsk (Belsk) (8th–4th centuries BC), located on the Dnieper forest-steppe left bank, stands out for its size, complex structure, fortification, material culture, and expressive residential, industrial, religious and funerary objects. Decades of research of this key archaeological complex by various expeditions has yielded significant and diverse material, whose high academic informational content, without a doubt, makes it possible to reveal many aspects of the life of the local population, its ties with various areas of the Scythian world, the circle of European cultures and Greek centres. However, the phenomenon of this, the largest European fortified settlement of the Early Iron Age, described by Herodotus as the city of Gelon, has not yet been disclosed. Many issues related to it remain debatable. Until recently, the internal periodisation and chronology of the site were not established, rendering a complete picture of its development unobtainable. This article, backed by new data, gives a general description of the site and highlights its main stages of development, linking them with (s)elected chronological horizons. Such a review will demonstrate the unusualness of the Bilsk fortification.

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