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Remains of wealthy warrior buried next to wife and children unearthed in Phanagoria

Archaeologists have unearthed a well-preserved necropolis where a wealthy Greek warrior and his family were buried.

The crypt containing a man, his wife and their three children was found dated back to the 5th century AD in Phanagoria, Krasnodar Krai, Russia.

The expedition team, led experts from the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the family may have died from the plague or during an attack by Nomadic tribes.

Given the depth of the burial, which was more than five metres deep, it is suggested the warrior and his family held a high status during the time.

Aleksei Voroshilov, head of the Necropolis division at the Phanagoria archaeological dig, said:

“Judging by what we have found here the man was served the city’s army. He was a horseman, because we found riding stirrups and spurs too. There is also a leather harness attached to a belt which was used to carry a sword. The buckles on the harness are really worn-out which means this warrior has seen a lot of fighting. He was unsheathing and sheathing his sword again and again.”

Several other valuable artifacts have been found this summer in excavations both above ground in ancient Phanagoria and underwater in the flooded parts of the ancient city.

Head of Phanagoria open-air museum Vladimir Kuznetsov said: “This year we have discovered very accurate and strong evidence [that Christianity was founded in Phanagoria in the fifth century], which is a marble tabletop, which could be used as an altar in a church. We have discovered a marble baptistery for infants or probably for toddlers as well. It is not very big, nevertheless it is massive and made from marble.”

The archaeological finds are not only of interest to Russian experts but to the wider world as they are unique among other nation’s discoveries.

Vladimir said: “One of our underwater expeditions discovered a ship some time ago, which was sunk following the uprising in Phanagoria against Mithridates VI of Pontus which occured exactly in 62 BC. This ship is one of the most ancient ones ever found in the world.”