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The earliest wine-making complexes in the Bosporan Kingdom (N. Grach)

In the course of excavations conducted at Nymphaeum in 1972 two wineries of the first quarter of the fourth century B.C. were discovered. The dating is based on the data of stratigraphic research and on the study of accompanying finds. The very fact of the discovery is interesting, for on the territory of the Bosporan Kingdom, as in other areas of the northern Black Sea coast, no wine-making complexes of the pre-Hellenistic period have so far been recorded. Winery No. 1 comprises a stone wine-press in the shape of a tub with a long spout and a cistern where the vat for the must was placed: its working surface measures 0.3 sq. m. Winery No. 2 is round in shape and has a protruding 126 spout; its working surface was 1-2 sq. m.

The structure of the Nymphaean wineries shows that they served for the crushing of considerable quantities of grapes by trampling, and were intended for long-term use. Their size, however, suggests that the output, though exceeding the needs of a single family, and clearly produced for sale, was such as to be marketed only within the city and its environs.

No close analogues for these wine-making complexes have been discovered on contemporaneous Pontic or Mediterranean sites. In Hellenistic times, however, similar small wine-presses were used in the wine-making industry in the Bosporan region and in Chersonesus. The earliest of the known stationary wine-presses also consist of a pressing floor and vat. Similar structures existed in Greece from the fourth century B.C. onwards, though the Athenian pressing floors, unlike those of Nymphaeum, are not of stone but cement-covered.

The Nymphaean wine-making complexes are the earliest monuments testifying to the existence of a developed viticulture and wine-making industry in the Bosporan Kingdom towards the close of the fifth and the first half of the fourth centuries B.C. They represent a unique type of structure, not to be found in Greece, and soon to become extinct in the Bosporan region.

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