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Archaeologists from Tauric Chersonesos have found a standard of ancient time length in the ancient city

Archaeologists from Tauric Chersonesos have found a standard of ancient time length in the ancient city

CrimeaPRESS reports:

During the study of the intersection of the main street of ancient Chersonesos with the 15th transverse street of the city, a unique find was discovered in the backfill of a basement from the early Byzantine period.

The round marble slab was placed face down in the ground. It has been preserved completely and is a tabletop (mensa) with a diameter of 65 cm. The edge of the slab is decorated along the perimeter with a fillet. The front surface is covered with small notches. The surface was polished, only in one segment, on which there are relief images of two long rectangular strips, which are divided into segments by transverse lines. At the ends of the strips there are protrusions-indicators. The images are rulers indicating the total length and proportional parts corresponding to the lengths of a certain metric system. The length of the small ruler is 29.4 cm, and the large one with markings is 55.6 cm. Obviously, the table with the image of a measuring ruler was a metric standard established by the authorities of Chersonesos as a reference. The table could have been in a small room at the temple, or at the entrance to the Agora.— the press service of the museum-reserve quotes candidate of historical sciences, head of the department “Settled Fortress and Necropolis” Daniil Kostromichev.

For modern man, it has become customary to use a standard ruler. In ancient times, there were many standards, and each polis or state used its own. Discussions about the use of this or that practice continued for a long time. A single, modern system of length measures began to take shape only in the New Age.

The Greeks and Romans used the foot as a unit of length, but it is worth noting that the Roman foot was shorter than the Greek foot, and the Romans were the first to divide the foot into 12 smaller units. They also standardized lengths using copper rods, which probably corresponded to the length of the emperor’s foot. Each beat was divided into twelve equal parts, with the ounce, the Roman word for a twelfth part.

Archaeologists from Tauric Chersonesos have found a standard of ancient time length in the ancient city

The foot (29.6 cm on average) was not only one of the main measures of length, but was also used in site planning, in sculpture and in architecture, in the module, as the main conventional unit for coordinating the sizes of a statue and a building.
“… Among hundreds of other ancient Greek cities, Chersonesos stands out because in its area the ancient agricultural demarcation has been preserved, dividing the chora (Greek χώρα) of the Chersonesos into equal-sized plots. Boundary markings (plot fences) in other centers of Hellas have almost not been preserved, but in Chersonesos, on the contrary, they have survived more than two millennia and are still being studied by archaeologists. The modules used by the Greeks during surveying have become one of the central themes in the study of the agricultural area of ​​the ancient city. A number of works and a dissertation by the Chersonesos researcher, PhD in history G.M. Nikolaenko, who created a set of plots of the near chora of Chersonesos, were devoted to this topic. Researchers agree that when designing the Chersonesos cadastre in the 4th century BC. The Greeks took as a basis the Egyptian orgia (ὀργυιά) of 2.094 m and the Egyptian cubit (52.35 m), which constituted a quarter of it. The slightly larger value of the cubit on the newly discovered standard probably indicates that the latter was made later, when the measurement system in the city underwent some changes. This is also supported by the value of the local foot on the standard, which practically coincides with the value of the Roman foot, – notes Maxim Tyurin, senior researcher at the Khora Chersonesos department of the museum-reserve.

The discovery of a slab depicting measures of length is truly unique, noted the museum’s scientific secretary Natalia Ginkut:

Visualization of the measure of length of ancient times is very rare. For example, several images of Roman foot standards are known in the world — on the tombstones of Statilius (Statilian foot) and Cossutius (Cossutian foot), presumably the famous architect mentioned by Vitruvius, on the monument of Ebutius (Aebutian foot) and on the marble pedestal in Via Aurelis (Capponian foot). All these monuments are kept in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. The average size of the Roman foot standards is 29.62 cm. The foot is also depicted on an early Byzantine mosaic from the end of the 4th — beginning of the 5th century AD from the House of Eustolius in Kourion, Cyprus.

Chersonesus scientists have yet to thoroughly study the unique find, but it is already safe to say that the discovery of the «Chersonesus» standard of length, the «Chersonesus foot», is a world-class discovery. The «Chersonesus foot» allows us to expand the horizons of research in the entire Mediterranean region, providing scientists with new data and opportunities.

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source of mosaic picture —

source: Public Relations Department of the State Museum-Reserve «Tauric Chersonesos»

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