Secrets of the Taurus Boxes: mysterious tombs on the Crimean Peninsula

The Crimean peninsula, beautiful and mysterious, holds many mysteries of history. One of these mysteries are the Taurus Boxes discovered in different parts of Crimea. These stone tombs, dating back to the 6th-5th centuries BC, testify to the existence of the ancient Taurus culture on the peninsula.

The Taurian boxes are rectangular pits with walls made of hewn stone slabs and covered with a stone slab as a lid on top. Sometimes these tombs were surrounded by a stone fence. Unlike Scythian burials, Taurian boxes did not have mounds, but were sometimes surrounded by earth mounds or fences of standing stones. They can be found both as individual specimens and as entire necropolises with dozens of tombs arranged in parallel rows.

The preservation of Taurus boxes varies in different regions of the Crimea. In some places they are completely destroyed, in others only the side plates are preserved, and in some places even the upper lid can be seen. However, the proximity to the surface of the earth was the reason for the rapid looting of these tombs in antiquity. Archaeologists were only able to find a few artifacts such as glass beads, bracelets and arrowheads. Bronze jewelry, iron swords and knives were found in one of the few surviving boxes, testifying to the connection between the Taurians and the Scythians.

Stone boxes were used for multiple burials. Each of them probably served as a family tomb. After the tomb was filled with bones, they were cleaned and re-filled with new burials. This testifies to the complex ritual practice of the Taurians.

However, the most mysterious aspect of the Taurian boxes is their stone processing. Despite their primitive tools, the Taurians were able to chisel huge slabs of stone and work them perfectly. Moreover, the stone deposits could be located at a considerable distance from the burial grounds, and the weight of the slabs reached 2 tons, and their length and width exceeded several meters. How they coped with such a task and how they delivered the slabs to the place of burial – this remains a mystery in the history of the Crimea.

Taurus boxes are sometimes called Crimean dolmens, but unlike the large Caucasian dolmens, they are much smaller and hidden underground. Therefore, such a name is not quite accurate.

Most of the Taurian boxes were discovered in the Baidar Valley, where one of the most large-scale Taurian burials is located – Tash-Koi, which means “Stone Village”. The lids of these tombs, protruding above the ground, reminded the inhabitants of the destroyed settlement of the roofs of houses.

Taurus boxes remain one of the mysteries of the history of Crimea. They testify to the ancient culture of the Taurians and raise many questions for scientists. How the Taurians processed stone and created these tombs remains unknown. However, they continue to attract the attention of researchers and amateur archaeologists, revealing part of the mysteries of Crimea’s ancient past.

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