V 250. Sougdaia. Demonstrative inscription, before 1240 C.E.
Yellow Kapselian sandstone.
H. 22.0, W. 36.5, Th. unknown.
On the front: a cross formed by four intersecting arcs. The bottom arc is closed with another arc in mirror image, forming an eye shape. Cut off at the top; used as a spolium, built into a wall.
Place of Origin
Fortress, west of the city gate, Block I, Tower of the XIIIth century.
1995, excavations of of I.A. Baranov
Institution and inventory
In situ, no inventory number.
September 2003, September 2009.
On the arms and the intersection of the cross.
Inscriptions with the formula "Light, life" are known in the Northern Black Sea region since the VIth century (see Introduction IV.3.C.b), and in the Mediterranean region they are known even earlier, in the Vth century.
The basis for our date for this monument is not so much the lettershapes, which are not distinctive, but the type of the cross and the archaeological context. The stone block (in secondary use: the top is missing) was built into a wall of the XIII-XIVth century - terminus ante quem. Crosses drawn with a compass inside a circle are well known in Crimea, starting from the Middle Byzantine period (see, e.g., V 89). The closest paralle, however, is V 254, also from Sudak. Therefore, the most likely date for our monument is IX-XIth centuries. The original use of the block is not entirely clear: it may have been part of some church's masonry.
The inscribed block is built into the inner surface of the eastern wall of a defensive tower, whose construction date is determined on the basis of radiocarbon analysis. The dating of a cypress-wood beam from the masonry of the northern wall was conducted by N.N. Kovaluykh and V.V. Skripkin (M. P. Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), and as a result of subcaliber analysis, a date of 1240 C.E. +10 years was obtained, corresponding well to the general stratigraphy of that sector of the archaeological excavation. The destruction date of the western wall is definitively dated by the silver coins of the Golden Chorde Khan Tokhta (1291-1313), discovered in the excavations of 1996.