2004 World Monuments Watch
Once the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom, the largest political state in the region of the ancient Black Sea, the ruins of the city of Panticapaeum contain evidence of settlement dating back to 2600 B.C. Over its long history the site has been occupied by Greeks, Scythians, and Sarmatians, evident in the art, architecture, and Kerch-style ceramics of the Bosporan Kingdom. More recently, Panticapaeum was the site of the oldest Christian church in Ukraine, the tenth-century Church of St. John the Baptist. For archaeologists, who began excavating the site at the close of the eighteenth century, Panticapaeum is unequalled in the Black Sea region in its richness of ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, and other artifacts. Since 1826, the site has been under the auspices of the Kerch Museum of Antiquities. Some site security was provided during the Soviet period due to Panticapaeum’s proximity to naval bases. More recently, however, Panticapaeum has been plagued by looting and vandalism, and the site is now riddled with looters trenches, which have destroyed walls and ancient frescoes. This damage has been compounded by natural factors such as rain and erosion, combined with unregulated tourism and local development.
Since the Watch
Following Watch listing the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture allocated 25,000 hryven’ (approximately $5,000) for the preservation of the site. January 2011