A city on the S coast of the Gulf of Taman colonized from Teos ca. 540 B.C. (Strab. 11.2.10) on a site of which the earliest traces of habitation go back to the 2d millennium. From 480 B.C. on, the city belonged to the monarchy of the Archeactides but remained an independent polis, as is proved by the titles of its archontes contained in inscriptions.
The Greek city spread out on two terraces 37 ha in area of which nearly half (15 ha) was destroyed by the sea. The walls, which were of unhewn blocks, are partially preserved. The lower quarter was the city center and was dominated by the fortified acropolis. The city reached the height of its prosperity in the 4th c. B.C.; traces of paved streets, wells, water pipes, basements of rectangular houses with tiled roofs date from this period. Marble architectural fragments and Ionic capitals come from a temple of Aphrodite Urania. Demeter, Kore, Apollo, and Dionysos were worshiped in the city. The remains of a gymnasium from the 3d c. B.C. and a heroon with painted decoration have been found. Also to the 4th-3d c. date the Bol'shaia Blitznitza barrow and the Mt. Vasiurina kurgans (see below). In the 2d c. B.C. the city was conquered by Mithridates. Several winemaking establishments date to the early centuries A.D. and the remains of baths (?). In the 4th c. A.D. the city was destroyed by the Huns but revived by the end of the century and became an important mediaeval center.
In a kurgan necropolis on the outskirts of the city rich archaeological finds provide evidence of contact with the great centers of Hellenic civilization. In the 6th c. B.C. Ionic wares were imported, followed by Attic wares and wares from Chios and Thasos. However, there was from the beginning considerable local production, consisting of imitations of Greek models, especially of pottery. The Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin Museum, Moscow, contain material from the site.
On the Taman peninsula to the SW of Phanagoria is a rich Greek barrow (15 m high and ca. 350 m in circumference) dating to the latter half of the 4th c. B.C. It contains five independent elements: an empty chamber of painted masonry, perhaps looted; a square stone tomb with corbeled roof containing a male burial in the remains of a wooden coffin with ivory inlay; a square tomb with corbeled roof reached by a short dromos and containing the so-called Priestess of Demeter so named because of a head of Demeter or Kore painted on a slab in the middle of the cupola; another tomb with a female burial; a stone chamber roofed with timber containing a female burial in a wooden coffin. There are many rich grave gifts and traces of a great pyre. The gifts include a gold diadem and a group of terracottas. (M. L. BERNHARD & Z. SZTETYŁŁO, PECS)Wikidata ID: Q1344411
Info: Princeton Encyclopedia
(Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, from Perseus Project)