During the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., the ancient Greek city-states began establishing colonies on the coast of the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea. Panticapaeum, Theodosia and Kimmerikon, for instance, were founded by the Milesians, while another settlement, Nymphaion was founded by colonists from Samos. Around the 5th century B.C., the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was founded. Although little is known about this kingdom in the Crimea, they have left behind one of the most impressive kurgans in the region, the so-called Royal Kurgan.
Kurgans are monumental burial mounds, within which is a burial chamber. These structures were first used in the Caucasus during the 4th millennium B.C., and subsequently spread to eastern, central and northern Europe in the following millennium. By the time the Greeks colonized the coastal area of the Crimean peninsula, kurgans had already been in use for a long time by the region’s inhabitants, the Scythians.