Thursday, 31 December 2020


This lovely oil in water coloured ammonite is the beauty Beudanticeras sp. from the Lower Cretaceous (Upper Aptian), Krasnodar region, Northern Caucasus, southern Russia. 

This area of the world has beautiful fossil specimens with their distinct colouring. The geology and paleontological history of the region are fascinating as is its more recent history. 

The territory of present Krasnodar Krai was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic, about 2 million years ago. It was inhabited by various tribes and peoples since ancient times. There were several Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, which later became part of the Kingdom of the Bosporus. In 631, the Great Bulgaria state was founded in the Kuban. In the 8th-10th centuries, the territory was part of Khazaria.

In 965, the Kievan Prince Svyatoslav defeated the Khazar Khanate and this region came under the power of Kievan Rus, Tmutarakan principality was formed. At the end of the 11th century, in connection with the strengthening of the Polovtsy and claims of Byzantium, Tmutarakan principality came under the authority of the Byzantine emperors (until 1204).

In 1243-1438, this land was part of the Golden Horde. After its collapse, Kuban was divided between the Crimean Khanate, Circassia, and the Ottoman Empire, which dominated in the region. Russia began to challenge the protectorate over the territory during the Russian-Turkish wars.

In 1783, by decree of Catherine II, the right-bank Kuban and Taman Peninsula became part of the Russian Empire after the liquidation of the Crimean Khanate. In 1792-1793, Zaporozhye (Black Sea) Cossacks resettled here to protect new borders of the country along the Kuban River. 

During the military campaign to establish control over the North Caucasus (Caucasian War of 1763-1864), in the 1830s, the Ottoman Empire for forced out of the region and Russia gained access to the Black Sea coast.

Prior to the revolutionary events of 1917, most of the territory of present Krasnodar Krai was occupied by the Kuban region, founded in 1860. In 1900, the population of the region was about 2 million people. In 1913, it ranked 2nd by the gross harvest of grain, 1st place for the production of bread in the Russian Empire.

The Kuban was one of the centres of resistance after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. In 1918-1920, there was a non-Bolshevik Kuban People’s Republic. In 1924, North-Caucasian krai was founded with the centre in Rostov-on-Don. In 1934, it was divided into Azov-Black Sea krai (Rostov-on-Don) and North Caucasus krai (Stavropol).

September 13, 1937, the Azov-Black Sea region was divided into the Rostov region and Krasnodar Krai that included Adygei autonomous oblast. During the Second World War, the region was captured by the Germans. After the battle for the Caucasus, it was liberated. There are about 1,500 monuments and memorials commemorating heroes of the war on the territory of Krasnodar Krai.

The lovely block you see here is in the collections of the awesome John Fam, Vice-Chair of the Vancouver Paleontological Society in British Columbia, Canada.