Ukrainian archaeologists distinguish such Pre-Scythian cultures in the Ukraine: (1) Cimmerian culture in the steppe, (2) Chornolis culture in the forest-steppe of the Right-side Ukraine, (3) the culture of Thracian Halstatt in Moldova and Middle Dnestr land, (4) Vysotska culture in two modern-day districts of the West Ukraine, and (5) Luzhitska in the extreme western rand of the Ukraine1. The last culture occupied only very little area and had not great influence on the cultural process in the Ukraine at that time. Cimmerian culture is suggested to be the culture of early nomads in Pontic steppes in the 9th – 8th century BC. It is represented only with some entombments in the steppe, but no Cimmerian settlements are found till now. Vysotska culture and culture of Thracian Halstatt are peripheral. Thus, we will pay more attention to Chornolis culture which played the greatest role for the development the next cultures in the Ukraine.
Map 7. Archaeological Cultures of Pre-Scythian Time in the Ukraine . Chornolis (Chernoles in Russian) culture became its name after the locality Chornyi Lis (Black forest) near the village of Boğdanivka at the upper course of the river Inğulets, the right tributary of the Low Dnieper. In the year 1949 here was found a site of ancient fortified settlement (hillfort) as the first evidence about a new unknown culture. Initially, a large number of the sites of the Chornolis culture was found along the right bank of the Dnieper in the basins of the rivers Tiasmyn and Ros’, while during the 60-70s of the last century the question about the Carpathian population at the Scythian time was the least studied archaeologically 2. Later, however, more than 60 settlements were surveyed in the Middle Dniester3. In general the Chornolis culture occupies a large portion of Right-Bank Ukraine.
To determine the ethnicity of this culture we recall that at the end of the 3rd millennium BC Turkic population started the infiltration to the right bank of the Dnieper, in the area of the Tripilla culture. These were the tribes of ancient Bulgars, the ancestors of the modern-day Chuvash. First they settled only in the steppe, but later moved to the forest-steppe zone, what is evidenced by lexical correspondences between the German and Chuvash languages. The hypothetical territory Proto-Bulgar would have to be somewhere south of the ancient Teutons area that is in the basins of the rivers Upper Dniester, Western Bug, Vereschitsa, Zolota Lypa, Strypa. The presence of the Proto-Bulgar on this area is confirmed by remained till now numerous Bulgarish place names. Here the Proto-Bulgar created the Komariv culture (the 18th – 12th cent BC) and the following Vysotsky one. Later the Bulgar tribes expanded their territory which in general can be determined according to place names in the Western and Right-Bank Ukraine. This area could definitely be associated with the area of the widening of the Chornolis culture (see the map below). Among all place names of the Bulgarish origin, a clear chain of settlements is allocated at the distance of 10-20 km from each other. It stretches from the town of Sokal in the north of Lviv Region above the town of Radekhiv to the town of Radivilov, then turns east and runs south of the towns of Kremenets, Shumsk, and Izyaslav to Lyubar, then turns to south-east, passes above the town of Chmielnik through the village of Kalinovka, and there not a chain but a whole band of names goes in the direction of the Dnieper. North of this chain the place names of Bulgar origin are present also, but they are scattered haphazardly. The band of Kurdish villages which stretches along the Dniester River on the east may reflect the fact that the Kurds were obviously moved simultaneously with the Bulgars to the Dnieper River, forcing the remnants of the Thracians to the right bank of the Dniester, and then turned into the Black Sea steppe.