Libmonster ID: RU-17166


In the territory of the middle Trans-Ural several thousand archeological monuments have been discovered: sites, settlements, sites of ancient settlements, places of metallurgical production, places of worship and burial grounds. A special place among them is occupied by a complex of monuments of Gorbunov peatbog formed in the place of an ancient lake located in the suburbs of the city of Nizhni Tagil. Nataliya Chairkina, Cand. Sc. (Hist.), Head of the Section of the Stone Age and Archeological Source Studies of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in the Science of Ural newspaper that 38 archeological monuments were discovered in the course of a hundred-year history of peatbog studies. Excavations were carried out on 14 such sites. The collection of findings numbers dozens of thousands of units. They include articles made of stone, clay and metal of different chronological periods from the. Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Age to the Early Iron Age (11th-1st mill. B.C.).

The author notes that peatbog monuments are a special type of archeological sources, and their specificity is explained by the ability of peat, in the absence of air and high humidity, to conserve organic residues, especially, wooden and ivory articles, which are not conserved in mineral soils*. In the territory of Russia and countries of Eastern Europe a limited number of such archeological sites are known. Studies of the most famous monument of Gorbunov peatbog started more than 100 years ago. As early as in 1908, a Tagil regional ethnographer Toporkov addressed a letter to the Ural Society of Natural Scientists, in which he reported on ancient articles found in the course of peat development. In the past years the uniqueness of this archeological complex became evident and findings made by dozens of

See: N. Chairkina, "Top Secret", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2009.--Ed.

The 6th open pit of Gorbunov peatbog. A fragment of the wooden structure. Excavations by N. Chairkina.

стр. 101

Ornithomorphic sculpture.

Anthropomorphic sculpture.

Articles made of metal and wood.

expeditions took their places in museums and storehouses. Much work was carried out by Moscow specialists in the first half of the 20th century and a system of interrelated wooden constructions of the Eneolithic (Early Iron Age) was discovered, namely, sites or constructions, lanes-plankings, wooden sculptures. "Idols" testify to the fact that it was a cult place. Unfortunately, the revealed monuments and numerous articles described but partially, and not studied scientifically, cause arguments and discussions on the time of their origin and purpose.

Therefore, in 2007 the staff members of the Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences started full-scale studies of the peatbog. New data were obtained which disclosed many secrets. It was established by modern methods that some wooden plankings and sites had been built in the 3rd-2nd millennia B.C. They found a cult construction of the ancient bronze age, birchbark articles, sculptures of waterfowls, sledge runners, and arrow stone heads. Some articles have no analogues in materials of the Trans-Ural peat monuments.

It should be noted that some articles have common features with the findings in Western and Eastern Europe. However, according to Nataliya Chairkina, such large-scale and ancient constructions, such a multitude of different articles made of organic material and perfect in embodiment and style are not known anywhere.

The Ural scientists face an important mission of preserving the historical and cultural heritage of Gorbunov peatbog. This task provides for a number of measures such as a full-scale inventory of all discovered archeological monuments under state protection, preparation of materials for newly discovered monuments to be protected by state, compilation of a universal catalog of all findings and documents, unconditional continuation of full-scale studies, and popularization of the regional archeo-logical heritage.

The photo exhibition held to mark the centenary of studies of Gorbunov peatbog was sponsored collectively by the Nizhni Tagil Museum-Reserve, the Nizhni Tagil State Social and Pedagogical Academy and the Institute of History and Archeology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The museum and archive materials as well as photos displayed provoked considerable interest among the visitors. Many of such exhibits were demonstrated for the first time.

N. Chairkina, Antiquities of пїЅGorbunov Peatbog, "Science of Ural", No. 22, 2010

Prepared by Alexander POLEZHAEV

Illustrations provided by N. Chairkina and M. Makarova


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