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by Gleb LEBEDEV, Dr. Sc. (Hist.), St. Petersburg State University
Since the early years of its existence St. Petersburg became a symbol of momentous changes in Russian culture. The reforms of Peter the Great were crowned among other things with the establishment of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and pride of place on its agenda was given to archeology. The "Siberian Gold" from ancient mounds dug out by treasure hunters of the time attracted the attention of the Emperor in 1715 and provided the foundation of the Kunstkamera collection-Russia's first academic museum. Today the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg offers its visitors golden objects from the Scythian-Siberian "royal tomb" found by St. Petersburg archeologists in the burial mounds of Tuva north of Outer Mongolia - a find hailed as one of the sensations of the 21st century.
The pioneer of archeological studies in the surroundings of the "Northern Palmyra" (St. Petersburg) was the Rev. Wilhelm Tolle - Evangelical Father Superior of the urban community and of the Russian Navy (1674-1710). He came there 1704 with a "mass recruitment" of foreign sailors (more than 500 of them) who were hired for service in the Russian Navy by Admiral Komelius Kruis at the request of Peter the Great. To the end of his life the Reverend kept studying the topography of the new Russian capital, its ethnography and local dialects. And he took special interest in historical monuments on the territory of what was called Ingermanland - a traditional Russian region which was contested in the long and dramatic Northern War (1700-1721) with Sweden.
It was Tolle who conducted the first excavations of the burial mounds of Staraya Ladoga (early Middle Ages) - a city which played the role of the predecessor of St. Petersburg on the waterway to the Baltic from the middle of the 8th to the end of the 17th centuries. The finds obtained during these excavations offered tangible proofs of the manifold links of the Early Rus with the Scandinavian North and the Moslem East. Among these "proofs" were burial urns similar to the "Gothic" ones and also an Arab silver coins of the 8th-10th centuries.
In the later years studies of this kind became the responsibility of the Russian Academy of Sciences these studies embraced the whole vast territory of the Russian Empire, including the remote and practically unknown areas of Eurasia. The first study project, which lasted several years, was suggested and carried out in 1720-1727 by the German medical and natural scientist Professor Daniel Messerschmidt. In addition to studies in natural sciences its program also included ethnographic and archeological research. On the Emperor' orders the scholar surveyed the basins of the rivers Irtysh, Enisei, Podkamennaya Tunguska, Lena, Ob and of Lake Baikal.
In the course of this expedition its organizer conducted the first ever excavations of burial mounds near Abakan in Siberia, discovering and describing stone steles of the Bronze Age (4th-1st centuries B.C.). He is also honored as the pioneer discoverer of Runic writings of the ancient Turkic tribes of the 7th-11th centuries upon rocks and stone slabs in the valleys of the Orkhon and Enisei rivers. The finds and diaries of Prof. Messerschmiedt were later handed over to the Russian Academy.
Together with the golden treasures from the Scythian burial, mounds acquired by the Kunstkamera (1715-1718), these objects provided the foundation of the material and documentary fund of the Russian archeological science.
Thus the first quarter of the 18th century saw the establishment of the foundation of Russian archeology, and the main stages of its development have since been reflected in the activities of our Academy of Sciences, Academy of the Arts, the Hermitage Museum and a network of specialized centers of archeological studies headed by the Imperial Archeological Commission. Archeological expeditions to Siberia, Northern Prichemomorye, the Crimea and the Caucasus mounted during the 18th-19th centuries promoted the formation of the main sections of the Russian archeological science, and this took place within the framework of the "St. Petersburg School".
This school is associated, above all, with the studies of Ancient Greek urban centers in the Northern Prichernomorye and Pontus Euxinus including such prominent centers of the Hellenic world as Olvia (Borisphen), Tauric Chersonese and Panticapaeum (Bosphorus). The expeditions were led by the President of the Academy of Fine Arts, director of the Public Library and Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences, Alexei Olenin (1763-1843), the first custodian of the archeological collections of the Hermitage, Academician Ludwig Stefani (1816-1887), and an expert in the art of the antiquity, Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, Boris Farmakovsky (1870-1928). The Slavonic-Russian archeology was established by the efforts of Alexei Olenin, of the prominent Russian historian, army officer and founder of the Artillery Museum, Nikolai Brandenburg (1839-1903) and Lev Ivanovsky.
In 1899 the future Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Alexander Spitsyn, prepared the first fundamental generalizations of the archeological data on the geographical distribution of the Early Russian tribes which retain their importance to this day. Over a period of 20 years he systematized all of the monuments of antiquity known by the start of the 20th century which had been found on the territory of this country He published Archeological Reviews of Certain Goubemias from 1896 to 1899, which covered the whole of the European part of this country and many of its Asian regions.
The first works by Spitsyn as a member of the Imperial Archeological Commission were his fundamental Materials on the Archeology of Russia. These included the Lyutsinsky Burial Ground (1893) - a study of a typical monument of medieval Eastern-Baltic cultures on the territory of present- day
Latvia; a review article (1895) on the excavations of the near-Ladoga mounds of the 9th-11th centuries conducted by N. Brandenburg; a posthumous publication (1896) on the findings of L. Ivanovsky at the excavations of 5,000 burial mounds in the St. Petersburg region which made up the bulk of the collection of antiquities of the 11th- 14th centuries from the western areas of the Novgorodian principality.
The northern capital of Russia saw the establishment of an independent area of archeological studies - the Finno-Ugric one which reflected the interplay of the Slavonic and Finnish ethnic cultures in Russian history Its foundations were laid in the 18th century by W. Tolle and Academician G. Miller, in the 19th century by academicians A. Sjogren and J. Aspelin with the factual materials coming from the excavations carried out by Brandenburg, Ivanovsky and Spitsyn.
Oriental archeology in St. Petersburg was being built, since the time of the Siberian expeditions of Messerschmidt and Miller, by the efforts of oriental scholars of the 19th century - Academician H. Fren, Professor P. Savelyev, Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences D. Khvolson, and Corresponding Member of the Academy V. Grigoryev. Of the greatest importance in this field were studies conducted over many years by the Dean of the Oriental Studies Faculty of the St. Petersburg University, Academician V Rosen (1849-1908). His immediate pupils included a brilliant triade of academicians who determined the progress of Oriental studies in the Soviet years-expert in Indian studies S. Oldenburg, expert on medieval Islamic traditions, V. Bartold and expert on the cultural traditions of the Caucasus, N. Marr.
Scythian-Sarmathian archeology in Russia was formed by way of a synthesis of the Antique and Oriental (Scythian-Siberian) studies. In 1892 Academician V. Latyshev published a collection of literary monuments of antiquity entitled Scythia and the Caucasus which opened up to European scholars these ancient world cultures that were as little known and also as intriguing as the culture of ancient Troy The greatest contribution to the building of what was called a fund of antiquities was provided by Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, N. Veselovsky. His 29 field expeditions (1889-1917) yielded a wealth of historical relics - the Maikop Mound of the eneolithic (royal Hindu-Arian burial of the 3rd century B.C.), royal burials in the Scythian mounds of Kelermes (6th century B.C., now the Krasnodar Territory), of the Tsarskaya mound (4th century B.C. near Mount Kerch) of the Solokha Mound (4th century B.C., Ukraine). The "Golden Deer" (ornament from the Kostromskoi mound) has since become a "heraldic emblem" of Russian archeology, and the golden comb from the Solokha Mound showing a combat of Scythian chieftains has been included into all encyclopedia of the world as an outstanding example of the elite culture of the Royal Scythia of the 4th century B.C.
A generalizing work on the place of Scythia in the world cultural-historic process belongs to one of the most colorful representatives of the St. Petersburg school of archeology - Academician M. Rostovtsev In his monumental work Scythia and Bosphorus (1918) he assessed for the first time the impact of the Scythian culture (and the interconnected Greek and Graeco-Sarmathian centers of the Bosphorus) on the look of Europe in the epoch of the late Antiquity and early Middle Ages. The studies of the monuments of antiquity of Russia, which were interrupted by years of his emigration, were "made up" for by his successful excavations of Dura-Europos, a Syrian city of the Hellenic epoch, which won the scholar international recognition. His name, which was banned from public mention for many years in this country, was reinstalled in Russian science thanks to the
collective efforts of Moscow and St. Petersburg scholars under the leadership of Academician G. Bongard-Levin.
Byzantine archeology (like the Scythian-Sarmatian studies) are regarded by right as this country's particular contribution to the progress of world science. Its founding father was Academician N. Kondakov (1844-1925) - the first student of the ancient architectural monuments of Constantinople, Mont Athos, Macedonia, Georgia, of Christian antiquities of Syria and Palestine and of the Byzantine iconography. He mapped out the path of research for the whole generations of students of Byzantine culture and historians of Early Russian art. After his years in immigration he helped to promote archeological studies in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and other Slavonic countries. The Prague Seminar, of which he was the founder, was later transformed into the Kondakov Institute which continued to function until the Nazi occupation. From 1938 to 1941 it was located in Belgrade where it was finally demolished by German air raids.
Primeval archeology of Russia as an area of research in its own right is associated, above all, with the name of the leading Moscow archeologist, Count A. Uvarov. His monograph Archeology of Russia. Stone Age Period published in 1881 put an end to debates on the possibility of existence of monuments and relics of such early antiquity on the territory of Russia. In his studies he was supported by such prominent St. Petersburg scholars as the founder of embryology Academician K. Ber, who raised the problem of the Stone Age legacy as early as the 1859; the author of the genetic soil science, V. Dokuchayev; a co-author of Count Uvarov in his investigations, and the geologist, Corresponding Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, A. Inostrantsev, who produced an exemplary work entitled Prehistoric Man of the Lake Ladoga Coast (1882).
His successor in these studies was a prominent St. Petersburg archeologist F. Volkov (1847-1918), the founder of the paleoethological school of primeval archeology His pupils studied more than 300 ancient human habitations within the confines of the former Soviet Union. The most ancient of them - Dmanisi - is located near Tbilisi (1 mln 700 thousand years). Ibis is the most ancient monument of its kind in the whole of Eurasia. Sites of the Olduveyan epoch (3-2 mln years ago) are known only in Africa-the "motherland of the human race". A contemporary St. Petersburg archeologist, Dr. V. Lyubin, justly points out that throughout the ages it was the Caucasus in Eurasia which was and remains a "bridge" for the cultural-historical links between Africa, Asia and Europe.
The archeology of the Paleolithic as reflected in the works of the St. Petersburg school has been distin-
guished by discoveries. These include, above all, Paleolithic dwellings on ground level which have been studied best in this country in particular. These findings have been used in the studies of primitive building methods with the first such lab being headed by B. Farmakovsky (1873-1946). His successor was Professor S. Semyonov - the founding father of traceology (microstudies of traces left by primitive working tools) and one of the leading representatives of the Leningrad school of research of the 20th century What became known as his paleotechnological school was established in the early 1950s, and his laboratory of natural-science methods broadened appreciably the range of research techniques, especially those used in the studies of the earliest stages of the Paleolithic; today this lab is working successfully under the direction of Dr. G. Korobkova.
All of these trends of research determined in the latter half of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th centuries the particular "inner structure" of the archeological science in Russia and its high international status. The establishment of Soviet archeology went through the transformation of the pre- revolutionary Imperial Archeological Commission into the State Academy of the History of Material Culture which was headed by Academician Nikolai Man - the author of what was called "the new doctrine of linguistics" (Japhethic theory of linguistics). And it should be pointed out that he was not only a theoretician, but a remarkable practitioner in the studies of antiquities - from primitive rock paintings (petroglyphs) and the biggest Stone Age burial mound at Oleny Ostrov in Karelia and up to Staraya Ladoga of the 8th-12th centuries.
The funds of scientific materials and documents amassed since the times of the Imperial Archeological Commission are now preserved in the depositories of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This unique collection contains more than half a million items, photo archives and - together with the Academic Library (of about one million volumes) and archive of documents (of more than 60 thousand items)-makes up the priceless foundation of the scholarly legacy of the St. Petersburg school of archeology.
Collections of archeological finds unfold chronology from the most ancient times (from the Low Paleolithic, at intervals of 2-1.5 mln years, and up to Petrine Russia) on an area from Scandinavia to China and from Taimyr to the Caucasus. And like their 18th-century predecessors, archeologists of St. Petersburg keep up their studies of the city area in their quest for answers to some key questions of the early history of this nation. Since the time of Professor Tolle "the Northern Palmyra" remains for them a natural center for scientific meetings and exchanges, a kind of a "testing site" of their theories and conclusions, above all those relating to the early history of Rus.
In the 19th-20th centuries every new generation of Russian scholars started out from there on their field expeditions, discovering new sources of material artifacts, developing new methods of research and broadening the historical range of their investigations. These explorations, mainly focusing on Staraya Ladoga, make up an inexhaustible potential of the archeological school of St. Petersburg. This is demonstrated by the latest findings of E. Ryabinin who determined not only the date of the establishment of the urban settlement of Ladoga - the year of 753 (950 years before the birth of St. Petersburg), but also the time of the appearance of the earliest Slavonic sites around the
city-such as the Lyubsha site (early 8th century).
The Northwestern archeological expedition established at the Leningrad University in 1969 resumed excavations of mounds near Lake Ladoga which had been first discovered by Dr. Brandenburg. Its field parties are tracing the routes of what is known as the Slavonic-Russian "opening up of the St. Petersburg territory". They also study the Northwestern boundaries of European Russia and what is known as "the Upper Rus" around Staraya Ladoga and Novgorod the Great. One feature of these studies consists in a transition from the historical "capitals" (Ladoga and Novgorod) to "pogosts" - rural administrative centers which served as the pillars of the emerging state system of the Upper Rus of the 9th-10th centuries. The first to be identified - back in the 1970s - was the Gremyatsky Pogost (site, near the town of Luga).
A program of planned studies has identified with concrete archeological monuments the "pogosts of Olga"- urban sites founded, according to the chronicles - by Princes Olga in the year of 947 B.C. on the rivers Luga and Msta. They united Ladoga, Novgorod and Kiev within common borders and represented a new stage in building the
Russian state-after the Rus of Prince Rurik (862-879) and Prince Oleg ("the prophet"; 882-922). Comparisons of the "mounds cultures" with pogosts make it possible for experts to reconstruct the dynamics of the formation of the early Russian tribes in the region and the ratios between their Slavonic and non- Slavonic components.
Regional studies also suggest a reappraisal of the genesis and the progress of urbanization of St. Petersburg. Contrary to the commonly accepted myth (of the city "springing up from dark forests and marshes") the city represents a logical stage in the evolution of early Russian urbanism. The development progressed from the initial forms of the "protourban" stratum (the 8th-9th centuries urban site of earthwork at Staraya Ladoga and fortified sites of pogosts of the 10th- 13th centuries) to the medieval structures of Staraya Ladoga of the 12th-17th centuries (a unique system of stone border fortresses of the 14th-16th centuries and early 18th century). It was this evolution that was logically crowned with the building of St. Petersburg - a new Russian seaport and fortress opening up on the Baltic.
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