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terça-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2016

Archaeological Exploration of Novgorod the Great and Birch Bark Letters - dated to the 10th to the 15th centuries.

The medieval Novgorod is hidden under the asphalt coating and the base of buildings of the present-day city. The geological and climate conditions of the Priilmen lowland, a location of Novgorod the Great, make up an almost perfect environment for the old artifacts. 





The high level of ground water and clay soil enable an amazing state of preservation of all materials, including organic ones like wood, skin and bone, which get into the soil. The deep cultural layer (of up to 8-9 meters) in Novgorod holds the entire neighborhoods dated to the 10th to the 15th centuries in the form of log buildings and wooden street pavements. Several hundred thousands of household and business utensils either lost or thrown away by citizens constitute the main treasure of Novgorod’s cultural layer, since they contain information about the life and culture of the ancient Novgorodians.



The archaeological exploration of Novgorod began at the end of the 19th century on the initiative of local regional historians N.G. Bogoslovsky, V.C. Peredol’sky and others. In 1919, the excavations in the Rurikovo Gorodische and in the Kremlin were carried out by N.K. Rerikh, a famous painter, writer and philosopher. The more systematic study of the antiquities of Novgorod was launched in 1932 by A.V. Artsikhovsky. Since then, the work of the expedition founded by him has brought Novgorod international fame as the site of the largest-scale archaeological excavations in Eastern Europe.

The archaeological monuments constitute the bulk of the historical-and-cultural heritage of Novgorod. Without exaggeration, the city can be regarded a gigantic archaeological complex with the millennial record of development. The excellent state of preservation of Novgorod’s antiquities makes them so significant in terms of culture and science that they can be ranked with such archaeological phenomena as ancient Pompeii. However, Novgorod has a considerable advantage. While Pompeii buried under ash opened a one-moment chronological panorama to scholars, the archaeologists of Novgorod enjoy access to the continuous whole of the medieval city life from the 10th to the 15th centuries.


Over the last few decades, the remnants of the city found as a result of long-lasting excavations have been the focal point of Russian and foreign researchers of the medieval history and architecture. In their general opinion, the Novgorod findings are equally valuable for the research of Novgorod life and the life of the entire North European region – the life spanning from the age of Vikings to the developed Middle ages.

One of the foremost archaeological findings, the birch bark letters of Novgorod enabled the historians for the first time ever to gain an insight into the everyday life of the medieval city folk, their trade, land and interpersonal relations as well as the Novgorod Dialect of the Old Russian language. 950 texts written on birch bark have been found until now, and if combined with the documents discovered in the “environs” of Novgorod, Staraya Russa and Torzhok, the total number of birch bark letters reaches 1,000.


The archaeological riches of the city comprise an intrinsic variety of monuments. In addition to the mentioned remnants of the medieval wooden buildings there are remnants of such mighty defensive systems as the wall and the ditch of Okolny town, two strongholds of Small earth town and the Kremlin. The survived fortified complexes also contain ruined remnants of earlier and destroyed structures dated to the 11th to the 12th centuries.

Since 1932, Novgorods excavations have accumulated a record of many discoveries which shed new light on different events of the Russian history. Still, we can well expect more findings and more discoveries from the study of Novgorod, for only 3% of its historic land has been researched by now. In the words of Yanin V.L., the academician of the RAS, “Novgorod is our only chance to get to know the true history of Russia”.

Currently, the excavations are underway in one of the most ancient nuclei of the city – Lyudin district (konets), located south of the Novgorod Kremlin. Over a period of thirty years, here, in the Troitsky excavation site the archaeologists have been researching the whole district of the medieval city inhabited by well-being people, apparently boyars. Birch bark letters found during these excavations and indicating the names of recipients and authors allowed to get to know the names of some estate owners. Among other things, the archeologists studied the estate of Olisey Grechin (Greek), a painter of Novgorod, who lived at the turn of the 12th and the 13th centuries. They managed to find materials for icon painting, minerals for colors and birch bark letters with commissions for icons there. Likewise, works are being carried out in other parts of the city where archaeologists are required to conduct excavations prior to construction of new buildings.


In 2005, underwater archaeological excavations were commenced in the river Volkhov. Specialists involved in this project study the remnants of the wooden Great bridge and plan to hoist and inspect ancient vessels. For more detailed information about underwater archaeology in Novgorod, look here.

The Archaeological Research Center affiliated with the Novgorod State Museum Preserve is in charge of the most research projects implemented in Novgorod and the surroundings. The scientific expeditionary group is primarily composed of the faculty members of the Department of Archaeology of Moscow State University and the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Specialists from Great Britain, German, Sweden and other European countries are also active participants of the Novgorodian expedition.

The unique nature of the archaeological monuments of Novgorod the Great make the preservation of its cultural layer a matter of paramount concern. For this reason, in 1969, Novgorod became the first city to have declared the cultural layer of the city protected by the government. In 1992, the historical center of Novgorod the Great was inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.





fonte: @edisonmariotti #edisonmariotti

colaboração: 
Anna Sarkisyan


Cultura e conhecimento são ingredientes essenciais para a sociedade.

A cultura é o único antídoto que existe contra a ausência de amor.

Vamos compartilhar.

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