The season of 2010 became extremely rich for Russian archeologists, who made a great many of surprising and really unique finds. 36 expeditions that worked in Russia and abroad made a number of stunning discoveries, which changed historians’ notions about the past.
In the course of building of the Olympic construction projects the history of Sochi and the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Territory was suddenly revealed in a new light. Near to the future capital of Olympics 2014 there were unearthed remains of a 10th-11th century Christian church built in traditions of Byzantine architecture. It came like a bolt from the blue for archeologists. The territory of Sochi had earlier seemed “empty” to them. “There was an impression that the Russians had come here in the mid 19th century, founded a resort and then something flourished here” - Professor of Archeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Sedov says.
“Suddenly it turns out that it is a land that was quite densely populated in the medieval period, during the Byzantine epoch, and had magnificent culture and architecture. This land was called Zihiya and, most probably, had no state. Separate feudal clans lived there. And in the process of Christianization they were able to order such enormous four-pillar churches with the area of about 20 to 20 meters. Culturally these monuments were related to the eastern part of the Byzantine Empire, from which Christianization of Abkhazia, Alania and Zihiya proceeded” – the researcher explains.
Another discovery was made during excavations in Yaroslavl. Not long ago the 1000 anniversary of the ancient Russian city was celebrated. However, the date “was made up by historians, since archeologists had no material evidence of that” –Head of Yaroslavl excavation works Asya Engovatova mentions.
“The intrigue was that several years ago we didn't know 11th century layers contemporaneous to foundation of the city of Yaroslavl. There was a date, but no archeology. Thanks to large-scale building activity in connection with the millennium we got an opportunity to dig in the city center, and so we found layers of the 11th century. And now we can state that there was certainly a fortified city, a fenced area there at that time” – Asya Egnovatova adds.
In the same city of Yaroslavl there were found three personal lead seals of the 12th – 13th centuries, among them a seal of the first Yaroslavl Prince Vsevolod, who perished during a fight with Mongol Tatars in 1238. For archeologists such finds are a great rarity and unprecedented luck. Usually they find “anonymous” objects, when it is not known exactly whom those ancient jugs, rings, earrings or other artifacts belonged to.
Among the most appreciable events of the finished field season were excavations in Jericho, on the site belonging to Russia, where a museum and park complex will be constructed. This summer archeologists managed to find a complex of Byzantine constructions of the 6th-7th centuries, presumably remains of a monastery.
The year 2010 added a lot of new things to the knowledge of different epochs and changed a lot of notions about the past, thus having made a picture of past days more exact and authentic. “Sketches become portrayals” – this is how archeologists figuratively speak, estimating the results of 2010.
Read about the History of Russian Archeology...