1908, Chernigov, 14th
Kurgan is a Turkish word for “castle” that translates as “mound,” “tumulus,” or “barrow,” a reference to the particular burial method of building mounds atop pit-graves. Kurgan culture evolved from the fifth millennia BC, from the Northern Pontic and spread across Central Europe, crossing the Dnepr and moving as far as Kazakhstan, home of the Issyk Kurgan. A practice rather than an ethnicity, kurgan culture united many of the peoples who occupied what became the Russian Empire. Scythians ae perhaps the best known who followed these burial practices because of the spectacular golden items found in many of their kurgans. The most culturally advanced kurgans are complex structures with reinforced walls and numerous internal chambers, and many still lie unexcavated across the steppes.
A lightning rod for many issues, Samokvasov levied his influence at a number of the archeological congresses. He combined his positions as director of the Archive of the Moscow Ministry of Justice with that of law professor at the University of Warsaw, and one of the most creative archeologists of the Stone Age. A devoted monarchist, he belonged to the ultra-conservative Union of Russian People after 1905.
Gorodtsov combined two careers; he served in the Imperial Army, 1880-1906, and became one of the foremost archeologists of both the Stone and Bronze Ages. His primary headquarters were in Iaroslavl, where he also served on the Archival Commission. He wrote the textbook on prehistory for the Moscow Archeological Institute. he was also a member of the Riazan and Iaroslavl Archival Commissions. After 1917 he was a leading member of the Insititute of Material Culture, which was the transformed Imperial Archeological Commission.