Zapadnyi krai

Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, and Ruthenes comprise because of all the overlap and competition over historical sources. It corresponds to NW Region in “Regions” category, which also includes parts of Poland and Ukraine. After 1870, the provinces were subdivided accordingly, although conversationally they were usually “western”: NW, under the governor general of Vilna (Vilna, Grodno, Kovno); the “western” provinces (Minsk, Vitebsk, Mogilev); and the SW provinces (Kiev, Podolia, Volhynia), under thgovernor general of Kiev.


This overlaps somewhat with other categories, such as Manuscripts and paleography, and it specifically addresses the ideas that developed that connected languages to material culture. Another example, is that studies of words, e.g., Bestuzhev-Riumin on dvorianin, meanings that changed over time, fits here. Also, studies of speech, words, and other verbal artefacts that moved across or in-between cultures.


As Slavophilism morphed into pan-Slavism in the 19th century, it spilled over into archeology. This registered in the development of specific branches of Slavic or Russian archeology in many of the professional societies; Russian here included Little Russia and White Russia. When the Archeological Institute opened in Constantinople in 1894, direcotr Fedor Uspenskii focused on Serbia and Bulgaria, Slavic territories in the Ottoman Empire.

Dvina Stones

Sometimes called the “Dvina Stones,” from the location of the first major finds, in the basin of the western Dvina River, these massive boulders are also known as the “Borisov Stones,” from the inscription that characterized them: “Lord, help your slave Boris, a reference to Polotsk Prince Boris Vseslavich these massive boulders date back to 1171. Noted first in the 2nd half of the 16th century, the seven stones remain enigmatic testaments to the coming together of religion and politics in medieval Belarus.

Staraia Ladoga

Digging the Ladoga Canal in 1866, animal bones and weapons turned up. The area was turned over to Inostrantsev and other natural scientists.

Tyshkevich, E. P.

Evstafi Pievich Tyshkevich inaugurated archeology in the NW Region. His own national identity belies the complexity of the region: he was Belarusian, Polish, and Lithuanian, and determined to open up the multiple pasts of the region to its inhabitants. With his brother Konstantin he dug numerous kurgans in the 1840s, and they opened a part of their estate to create the first public museum. In 1856 he opened the Vilna Archeological Commission. All of this became Russified following the Polish rebellion of 1863, and much of their museum’s collection was sent to the Rumiantsev Museum. A respected archeologist, he was a member of the Danish Royal Society of Northern Antiquities, the Stockholm Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Antiquities, and the London Archaeological Institute. In St. Petersburg, he was an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences, and as a Groom of the Chamber of the Court of His Imperial Majesty.

Tyshkevich, K. P.

Konstantin Pievich Tyshkevich, Evstafi’s older brother, joined with him in excavations and the museum, but he was more interested in ethnography per se than archeology. He worked for the Ministry of Finance in Warsaw in the 1830s, and participated in the Polish uprising. He joined the of Eastern American Ethnographic Association and the Paris Geographic Society. Ironically, his connection to the Rumiantsev Museum comes from when many of the artefacts he had collected for the Vilna Museum of Antiquities were transferred there after the Polish rebellion 0f 1863.

Uspenskii, F. I.

The oldest of four brothers, all of whom had tangential associations with archeology, Fedor was a Byzantinist, best known as the director of the Russian Archeological Institute in Constantinople, which opened in 1894. Uspenskii was particularly interested in studying the Slavic lands of the Ottoman Empire via the Institute, especially their Orthodox artefacts. Although the guns of August, 1914, forced the closure of the Institute, Uspenskii took his archeological ambitions to the Russian Army on the Caucasian front, where it was enjoying success against the Turkish forces. Planning for a Russian victory, he dreamed of a Russian liturgy being prayed in the Hagia Sophia.

Sreznevskii, I. I.

Appointed to a professorship in the department of political economy and statistics at Kharkov University, Sreznevskii became one of the premier Slavisists in the world. Deeply immersed in the culture of Ukraine, he collected stories, folklore, and traditions throughout the region. Kharkov, though, was not big enough for him, and he transferred to St. Petersburg where he worked at both the university and the Academy of Sciences. He continued his travels throughout the Slavic lands in western Russia and those in the Ottoman Empire. His linguistic work was groundbreaking, but he argued that Ukrainian was a dialect, but although it should be studied, it did not form the basis of a separate culture. One of this three sons, Viacheslav, become one of tsarist Russia’s most important photographers, noted for his technical innovations.

Stelletskii, I. Ia.

Ignatii Stelletskii, after graduating from the Kiev Spiritual Academy, took a position at the Nazareth teaching seminary in Palestine. From here he made an unconventional jump to the Moscow Archive of the Ministry of Justice, where Samokvasov took him under his mentorship in excavating kurgans. Stelletskii combined the two with a paper on “The Scythian Invasion of Palestine,” read at the 14th Congress. Indeed, Palestine provided his main area of expertise, though he does not appear to have returned. He presented an equally controversial paper at the 15th Congress, on his latest interest, searches for the city’s “underground,” searches that he continued in other cities. During the Great War he found himself on the Caucasian front, from which Marr and Uspenskii and others were conducting excavations; he was appointed director of the archeological department of the governor-generalship of the occupied Ottoman territories. On a side note, Stelletskii became obsessed with the “missing” library of Ivan the Terrible, which he carried over into his Soviet years.