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.
This exhibit is included as an excavation because its guiding theme was prehistory. Moreover, it provided a place to display the assembly of skulls collected from kurgans around the empire. Members of the organizing committee included A. S. Uvarov, leaning with both arms on the table, who headed the archeological commission. Specialist in prehistory A. I. Kel’siev sits next to him, and A. P. Bogdanov stands positioned over the table. Held between April and September of 1879, it attracted more than 100,000 visitors but was nonetheless a financial calamity.
Fedor was more active in the local politics of the Mozhaisk district of Moscow Province where Porech’e, the family estate was located and where his parents had excavated earlier. His one publication was on a field of kurgans from the 4th-6th centuries, on the banks of the Oka, Riazan district; his parents seemed to have put him under Anuchin’s tutelage, but that did not hold. Praskovia wrote of taking their children with them on excavations, and his two sisters attended congresses. Fedor registered as a Cossack and served briefly, before retiring to Porech’e in 1891, where he was deeply involved in zemstvo politics. He was elected to the State Council in 1909, replacing D. N. Shipov, who had left politics. After 1917 he emigrated to Yugoslavia with his mother, but ended up in Nice, where his daughter Ekaterina married Prince Sergei Obolenskii, the cream of Russian nobility to the end.
A gifted linguist, while still at the Alexandrovskii Lyceum V. V. learned Hebrew, Persian, and Arabic, and became one of the empire’s premier Orientalists. Posted to the Asiatic Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was sent to Orenburg, where he picked up Turkic dialects. Who could better study the Golden Horde? With this set of languages, he analyzed manuscripts and coins relevant to the Crimean, Kasimov, and Kokand Khanates and was appointed to the Academy of Sciences. In 1859 he was elected secretary of the Eastern Branch of the Russian Archaeological Society , then from 1861 to 1872 he served the society as secretary. Disaster struck when Uvarov appointed him to head the organizing committee for the 2nd Congress, in Petersburg to celebrate the society’s 25th anniversary in 1871. He suffered a nervous breakdown from the work load, and never published again. In 1888 Dmitrii Tolstoi got him back on the government payroll, as chairman of the Commission to study ancient documents in the Little Russian provinces.
The “Siberian Lomonosov,” Ivan Savenkov had a remarkable array of interests by any standard. From Irkutsk, he returned to Siberia after graduating from St. Petersburg University, this time to Krasnoiarsk, first as a teacher, which led to his opening a pedogocial institute there and developing ideas about physical education for students. Locally, he involved himself in everything from acting in the local theatre troupe to leading student excavations of local kurgans. A chess aficionado, he designed a match in which villages could play each other using telegraph codes. From 1907-1911 he directed what remains one of the most impressive local museums in Russia or elsewhere, the Minusinsk Museum of Local History. Digging on Mount Afontovo in the summer of 1914, he died of a heart attack.
Like his friend and colleague Nikolai Roerich, Makarenko was an artist with a passion for archeology, and the Archeological Commission dispatched him all around the empire to sketch the excavations. During the Great War, when the Russian army briefly occupied Trapezond and Fedor Uspenskii went there to see what could be gained, the Commission sent Makarenko to sketch. After the war he became actively involved in Ukrainian archeology, only to be murdered in Stalin’s purges. His only son drowned during an expedition in 1927.
Ossovskii epitomizes the fluidity of imperial borders in matters of archeological excavations. Ethnically Polish from Zhitomir, he was forced to quit his studies and fight on the Russian side during the Crimean War. He got pulled into archeology by way of studying the geology of Volhynia, where he sat on the local Statistical Committee. He then moved to Krakow, Galicia, to excavate at the invitation of Polish archeologists; his background in geology took him to the Stone Age. After 18 years in Galicia, he returned to Russia, to excavate in Siberia.
Scion of a well-known literary family, Leonid Nikolaevich published extensively himself, though in educational and historical publications, some with a more popular focus. He had a minor focus on byliny, or Russian epics, and was actively involved with organizing numerous archeological congresses. Moreover, he taught at the Petersburg Archeological Institute.
One of the foremost Orientalists in all of Europe in the 19th century, Grigorev helped to organize the 3rd Congress of Orientalists in St. Petersburg in 1876. Working in Odessa, Orenburg, and Petersburg, he had antagonistic relations with a number of scholars. But a high profile figure, he pioneered in the study of Turkestan. Such a background also made him useful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Kertselli moved straight into the bureaucracy from his Moscow gymnasium, and developed into an ethnographer. He ended up at the Dashkov Ethnographic Department of the Rumiantsev Museum, having received a silver medal at the 1867 exhibition. He excavated in numerous kurgans in the Moscow vicinity, and later in the Caucasus. Moreover, he had a special interest in the material culture of Buddhist ceremonies among the Buriat tribes.