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 is central to Russian identity; it provides the connection to Antiquity by its interactions with Greek traders, as it also gives Russians an historical foothold on the Black Sea littoral as they began to claim Scythian ancestory.


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.


Although a broad theme, this incorporates the shift toward saving religious artefacts and restoring churches in ways that connect Orthodoxy with colonization.


Sreznevskii gave lectures on this at St. Petersburg: Slaviano-russkaia paleografiia XI-XIV vv. Also, F. I. Bulgakov and others. Considers manuscripts up to 17th, so Old Church Slavoinc included, as well as runes. Epigraphy and the translation of inscriptions belongs, such as Latyshev’s work.


This theme connects Kiev, Novgorod, and pre-Mongol, and therefore pre-Muscovite Russia. It includes the controversial “calling of the Varangians,” a theme especially popular at the 8th Congress in Muscovy in 1890.

Chernaia Mogila

One of Ukraine’s most important burial mounds, it contained the bodies of two Norse warriors dated back to the 10th century when Vladimir ruled.

Saltovo Settlement

Discovered in 1900 by local school teacher-amateur archeologist V. A. Babenko, this turned out to be a fabulously rich site of Khazar culture. Khazaria, located on the Eurasian steppes circa 650-950 AD, was archeologically important to the Russian empire because, in an age when theory argued that the transition from nomads to settlements was a sign of advancing civilization, the Khazars appeared to have done just that. Babenko presented a history of Saltovo at the 12th Archeological Congress in Kharkov, but focused on its later history as an important city in Sloboda Ukraine, only to lose its status under Catherine the Great. Although Babenko had made the discovery, initially more seasoned archeologists, A. M. Pokrovskii and Praskovia Uvarova excavated the first graves, 45 in all.

Solokha Kurgan

This find on the East bank of the Dnepr contained two royal tombs, and was especially noteworthy because it confirmed one of Herodotus’s accounts, dating back to the second half of the 5th Century BCE. Excavated first by N. I. Veselovskii 1912-1913, Boris Farmakovskii descried it as both “his apogee and his swan song.”

Desiatinnaia Church

The first stone church in Rus, the Chronicles date its origins to 989. Prince Vladimir, the Baptizer, allocated a tenth of his income (desiat) to the maintenance of the church, a tithe, from whence came its name. Lying essentially in ruins in the 1820s, Kiev amateur-archeologist K. N. Lokhvitskii became embroiled in the fight to resurrect it rather than, as had been happening, simply removing the rubble and building a new church on the spot. Excavations at this site continued throughout the century, uncovering other parts of Old Kiev.