Discovered in 1873 when the industrialist S. I. Mamontov brought to Uvarov skulls found by an engineer at the Utkino station building the Iaroslavl-Vologda railroad line in the upper Don basin, this culture was named for the village close to the site. Uvarov considered it to be on the cusp between Stone and Bronze Ages, unclear whether or not the bronze items had simply been imported from another Asian group. Spitsyn and Gorodtsov, though, located it in the Bronze Age, late 3rd to mid- 2nd millennium. The people were Indo-European, a mixture of Baltic, Slavic, and German tribes. Noted for both battle axes and ceramics, it was one of the most influential cultures in the forest belt of Eastern Europe. Archeological evidence also shows them in battle with the Volosovo culture, which Uvarov had discovered near his family estate of Karacharovo and identified as a transitional point between Paleo- and Neolithic cultures. The Bronze Age Fatianovo tribe ultimately displaced the Volosovo when brought their cattle to graze on the latter’s lands, in the Volga-Kama region.
This was the first Stone Age site, discovered by Alexei Uvarov, near the so-named village where his family had an estate. In the Murom district of Vladimir Province, high on the left bank of the Oka River, it figured prominently in the Uvarovs’ turn to prehistory. He invited Antonovich, Dukachev, and Poliakov to confirm his findings in 1877; Dukachev later spoke out against Uvarov’s interpretation that men had killed mammoths at this site. The excavation of mammoth bones, tools, and weapons “refute[d] the mistaken supposition that European Russia was not inhabited during the Paleolithic era.”
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.
Dating back 45,000 years, this still active site remains one of the most valuable sources for recapturing the material culture of the Stone Age.