In 1792 the “Tmutarakan’ Stone,” mentioned in the Lay of the Igor Campaign, was discovered on the Taman Peninsula. The inscription, credited to Prince Gleb made it the first source of an epigraphical history of Russia. President of the Academy of Arts A. I. Musin-Pushkin published the inscription in 1794, and its authenticity still remains a source of controversy. Tmutarakan was the capital of a 9th-century kaganate, Russian-Varangian, that controlled a trade route in defiance of Khazar dominance in the region that would become New Russia.
Bronze artefacts discovered by Ossetian peasants in the 1860s brought Koban culture to the attention of archeologists. G. D. Filimonov was the first to study it, and his studies sparked attention at the 5th congress in Tiflis. Western Europeans, including Rudolf Virchow, involved themselves in excavations, frustrating Praskovia Uvarova, who wanted to keep the Caucasus for Russian scientists. This site dates from the 13th to the 3rd centuries BCE.