The son of a village priest in Novgorod Province, Modestov trained initially at the Petersburg Pedagogical Institute to become a teacher. Instead, he became one of the leading figures in the history of Rome, beginning with the Neolithic Age in Italy. After retiring from New Russia University, he moved to Rome. Perhaps surprisingly for a leading classicist scholar, he opposed the reforms of Minister of Education Dmitrii Tolstoi, who in the 1870s returned the university curriculum to emphasize the ancient languages over history or philosophy. He also translated Tacitus into Russian.
Petrov turned an education in theology into a career as a leading scholar in church archeology, especially in his adoptive Kiev. For example, talk at the 5th Congress in Tiflis was about a Gospel with minatures in Kiev, that shows Roman and Byzantine influences that can also be seen in Georgian miniatures of the same. He received an Uvarov Prize and two gold medals from the IRAO for his work.
Goshkevich was a talented amateur, who began studying astronomy but could not afford to stay in the university. He fell in love with the history and archeology of southern Russia and was ultimately personally very influential in developing the archives and museum in Kherson, where he also edited the city’s first newspaper. His commitment to Kherson included work at: the Kherson Province Statistical Committee, the Museum of Antiquities of Kherson Region, and the Kherson Archive Commission.