This refers primarily to religious structures, beginning with the Church of the Tithes, or Desitinnaia tserkov in Kiev. Construction began in 989 to celebrate Vladimir’s baptism to Christianity, and the controversies that erupted over its excavation in the 1840s launched the debate about whether old churches should be restored to their original forms or consistently “updated,” as they had been in the past. This also includes Catholic and Uniate churches “restored” to Orthodoxy in the NW Region, and also the Christian East, the churches in the Caucasus.
More than simply a catch-all, the “Black Sea” pulls together the multiple civilizations that have populated the littoral, ranging freely from Bolgars on the Danube with the “relatives” on the Volga, to Genoese traders, to the short-lived kingdom of Trabzon.
No archeological region proved more crucial to Russia’s identity, both politically and culturally. Condemned as “incapable of thought and action” from the turn of the 18th century by such influential historians as Edward Gibbon and Georg Hegel, Byzantium had provided Russia with the Orthodox religion that provided a cornerstone to its 19th-century ideology of “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality.” Preeminent archeologist Nikodim Kondakov led the way in challenging this image of the empire to which his own was currently laying claim in a nuanced translatio imperii. The journal Византійскій временникъ, ‘Byzantine Chronicle,’ began publication under V. G. Vasil’evskii in 1894.
The Caucasus became absolutely central to the Russian Imperial Imagination.
This refers to Medieval Russia, from when the Mongol conquest ended Rus, until the rise of Peter the Great ended the time frame for archeology. However, it covers more of a geographical than a temporal space. During much of this time Ukraine was not a part of Muscovy, and is treated separately at the archeological congresses.