Black Sea

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.

Bronze Age

At the 5th Congress in Tiflis in 1881, Rudolf Virchow gave the speech about there being no substnative Bronze Age in Russia. Lubbock had argued that primitive peoples weent first to gold, because it was in rivers and shiny, and they liked shiny things. Nevostruev had already presented at the first, though, about bronze artefacts found in gorodishche around the Kama River, including Pianii bor, some of which similar to An. mogilnik, but not all.

Cimmerian Bosporus

Various political incarnations, 438 BC to 380 CE. With its capital at Panticapaeum, it was alternately a Greek post and a client state of the Roman Empire. Best known king, Mithridates VI who tried to take on the Romans in 63 CE, and committed suicide after this failure.


This category largely belongs to Dmitri Anuchin and those who worked with him. Primarily an anthropologist avant la lettre, Anuchin was prominet on several faculties and societies because he understood archeology to be an assimilation of the social sciences, derived from material culture. And it also refers to Alexei Uvarov’s work with tribes, especially the Meriane and Finno-Ugric. Craniology was important, too, in first congresses. Scythia and Kurgans belong as subthemes because these also prompted questions of ethnography. Folklore also belongs here, because they understood it as ethnographic.

Iron Age

The transition from the Bronze to the IronAge was always problematic for Russianarcheologists, because they were including such an enormous among of territory and so many different ethnic groups. Because different peoples worked with these metals at different times, and there was a relative paucity of iron in certain areas, such as the Caucasus, it was impossilbe to establish a timeline for “Russia.” The Scythians, for example, also fall into the Iron Age because so much of this metal was found in their kurgans.


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.