Ivan’s brother Andrei was a well known painter, and both specialized in their native province of Poltava. An amateur archeologist, Ivan excavated clay pots and other products at the same time that he was helping to revitalize such production in Poltava as the “king of kustar,” or “artisan products.” Involved in multiple aspects of the Poltava local government, he was especially active in ethnographic works and the museums. He arranged the Poltava display at the All-Russian Kustar Exhibition in 1901, and also presented on his archeological finds at regional conferences.
A self-described self-made man, Romanov was an importat Belarusian public intellectual, collecting folklore, publishing a newspaper, active in the school system in Mogilev, and he excavated more than 1,000 kurgans around Belarus. His most significant find was the Borisov Stone, one of the Dvina Stones. As head of the NW branch of the Imperial Geographical Society, Romanov embodies the importance of the local to the imperial.
Evlentev came from a modest family in the provinces and spent most of his life as a school teacher in provincial cities, where he developed a keen interest in archeology. In 1872 he was named the secretary of the Pskov section of the Archeological Commission. Grand Princes Sergei and Pavel Alexandrovich subsidized his excavations in Pskov, where he served on the Statistical Commission and with the local district archives.
Vasilii Babenko is particularly interesting as he was a village school teacher who became an autodidact archeologist as a result of his discovery of an enormous cashe of Khazar culture. He was especially active in museum work, including these smaller ones: Museum of the IRAO, the Museum of the Moscow Archaeological Institute, and the Museum of Fine Arts and Antiquity at Kharkov University.