Department of Archaeology

Interest in the antiquities in Russia predates the era of Peter the Great. The assemblage of collections, active excavations, and special research contributed to the formation of archaeology as an academic discipline in the 19th century. In the 20th century, archaeology became a discipline taught at universities. Academic research, combined with the broad preparation of archaeology students has lead to outstanding achievements in the study of the material culture of the past.

The department of archaeology was opened in MSU's faculty of history in 1939, chaired by A.V.Artsikhovsky. Such well-known specialists as professor S.V.Kiselev, associate professors V.D.Blavatsky, M.V.Voevodsky, B.A.Rybakov taught in the department. Throughout the years, D.A.Avdusin, O.N.Bader, A.Y.Bryusov, B.N.Grakov, L.V.Grekhova, I.T.Kruglikova, N.Y.Merpert, A.P.Smirnov, V.S.Titov, G.A.Fedorov-Davydov, D.B.Shilov have worked or read lectures in the department. M.N.Kislov worked for many years in the department's laboratory.

Presently, professors N.B.Leonova, E.A.Rybina, N.V.Ryndina, laureate of the Lomonosov premium professor Y.L.Shchapova, associate professors A.R.Kanorovich, I.V.Yatsenko; research assistants N.V.Eniosova, L.V.Pokrovskaya, E.A.Popova, T.A.Pushkina, laureate of the Shuvalov premium A.N.Sorokin are working here. Academician of RAS, laureate of the Lenin, State, and Lomonosov premiums, Distinguished professor of Moscow State University, V.L.Yanin is department chair.

The course "introduction to archaeology" is read to first year students. For students majoring in the department the following courses are requirements: "field archaeology" (T.A.Pushkina), "the Stone Age" (N.B.Leonova), "the Bronze Age" (N.V.Ryndina), "the Iron Age" (A.R.Kantorovich), "Ancient Archaeology" (E.A.Popova), "Archaeology of old Russia" (T.A.Pushkina), "Methods of Natural Science in Archaeology", "Typological seminar" (Y.L.Shchapova), "the Historiography of Archaeology" (E.A.Rybina), "Archaeological practical work" (N.I.Belovintseva, N.V.Eniosova). First year students are required to take the special seminar "Introduction to specialization" (T.A.Pushkina).

In addition to required courses for student, with a specialized major in any form of archaeology, the department's staff and scholars form other academic institutions, such as the Institute of archaeology RAS, the institute of ethnology RAS, and the State Historical Museum, conduct the following special courses: "Paleolithic dwellings", "the Stone Age burials" (N.B.Leonova), "the Stone Age technologies" (M.G.Zhilin), "Metallography in Archaeology: the history of ancient technological metal production", "Aeneas of Southern Eastern Europe", "Aeneas and the Bronze Age in the Black Sea region" (N.V.Ryndina), "Issues of Greek international Relations with the barbarous world", "Late Scythian culture and its connections to Greek culture" (E.A.Popova), "'Animal Style' Scythian-Siberian Art" (A.R.Kantorovich), "Eastern Europe from the 1st to the 7th centuries: problems with dating" (A.M.Oblomsky, I.O.Gavritukhin), "Archaeology of Novgorod" (E.A.Rybina, A.N.Sorokin), "Scandinavian artifacts on the territory of Middle Ages Russia" (T.A.Pushkina), "Early Middle Ages weapons of Europe and Asia", "Early Middle Ages archaeology of the Northern Caucasus" (I.A.Arzhantseva), "History of the Earth" (I.V.Panina).

In addition to educational seminars, the department conducts academic "issues" seminars: Novgorod (V.L.Yanin), Smolensk (T.A.Pushkina), the history of ancient production (N.V.Ryndina), morphology of antiquities (Y.L.Shchapova), issues of the early Iron Age and ancient archaeology (I.V.Yatsenko, E.A.Popova). The seminars unite students and post graduates, academic employees and teachers not only of Moscow State University, but also from other institutes of higher learning in Moscow.

The basis of fieldwork for freshmen and for majoring students has always been continuously running expeditions, which, at present, have been reduced in number to four. These include Novgorod (V.L.Yanin), Smolensk (T.A.Pushkina), the Crimea (E.A.Popova), the Don (N.B.Leonova). The materials found on the expeditions become themes of course papers and theses of students and postgraduate students. The department's expeditions are not only a part of the educational process, but are also powerful contributions to the study of ancient and medieval history. The widely known artifacts discovered on the Novgorod expedition, yearly supplement the fund on written sources of early Russian history (writings on birch wood and early books on waxen tablets). Significant academic outcomes have been made by the Smolensk expedition (early Middle ages), the Crimean expedition (Greco-Scythian period), and the Don expedition (Paleolithic). The results of the departmental fieldwork expeditions have been published in a number of books and academic articles of staff members and graduates of the department of archaeology.

Over the last few years (since 1994) the department has published numerous academic works, including: A.N.Sorokin, "The Accomplishments of Ancient Novgorod" (1995); V.L.Yanin, "I Sent You Bark (1998, third edition); "Novgorod and Lithuania: Border Excursions XIII-XV cc." (1998), "The Publication of Special Documents in Russia From the 10th to the 15th cc." v.3 (1998, together with P.A.Gaidukov), "Plans of Great Novgorod of the 17th and 18th cc." (1999); L.R.Kyzlasov, "About the association of Khakassia to Russia" (1996), "The Discovery of the State Religion of the Khakases. Mani and Manicheism" (1999); N.V.Ryndina, "Ancient Metal Working Production of South Eastern Europe (Sources and Paleolithic and Aeneas Development" (1998); Y.L.Shchapova, "Byzantine Glass. Sketches in History" (1998), "Introduction to Material Studies. The Natural-Scientific Approach to the Study of Ancient Materials" (2000); E.A.Rybina, "Trade of Medieval Novgorod. Historical-Archaeological Sketches" (2000), the collection of articles: "The History and Evolution of Ancient Materials (1994), "Historical Archaeology. Traditions and Perspectives. To the 80-Year Jubilee of D.A.Avdusin (1998), "Great Novgorod in the History of Medieval Europe. To the 70-Year Jubilee of V.L.Yanin" (1999). The academic achievements of the department's academic staff have received praise for their professionalism.

Professors V.L.Yanin, L.R.Kyzlasov and Y.L.Shchapova have become laureates of the Lomonosov premium, and A.N.Sorokin became the first laureate of the Shuvalov premium among historians. The department chair, V.L.Yanin was rewarded the Demidov premium in 1993, and was the first humanitarian to be presented with the Large Gold medal of M.V.Lomonosov and the Gold medal of S.M.Solov'ev.

The department maintains wide international connections. Apart from being involved in academic congresses, conferences and symposiums, an important direction of the department's activities is the preparation of specialists from foreign countries. The department of archaeology has graduated 36 students from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Non-degree students from Poland, Norway, Belgium, the USA, Czechoslovakia, Germany, England, Hungary, Sweden, and South Korea have attended classes in the department. The department's academic staff conducts lectures at various academic and educational institutions in foreign countries. In December 1999, the department's 60th anniversary was celebrated with a conference and the publication of a collection of articles entitled "The 60-Year Anniversary of MSU's Department of Archaeology."

Over 60 years, the department of archaeology has graduated 685 students, the majority of which work according to their degree in various institutions of higher education, academic institutions, museums, and libraries throughout Russia. Among those graduates, 300 have gone on to become candidates of science, and 90 have received PhD's.

Within the department's structure a laboratory operates along a series of issues:

Under the leadership of professor N.V.Ryndina, students and graduate students study metal working of Aeneal and the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and the Middle ages. With the purpose of successfully studying the history of metallurgy, students master the metalography of black and non-ferrous metals. In a seminar, "the history of ancient production", students and post-graduate students consolidate rules of using information about the structure and contents of metal in historical-technological and archaeological research; under the guidance of professor Y.L.Shchapova, students and post-graduate students master the fundamentals of modern materials studies, the theory and methods of complex studies of archaeological finds, their morphology, process engineering, and chemical structure. As a special research theme, the history of ancient glass making has been developed. Students participate in developing a linguistic database, taking the first steps toward the process of computer assimilation in the application to archaeology; students are acquainted with modern methods of restoration while on expeditions. Artist-restorer N.I.Belovintseva supervises the students' work while candidate of the historical science, N.V.Eniosova conducts research on non-ferrous metal and Russian jewelry work of the early Middle ages.