A rare find: a street cleaner's badge of the late 19th century found in Moscow

June 24
Culture

During excavations on Yauza River banks in the area of Serebryanicheskaya Embankment, archaeologists found a street cleaner's metal badge of the late 19th century.

"Such badges were common for Moscow, but they are rarely found during excavations. Their production started in 1879. Street cleaners used to wear them on their caps until the October Revolution of 1917. There are only fragments of this unique items extant with an inscription reading: “STREET CLEANER No. 4 d.Nilov”. Now archaeologists are deciphering it," Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov said.

According to Alexei, unique vintage kitchenware was also found on the banks of the Yauza River, a glass and a tin plate made in Europe. In those days, it was a luxury to have a tableware made in Europe at home.  Foreign goods were very expensive, since they were difficult to buy in Russia.

The tin plate is decorated with  'Crowned Rose' stamp featuring a crown, a rose and the letters RG. This is a heraldic emblem of the House of Tudor, an English royal dynasty of the 15th-17th centuries. That stamp on tin products meant a high quality alloy. German craftsmen also used it. Archaeologists believe that the plate could have been brought from Germany. At that time, forged English utensils with the 'Crowned Rose' stamp were more widespread than the originals. The find dates back to the end of the 18th — early 19th century.

"This transparent glass has an engraved ornament on. Having at their disposal only its numerous extant fragments, our restorers have managed to make it whole. Experts believe that it was also made in Europe in the early 18th century," said Alexei Yemelyanov.

The experts are currently studying the artefacts in the archaeological workshop. After restoration, they are to be transferred to the holdings of the Moscow museums.

Artefacts found on Serebryanicheskaya Embankment

The banks of the Yauza River's mouth were once occupied by mills, dyers, bath houses, breweries, factories and manufactories. In the 18th century, this area was densely populated by runaway peasants, convicts and criminals, the so-called felonry. The artefacts found on Serebryanicheskaya Embankment include crosses, rings, earrings, buckles made of copper alloys and casting moulds.

Besides, archaeologists have found seals of dye factories and Russian coins dating back to the 15th — early 20th century, a Swedish coin of 1601 and a counting token. Made in Nuremberg, counting tokens were used by merchants for mutual settlements. They were used as jewellery in Russia.

Experts believe that such a large number of items relating to different historical periods found in the riverfront is not accidental. The point is that there was a dump on a part of today’s Serebryanicheskaya Embankment. All the sewage flew into the water, and the people who lived by the river had been getting sick with fever. In 1797, the Imperial decree was issued, according to which the mills, bath houses and dyers were to be dismantled, factories and manufactories were to be moved to other locations, and the lowlands and the landfill to be covered with soil taken from other parts of the city. At different times, soil was brought here to reinforce Yauza banks. After clearing, waterfront area plots were allocated to Moscow residents for free and perpetual use, but with the obligatory condition to set up gardens there.

Serebryanicheskaya Embankment is located in the Tagansky District on the right bank of the Yauza River, between Yauzskaya Street and Zemlyanoi Val. Its name derives from the Starye Serebryaniki state sloboda of the 17th century, home of the craftsmen from the Silveryard mint.

Police badge, coins, and other finds

Valuable items from days bygone are regularly unearthed during construction and improvement projects and relocation of utility mains in Moscow. They help explain the city life of previous generations.  Archaeologists oversee these projects to make sure workers do not damage any items of interest. Experts assess their state and value, study them meticulously and then decide on the best way to preserve and display them at the museum.

A 19th century revolver and a militia cap badge were discovered by archaeologists in Dolgorukovskaya Street. Earlier, a treasure trove of silver and copper coins dating back to the reign of Nicholas II had been discovered in this street.  The entire trove is worth 35 roubles and 50.5 kopecks. Archaeologists discovered a part of the decor of the noble estate's front facade, fragments of relief stove tiles, and fragments of clay and glassware on the Yauza banks in Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo. Before 1689, the estate was owned by Princess Sophia Alekseyevna's  favourite — Prince Vasily Golitsyn, and then by Peter the First's uncle Fyodor Naryshkin.

Over the past 8 years, Moscow archaeologists have found more than 30,000 artefacts.  On Birzhevaya Square alone, experts collected 500 items, with the oldest ones dating back to the 12th century.

Source: mos.ru

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