Finds and their restoration: the archaeological season starts in Moscow

June 14

A new archaeological season starts in Moscow. This was announced by Alexey Yemelyanov, the Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow. In 2021, specialists will conduct field work on more than 800 sites. Two-thirds of them are located on the territory of TiNAO (Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative districts).

"For five months of 2021, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation has already issued 21 permits for archaeological excavations and surveys (field works) on the territory of Moscow. This is a start that promises us a fruitful season. For comparison, only 35 such permits were issued for the entire 2020. Without them, it is impossible to conduct archaeological excavations on the territory of Moscow. Last year, about 15 thousand artifacts were found in the capital. In the new archaeological season, we reckon on not less finds," Alexey Yemelyanov commented.

The archaeological season lasts from the beginning of June to the beginning of October. At this time, excavations, observations, and research are carried out. Excavations are field archaeological work. They are, for example, carried out before the start of construction. And the timing depends on the scope of work and area covered. Archaeological observations are carried out in parallel with the construction work.

To perform excavations and any type of earthworks, archaeologists need special permit. Such permits are issued to archaeologists for certain areas or districts, settlements, places with the status of a monument.

Where archaeologists will look for the treasures of the past

The most significant sites are located on the territory of the Orphanage in Kitaygorodsky Proezd. Archaeologists suggest that it is possible to obtain new scientific data about the period of the initial development of the riparian territory in the historical center of Moscow. Collections of archaeological finds of a wide chronological range can be formed - from the 16th to the 19th century.

The studies are planned to be carried out on the territory of the Novodevichy convent, at the intersection of Sretenka Street and Pushkareva Lane. Based on the analysis of historical and archaeological sources, the sites where both cultural layers of the 17th–19th centuries and the remains of historical buildings could be preserved are identified. Experts expect to find elements of urban structures of different centuries.

"Two-thirds of the sites are located in New Moscow. It is planned to continue archaeological field work on the territory of the historical Izmalkovo manor house, which is located in the Vnukovsky settlement. Earlier, archaeologists studied the elements of garden and park structures and systems that appeared there in the late 18th — early 19th century, as well as found individual items of the late 17th — early 20th century that belonged to local residents, " the Head of the Department said.

He added that work is also planned in the places of the historical villages Kuzovlevo, Ryzhovo and Zabolotye in TiNAO.

Restore and hand over to the museum

The archaeologists will continue year-round work, that is the description and restoration of the already discovered finds, as well as their handing over to the museum collections. The work process in the workshops is divided into two stages: cameral processing, when the artifact is cleaned from the soil, and the restoration itself. Restoration can take from a week to several years. It all depends on the find and its condition.

"Every year we process about 10 thousand finds. In total, in 2020, more than 700 archaeological items, including 16 archaeological collections, were handed over to the state part of the Museum Fund of the Russian Federation. Now archaeologists also keep their momemtum going on finds restoration. Since the beginning of the year, more than 500 items found earlier have been processed. An excellent example of the values restored is a complex of artifacts found at the end of last year during archaeological study during excavation work near the Paveletsky railway station," Alexey Yemelyanov said.

Experts managed to identify and record interesting materials that tell about the history of the development of this area and the life of citizens in different centuries. The work was carried out in winter, that happens in exceptional cases. That work was organized in full accordance with the generally accepted archaeological methodology: in order to ensure that in winter conditions it would be possible to fully fix all the discovered objects, each site was covered with a protective canopy with round-the-clock lighting and heating.

"According to the findings on Paveletskaya, you can trace the history of the development of this place over a period of several centuries. The main discovery was a hoard of Russian copper coins of the late 15th-16th centuries. The hoard was found in a small hole. At the moment of finding, it was a compact collection of coins, and no container such as a vessel, was found. Apparently, the coins were originally in a purse or bundle made of organic material, which by now has completely decayed. In total, there were 88 copper coins - mites of Moscow and Tver coinage," the Head of the Moscow City Heritage Committee said.

A treasure trove of Russian copper coins of the late XV-XVI centuries

He said that the owner of the found treasure was a poor man. With this money, he could buy food for one week. Almost all the coins turned out to have traces of a long stay in monetary circulation: during the restoration process, it turned out that many of them were completely rubbed off.

The mite (pulo, pula) was the lowest denomination of the Russian coin system, and its nominal value was minuscule: at various times, one silver kopeck accounted for from 16 to 64 mites. Therefore, on the one hand, these single coins are often found: they were lost and did not really try to look for them. On the other hand, such coins are almost never found in hoards: the townspeople tried to hide money of a larger denomination. And to date, the hoard of mites, discovered in front of the Paveletsky railway station, is the first find of this kind in the history of the Moscow archeology, made in the process of stationary archaeological studies.

In addition, archaeologists have found coins of the period of the reign of different sovereigns: Elizabeth Petrovna, Catherine II, Paul I, Nicholas I, Nicholas II, as well as a series of Soviet coins of the pre-war period.

Coins of the reign: Elizabeth Petrovna, Catherine II, Paul I, Nicholas I, Nicholas II, as well as a series of Soviet coins of the pre-war period

 "In addition to the hoard, archaeologists have found a whole collection of dishes. It can be divided into two parts: imported items and items that imitate the Eastern and Western traditions. The first group included a German beer mug, a bowl with a clock from England, and the beaters of a porcelain plate from Western Europe. And in the second - the throat of a glass shtof-bottle (old Russian unit of liquid measure equal to 1.23 liters) with an imitation of the English brand, a smoking pipe of the Turkish type, a porcelain plate of the Khrapunov-Novago factory with an imitation of Western European painting, as well as a plate of the Zhadin factory, whose brand is written in Latin letters in the Western manner," Alexey Yemelyanov said.


Interesting finds were two toys: a tin horseman with sword of the late 19th - first half of the 20th century and a decorative ceramic figure of the late 19th - early 20th century, depicting a peasant girl.

The entire collection of finds has already been restored, and it will soon be handed over to one of the museums in Moscow.

Photos are provided by the press service of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow


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