Peter the Great era accessories: Restoring 18th century discoveries

July 3

Archaeologists in Moscow have restored artefacts from the Peter the Great era. Household items from the early 18th century were discovered during a survey in Gogolevsky Boulevard in 2019. Some of the finds include shoe buckles, seashell-shaped cloak clasps and a shiny uniform button. The objects were made out of iron, copper alloys or silver.

“The researchers found accessories that once belonged to a Western European style suit from the early 18th century. Emperor Peter the Great ordered representatives of almost every class to drastically change how they dressed, with the exception of peasants working on farms and the clergy. Shoes decorated with bows and buckles were one such novelty. For some occupations (for example, valets) this type of shoes became part of their uniform. The archaeologists found two shoe buckles. Also in the early 18th century, it became common to wear cloaks. Many were decorated with seashell-shaped clasps. The researchers found two such cloak clasps in Gogolevsky Boulevard, one with a hook and another with a loop,” reported Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov.

The archaeological collection of finds from the Gogolevsky Boulevard included other early 18th century artefacts besides accessories such as an iron padlock and a copper polushka coin, worth ¼ of a kopek, minted in 1720.


Scientific restoration work of the metal household items took several months. Using special cleaners they were freed of rust and dirt. The artefacts will be transferred to the Museum of Moscow and may eventually go on display.

Every now and then, archaeologists discover items that keep the memory about life in Moscow and its residents alive. Researchers then study what condition they are in, estimate their value and decide how best to preserve them.

This summer, in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas, experts found more than 1,000 objects dating back to a period covering the 14th and 19th centuries. By the Malaya Sosenka River in the southwest township of Kommunarka, they found household items such as cross pendants, fragments of jewelry, horse harnesses and coins.

In late 2019, during the archaeological digging at the site of a former orphanage on the Moskvoretskaya Embankment, archaeologists discovered more than 900 antique household items. There were copper cross pendants, signet rings, coins, pipes once used for smoking, buttons, belt buckles, horse harnesses, a glass bead, knives and nails made of iron, lead bullets and other artefacts dating back to the 12th to19th centuries. The archaeologists found a unique series of fragments of pottery with a pitted texture, from the late Neolithic Lyalovo culture (4th to 3rd century BC). These finds could indicate that there was an ancient fishing settlement by the Moskva River.


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