The Russian Project

Originally Published in 1933

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THE development of the Russian project under the guidance of Mr. Eugene Golomshtok has progressed most favorably. Of particular interest is the inauguration of an archaeological expedition sponsored jointly by the State Academy for the History of Material Culture, Leningrad, and the University Museum, with Mr. Golomshtok as the Museum’s representative in the field. The site selected for excavation is at Esske-Kermen, one of a number of so-called ‘cave-cities’ on the Crimean peninsula.

According to Russian scientists, a fortified town was built during the fifth century A. D. on a high plateau with steep-sloping sides. The banks of the plateau are honeycombed by numbers of natural and artificial caves, hence the name, ‘cave-city.’ Three roads lead to the town, of which the known remains include the main gates, a basilica, streets, and houses, all covered by a thick layer of cultural debris. The site has been partially excavated by the State Academy during the past five years, and the results so far obtained indicate that the city was the old capitol of the Goths in Crimea so-called Duros, which was attacked by the Khazars in A. D. 962. At that time the flourishing town was transformed into a mere village, which maintained a meagre existence until the seventh century when it was altogether abandoned.

Esske-Kermen is in the midst of an arid area, but in antiquity there seems to have been an abundance of vineyards and other agricultural developments. The finding, in 1931, of a well-made aqueduct solved the interesting problem of the city’s water supply. Some three hundred and fifty of the caves already mentioned have been previously investigated, but there remains a great deal to be done, both in connection with the caves and the city proper as well as else where in the vicinity, including among other objectives the Gothic period catacomb cemetery, several Early Bronze Age burials, a number of rock cut tombs along the main street, and three kurgans (mounds) in the nearby Shuldan valley. Reports of the excavations are awaited with interest and will be published in due course.

In addition to participating in the joint expedition, Mr. Golomshtok has arranged for further exchanges of objects and literature with the leading institutions in Leningrad and Moscow which are interested in archaeology and anthropology. The enrichment of the collections and libraries of these institutions and of the University Museum may be expected to result.

Cite This Article

"The Russian Project." Museum Bulletin IV, no. 5 (October, 1933): 142-143. Accessed July 15, 2024. https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1252/


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