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In Suzdal, Archaeologists Found a Unique Buried Treasure From the Middle of the First Millennium

A set of Volga-Finnish ornaments from the middle of the first millennium was found in the excavation

Archaeologists of the expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences on the territory of Suzdal Opolye (russian word for wide open field) on the right bank of the Nerl-river found a rare treasure, which includes a jingling pendant, a pendant “duck”, bracelets and a number of other valuable objects. What is particularly rare is that the items were found in relative preservation.

“The treasure consists of a set of ornaments of women’s traditional costume, typical of the culture of the Volga Finns, and an imported metal bowl. In the upper part of the hoard was a headdress made of many elements – spiral prongs, plate obolettes, overlays and various pendants. Apparently it consisted of at least three parts: a headdress, a cap and temple tassels”, the Archaeology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences informs.

Pendants like these were found earlier in the Kama region and dated to the second quarter of the first millennium (the III-fifth centuries A.D.). The image of a duck is characteristic of the Finno-Ugric culture. It is believed that it is connected with the myth of the creation of the world. Also in a find there are fragments of beads with a total number of beads in 300 pieces, and beads, which probably were embroidered clothes. A bowl with a loop-shaped handle was also found here. Similar ones are known in the Middle East. According to some indications, this object appeared on the territory of Eastern Europe long before it was found in the treasure.

Jingling pendant

Nikolai Makarov, director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that finding such a deliberately hidden set of artifacts is of great importance for the study of the past. The treasure trove will help to investigate complex craft technologies, images of art, to shed light on social relations and social hierarchy, and possibly on specific events of antiquity.

Duck pendant, Photo – Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology

The objects of antiquity were found in a previously unexplored area. At first, archaeologists found fragments of jewelry on the “square”. Then it was decided to lay two by two meters and investigate it as thoroughly as possible, documenting and photographing every step. The assumption turned out to be correct and soon the researchers were lucky.

A treasure trove of Volga-Finnish jewelry from the Great Migration period was found in Suzdal Opolye for the first time in history. Earlier such objects have never been found here. The ancient inhabitants of these places hid the jewelry in the central part of the settlement. Scientists do not yet understand why it was necessary to hide the jewelry. Further study of the village, as the researchers hope, may provide an answer to this question.

The village itself is unusual in its size – more than nine hectares. Its study, as well as the study of other settlements of the middle of the first millennium, sheds light on the history of the tribes who lived here before the epoch of Baptism and reigning, traditionally correlated with the history of Ancient Russia.

“Discovery unfolds a veil over ‘Finnish prehistory’ of Suzdal Opole (russian word for wide open field), which is known today to historians and archaeologists generally as one of the centers of Old Russian culture, opens the Suzdal neighborhoods as one of the centers of occurrence of Volga-Finnish cultures of first millennium and greatly complements the ethno-cultural picture of Volga-Klyazma interfluves “, – explained Alexander Morozov, a specialist of the Department of medieval archaeology of Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology.

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