National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus

Medieval Archaeology

The collection includes materials referring to the early Middle Ages, Old Rus’ period, the late Middle Ages and modern period. The core of the collection was formed in 1957-1967 as a result of the work of the steering team. The first thing which appeared in the collection was artefacts from the excavations of burial mound group in Zaslaŭje (study by Eduard Zaharulski in 1957). The collection includes a significant amount of archaeological materials, collected in the interwar period and owned by the Belarusian State Museum, showing the continuity of traditions between these institutions. In addition, a certain number of findings from the adjacent regions of Russia (modern Pskov region) was added to the collection "Archaeology of the Middle Ages". The intensive replenishment of the collection was observing in the 1970-1980s, when the museum's collection received great archaeological materials from the excavations of the medieval towns and burial monuments (burial mound groups). These excavations were conducted by the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of BSSR. In the 1990s - early 2000s the completion of the collection was carried out primarily due to the excavation materials of archaeological expeditions of the Institute of History of NAS of Belarus, some of them were partially funded by the museum. Since early 2000s a private archaeological museum’s expedition has been operating (managers - V.M. Sidarovich, Vital Sidarovich, Mikalay Plavinski). Since 2004, the expedition has conducted a systematic study of medieval monuments of Braslaŭ Lakeland.

The collection "Archaeology of the Middle Ages" includes materials from the early medieval monuments (Prague Korchak Culture, Long-Barrow Culture), monuments of the 10th-13th centuries (funerary monuments of the Krivichs, Dregovichs, Radimichs and Yotvingians; towns and castles of the lands of Polack, Neman River, Turaŭ and Pinsk; rural settlements and incidental findings), monuments of the late Middle Ages and Modern Times (funerary monuments, towns and castles, boroughs and rural settlements, incidental findings). In total, collection consists of 21,126 items of the corpus and 7,183 of an accessory.

The collection "Archaeology of the Middle Ages", along with the collection "Archaeology of Prehistory", plays a leading role in the exhibition and cultural and educational activities of the museum. Exhibits of the collection reflect more than a thousand-year history of the country and major part of its recorded history. Items of collection comprise 1/3 of the total number of the museum objects presented in the exhibition "Ancient Belarus".