The Pyatnitsky excavation site in Staraya Russa hosts the NovSU summer archaeological school, which for the fifth year in a row gathers people of various ages and professions. This school is part of the Staraya Russa Archaeological Expedition organized by the Center for Archaeological Research at the Department of Russian History and Archaeology of Novgorod State University with the support of the History of the Fatherland Foundation.
One of the most interesting finds of this summer was the 57th birch bark charter discovered on July 12. Birch bark charters are ancient written documents written on thin plates of birch bark. They are an important source of information about the life and culture of the ancient Slavs. Each new charter expands our knowledge of the past.
In addition, a unique pendant from a cowrie shell was found. This jewelry, made of a mollusk that lives in the Indian Ocean, has been known in Novgorod region since the XI century. However, usually such pendants are very small, and the shell found occupies a third of a human palm. This find aroused special interest among researchers.
Elena Toropova, head of the Department of Russian History and Archaeology of Novgorod State University, head of the expedition, noted that this find may be a pilgrimage relic from the Holy Land. She noted that the Old Russian Museum has a similar shell, which is a souvenir from the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where the tomb of St. James is located. Perhaps the pendant that was found also came from these places.
Another interesting find was a flint arrowhead. Scientists believe that this object is much older than the XII century layer in which it was found. Kirill Samoilov, one of the participants of the expedition, noted that the arrowhead is at least 2.5 thousand years old. In the XII century it was probably found and used as an amulet. At that time such arrowheads were considered a symbol of lightning and had magical properties. Similar ideas about lightning and its magical power were widespread among various peoples of Eurasia.
The Summer Archaeological School of Novgorod State University provides participants with an opportunity to take part in excavations free of charge. The organizers of the school provide food and accommodation for all participants. This allows to attract people of different ages and professions who are interested in archaeology and history.
Archaeological excavations at the Pyatnitsky excavation site in Staraya Russa continue, and every day new amazing discoveries can be made. These findings help to expand our knowledge of the past and understand how our ancestors lived and thought.