Archaeologists find rare treasure in Suzdal of Russia

The twentieth season of fieldwork brought an unexpected discovery to the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

During the continuous research of one of the previously unexplored areas of Suzdal Opolye, a woman’s jewelry treasures dating to the middle of the 1st millennium AD were discovered.

The treasure was found in Russia‘s Suzdal Opolye region, near the Nerl-Klyazminskaya river. This is the first treasury of Volga-Finnish women’s jewelry of the era of the Great Nations Migration, located on the territory of Suzdal Opolye. Previously, such items have never been found in this region.

The treasure consists of ornaments for a traditional female costume, typical of the Volga-Finnish culture, and an imported metal bowl. The Volga Finns (sometimes referred to as the East Finns) are a historic group of Russian indigenous peoples living near the Volga River.

The non-ferrous metal objects include fragments of a headdress, three bracelets, an open-work brooch, more than 300 beads and a remarkable group of six hollow duck-shaped pendants that were once threaded on a leather cord decorated with metal beads.

Waterfowl had religious significance to the Volga Finns and other Finno-Ugric cultures, as they were associated with their creation myths.

There was also a metal bowl with a looping handle that is an extremely rare import from the Middle East and is older than the jewelry. It may have had ritual use.

The find lifts the veil over the ‘Finnish prehistory’ of the Suzdal Opolye, which is known today to historians and archaeologists mainly as one of the centers of ancient Russian culture.

Further research of the objects of the treasure and the settlement will make it possible to understand how Opolye was developed in the period preceding the Slavic colonization.”

Archaeologists believe the ornaments were hidden in a box made of birch bark near the settlement’s center, but the motive for hiding the treasure remains unknown.

The silver hoard was found on a forested slope near the village of Isady is northwestern Russia. The area has produced many a hoard — at least 17 documented ones — cached in the 13th century when the town of Ryazan became the first Russian city besieged by the Golden Horde forces of Batu Khan, Genghis’ grandson, in 1237.

The image of a waterfowl was also common in the Volga-Ural region at the end of the 1st century – the beginning of the 2nd millennium AD, however, the early pendant-duck species are represented by several examples. They were previously unknown in Suzdal Opolye. Similar pendant forms are known in the ancient artifacts in the Kama region, especially in the Azelin culture, belonging to the second quarter of the 1st millennium AD.

According to manager Nikolai Makarov of the Russian Academy of Sciences‘ Institute of Archaeology, “These are not just collected items: they are elements of a woman’s costume. The find lifts the veil over the “Finnish prehistory” of the Suzdal Opolye, which is known today to historians and archaeologists mainly as one of the centers of ancient Russian culture. Further research of the objects of the treasure and the settlement will make it possible to understand how Opolye was developed in the period preceding the Slavic colonization.

”Archaeologists believe the ornaments were hidden in a box made of birch bark near the settlement’s center, but the motive for hiding the treasure remains unknown.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *