Mountain releases its riches

Nearly seven thousand exhibits from the 10-12th centuries were found by archaeologists during excavations in Mstislavl

By Victor Mikheev

Nearly seven thousand exhibits from the 10-12th centuries were found by archaeologists during excavations in Mstislavl. It took the whole week for experts to make their full inventory.



Mstislavl is a depositary of ancient rarities


“It is one of the richest and unique collections of rarities found recently in Belarus,” Research supervisor of excavations, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Igor Marzalyuk noted. “Its uniqueness is in the fact that we found whole ranges of materials from different eras, which allow us to see the lives of eastern Slavs from the 10-17th centuries, starting from their food rations to their level of education and armament. For example, the literacy of our ancestors is confirmed by a birch bark manuscript from the 11th century (the third such find in Belarus) on which a child scribbled a message, while valuable jewelleries from the Byzantine Empire, Syria, the Caucasus, testify to the riches of the inhabitants of ancient Mstislavl.”

Among the rare exhibits is a slate spindle whorl with an inscription in Cyrillic alphabet, a leather belt belonging to a man-at-arms, a Byzantine bowl for wine, painted with gold, a cross-encolpion and a big crystal bead from the Byzantine Empire. Elements of weapons, clothes and household items were also found.

“Thanks to these excavations, we also unearthed new data about resource management and the buildings of ancient Mstislavl. Elements of roadways and buildings from wooden coronas were found in good condition. The archaeologists also excavated the site of a perfectly preserved household courtyard with a wooden staircase from the 11th century and even firewood of that time,” the professor said.

The work of the archaeologists in the Zamkovaya Mountain is now finished. The ‘museumification’ of the excavation site is now being carried out. There was already an exposition of the most valuable rarities found at the excavation and qualified guides worked there. Moreover, for the purpose of the creation of an open-air museum, it is planned to excavate part of defensive rampart and to restore one of the wooden towers of the ancient castle.

“As a result we will receive a unique museum complex in Belarus, where the life and mode of life of the ancient Slavs will be presented,” Igor Marzalyuk concluded.

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