The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Heinrich Karl Ernst Koehler

Who He Was

Born: August 13, 1765 in Wechselburg, Saxony
Died: December 27, 1837 in St. Petersburg
Occupation: archaeologist

Karl Köhler (alternately Koehler; born Heinrich Karl Ernst Koehler; known in Russia as Karl Keler or Карл Келер) came to Russia in 1790 to work as a tutor in a merchant family. By 1795 he was employed by the Hermitage as a librarian and collection curator. His essays won renown throughout Europe, and by 1803 he was a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (he became a full member in 1817).  

In 1821 Köhler performed the first comprehensive, scientific investigation of the antiquities of Crimea. His report set in motion a century of debate over how to assess the value of the Turkic and Greek legacies of the region - and how to integrate them into imperial ideology. 

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