The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

The expedition of 1847

In 1847, Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, President of the Imperial Academy of Arts and of the newly-established Imperial Archaeological Society, assigned Count Aleksei Sergeevich Uvarov the task of conducting research at any and all sites "mentioned by the ancient writers" from the mouth of the Danube to the mouth of the Phasis (Rioni) in Georgia, paying particular attention to the disposition of burial mounds throughout the region.

Points 4 though 10 of the expedition instruction are an excellent thumbnail sketch of the significance of the Black Sea littoral from the vantage point of mid-19th century archaeologists (and their patrons):

4. To determine the elevation of ancient places for which there are no good plans;
5. To study the remains and ruins to be found in the Crimean interior, notably along the Salgir, Belbek, and Mangush rivers;
6. Apart from antiquities of the classical period, to make inquiries into the antiquities of all time periods, including those of the Scythians, Byzantines, Tatars, Genoese, and Russians;
7. To collect all the ancient inscriptions, known or unknown, making copies or imprints of them;
8. To verify [Paul] DuBrux's claims about Nymphaea (Kara Bouroum);
9. To visit the museums at Nikolaief, Theodosie, and Odessa, and the antiquities found at the church at Taman;
10. Sepulchres of several Scythian kings are said to exist along the north coast of the Putrid Sea: to see whether these claims have any foundation...

In 1855, Uvarov published his Recherches sur les antiquités de la Russie méridionale et des côtes de la mer Noire. It opens with allusions to extenuating circumstances and to Uvarov's decision to exercise discretion in deciding which sites to study. It then goes on to describe the course of the Dnepr River from the famous rapids down to Nicopolis (chapter 1), and Olbia and the mouth of the Bug River (chapter 2). Uvarov spent a good deal of time on excavations in Tavrida province in 1853-1854. Indeed, the maps and views included in the volume of illustrations, which was published four years earlier than the Recherches, suggests that Uvarov had in fact made his way through the entire littoral as it was mapped out for him in the expedition instruction. 

This page has paths:

This page references: