Archaeology and Education in Postsoviet Russia

By Berezkin, Yuri E. | Antiquity, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Archaeology and Education in Postsoviet Russia


Berezkin, Yuri E., Antiquity


Key-words: Russia, soviet, Slav, education, universities, history

In the mid 1980s, anthropologists such as Marcus & Fischer (1986) called for a `repatriation' of anthropology, bringing the tools of the discipline to bear on the `home' situations of Euro-America rather than focusing on `alien, exotic' traditions.

To understand fully the relationship between archaeology and education in Russia, some background is necessary. In the Soviet Union, Marxism meant that evolutionary ideas characteristic of the later 19th century were preserved for another hundred years. Ideal research in the USSR was not the study of the past but the identification and confirmation of laws which regulate historical development, supporting marxism theory. Such Marxist theories, supported by many Russian intellectuals before the revolution, was afterwards upheld as official doctrine and disseminated through mass secondary education in the 1920s and '30s.

The evolutionary paradigm meant that archaeologists focused on temporal changes in technology and social structure rather than the problems of cultural development. Migration as explanation was extremely unpopular, and `cultural' groups identified within USSR territory were seen as ancestors of contemporary Soviets: in the case of eastern Europe, usually the ancestors of Eastern Slavs. In the 1940s and '50s cultures such as Fatianovo, Tripolye, Zarubincy and Cherniakhov, spread across eastern Europe, were identified as Slavic or proto-Slavic. Archaeology became an important component of national and imperial myth.

Archaeology, the main source of prehistoric study, claimed extensive financial support from the state. Academic prestiege, linked with opportunities for leading research expeditions, made the discipline an attractive and respected career choice. In 1965, there were 130 applicants for each of the four places reserved for archaeology at Leningrad State University; greater competition than any other departments within the History Faculty. Even after sifting by exam results, during the 1960s and '70s there were no less than four applicants for every place in the Archaeology department.

Soviet centralization of the discipline created strong and weak points. The Academy of Sciences of every Soviet republic had a Field Committee with exclusive control over issuing permits (`Opened Lists') for archaeological research. These lists were in three degrees, the least permitting only reconnaissance and description of sites. The receivers of Opened Lists were required to present reports of their research for assessment, upon which further research would depend. Copies of these reports were also presented to the museums, universities and academic institutions which had been involved in the research. Although not all reports fulfilled the requirements of scientific methodology, they did provide minimal data of research undertaken. This system still exists, and is effective in preventing amateurish excavations as well as concentrating all information at major centres for consultation. However, there is no requirement to publish work, and at least nine-tenths of reports presented to the Academy remain unpublished. While in the 1980s 1000 special permits were issued for archaeological excavations every year within the territory of the Russian Federation alone (Trifonov 1991: 80), there is a danger of overlooking previous research.

School history books of the Soviet period had little space for archaeology (usually a handful of pages including handaxes and early horticulture), but older schoolchildren had the chance to learn more through the system of `archaeological circles' (educational groups), which existed not only at major scientific centres like the Hermitage or Leningrad State University but also at many provincial museums, universities and sometimes at the schools themselves; although precise numbers are unclear, thousands and possibly tens of thousands of children were in contact with them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Archaeology and Education in Postsoviet Russia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.