Historical Centre


All in all, the Department's collections ...

Gold buckle shaped as a coiled-up pantherAll in all, the Department's collections are approximately twenty times larger today than they were in the beginning. They provide a vivid picture of the main stages in the early history of the peoples who inhabited or continue to inhabit our country. The materials owned by the Department are subdivided into nine sections on geographical or chronological principles. The earliest relics are assembled in the Paleolithic section. It contains Lower Paleolithic implements of obsidian discovered on Mt Satani Dar in Armenia, as well as objects found in a hunters' station of the glacial period, and those yielded by a child's burial under a dwelling at the Malta station near Irkutsk, whose wealth and variety of Paleolithic remains and objects of art put it among the world's most important sites. Its treasure of female figures, both clothed and nude, and birds, all carved out of mammoth tusk some 20,000 years ago, its images of a mammoth and serpents engraved on ivory plaques, its necklaces of beads and patterned pendants, bracelets, diadems, and a plaque with incised zigzag-shaped design, have won this site world-wide renown. In addition, during the past decade the section was enriched by a magnificent set of stone implements from sites on the Middle Dniester, which characterize the Stinkovo version of the Mousterian culture. The section devoted to the South European part of the Soviet Union contains exhibits belonging to the Eneolithic Age. Quite adequately represented in the collection are the relics of the well-studied Tripolye culture (third millennium B.C. and first half of the second), whose sites are to be found all over the Ukraine and Moldavia. Exceptional value is attached to finds from the settlements of Bernova Luka and Polivanov Yar and the Vykhvatintsy burial ground, as reflecting the step-by-step cultural development of the ancient farming population of the country's Southwest. The collection includes pottery - occasionally of very curious shape - decorated with white, brown or black paint; numerous female statuettes and figurines of domestic animals, made of clay; copper tools; personal adornments; and other artefacts.

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