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Stratum plus. 2003-2004. №5

S. V. Beletzky, Ju. M. Lesman (St.-Petersburg, Russia)

On the Lower Layer of Truvorovo City-Site (Notes to the Monograph by V.V. Sedov)

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Pages: 167-168

Truvorovo city-site is the citadel of the Old Russian town Izborsk (till 1329). In 1971-1990 the city was almost completely uncovered by Izborsk archaeological expedition (headed by V.V.Sedov).
The excavation materials from Truvorovo city-site have been used many times by V.V.Sedov to substantiate the thesis that the Old Russian town derives from a tribal centre of pre-urban period. The first settlement at Truvorovo city-site area according to the observations by V.V.Sedov appeared on the turn of 7th – 8th centuries. From the very moment of its foundation it wasn’t agricultural; its population had a remarkably mixed ethnic structure. Sedov believed it was the evidence of proto-urban character of this settlement, which was the tribal centre of one of the Slavs groups – the Krivichi.  In the middle – second half of the 10th century, after a great fire, the promontory part of the city was fortified around the perimeter by an oak wall and thus became a citadel. The southern part of the city, limited by a wall (with a stone wall erected along the ridge of the wall) became a circuitous town. Rearrangement of the city-site, by the observations of V.V.Sedov, coincided in time with the spreading of the early wheeled pottery along with hand-made ware; the former gradually would force out hand-made vessels from everyday life in the town. Since then, by V.V. Sedov’s evaluation, Izborsk became a typical medieval town.
In 2002 the monograph by V.V.Sedov “Izborsk – the proto-urban centre” was published. This book exposed to scientific discussion the archaeological materials that are connected with the lower layer of the site and belong, according V.V.Sedov, to pre-urban stage of Izborsk. The book thus offered the necessary factual support to evaluation of informative potential of the uncovered site for substantiation of the tribal model of the origin of the Old Russian town.
This article states the results of  verification of conclusions made by V.V.Sedov, based on study of pottery from the Truvorovo city-site excavations. In the course of the excavations pottery fragments were fixed on each square and on each 20-sm stratum. Thus pottery collections allow characterizing only these relative layers served for fixing and documenting the finds, rather tahn the stratigraphical layers of the site.
The analysis of pottery distribution over the layers and strata showed the layer yielding exclusively hand-made pottery finds preserved only in small spots in the lower cultural stratifications of Truvorovo city-site. This layer was seriously destroyed in the 12th -14th centuries. The fragments of wheel-made pottery of late 11th -12th centuries found during the excavations are scarce, while fragments of vessels of 11th century are solitary.  Apparently, the layer of this period was completely destroyed. Early-wheel made pottery of the 10th century among the studied collections is absent. There is not any data proving the co-existence of both hand-made and wheel-made pottery in the deposits overlaying the lower layer of the site.
Verification of the dating of the excavated objects attributed by V.V.Sedov to the lower layer of Truvorovo city-site, is based, primarily, on the  better elaborated scales: the Scandinavian one (Vendel period, the early and the middle periods of the Viking age), the Old Ladoga (second half of 8th – 10th centuries) and the Novgorod (second half of 10th – 15th centuries). Chronology of the Baltic region is less exact and, therefore is not so reliable.
We succeeded in dating 165 objects described in V.V.Sedov’s book as belonging to the lower layer of the city-site. The earliest objects date to 8th c., the latest – to 13-14th cc. The beginning of formation of the lower layer must be dated by 8th century rather than by the late 7th. Among the finds, only 19 can be specifically dated before the mid. 10th c., i.e. younger than V.V. Sedov’s upper dating of the stratum. This is the evidence of a shuffled nature of this layer. However, there are few finds of 10-11th cc. (6 objects), and no objects dating to 10th c. The earliest finds in the overlaying layer (and the finds that most likely were moved from it into the layer below) date within the period before the late 11th c. Generally, the chronoogy of the objects allows suggesting that the lower layer stopped developing not later than the turn of 9th – 10th cc., while formation of the layer above it started in 11th c., most likely in the second half of 11th c.
The monetary finds demonstrate a similar situation. Six out of nine coins belonging to 8th -11th  centuries found at Truvorovo city-site make up a compact series of dirhams of late 8th – early 9th centuries, which fell out in the layer not later than in 840-870. A dirham of the 10th century and an imitation of dirham of the 10th century were in use for some time as pendants so the time of their falling out in the layer cannot be limited by the 10th century. A German dinar of the turn of 10th -11th century or of the first quarter of the 11th century belongs to the coins which turned till the 12th century.
Thus the analysis of the pottery, objects and monetary finds shows in general the same picture. Apparently, a successive connection between the primary settlement and the medieval town of Izborsk of 11th – 14th centuries cannot be traced according to the available archaeological materials.


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