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The Ethnoarchaeology of Russians in the Syro-Palestinian Region (18th–19th Centuries)

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.097-105

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Abstract

This study belongs to a new archaeological subdiscipline in Russian and Israeli research—the archaeology of Russian presence, addressing cultural, ethnic, and geopolitical contacts between the Russian Empire and the Near Eastern, specifically Syro-Palestinian, population in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. This was the time when a new sociocultural entity emerged, known as Russian Palestine. Many thousands of Orthodox Christians from Russia (including Siberia) traveled to the Holy Land each year. A prolonged Russian residence in the Ottoman part of Palestine, where Russia owned dozens of estates, had a profound impact on Palestinian culture. Important evidence thereof are archaeological sites relating to Russian estates and pilgrimage centers. This article provides information on newly discovered Russian estates in 19th century Jerusalem, remains of buildings with their infrastructure at the Russian and Benjamin’s estates, and the Russian Compound outside the Jaffa Gate. Evidence of the Russian presence include numerous 18th–19th century lapidary inscriptions, utensils left by the first Russian missionaries, small cemeteries, and separate burials (some of them very interesting, such as the burial of a Russian pilgrim at Aceldama, Jerusalem). One find is unusual—a family synodikon from Aceldama, printed in Moscow. Among the inscriptions are professional ones, made in the monumental style, and usual prayer graffiti. One inscription has allowed us to determine the date of the pilgrimage to Constantinople and Palestine by the Chernigov monks, described by Sylvester (Dikansky).

About the Authors

L. A. Belyaev
Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences; Tomsk State University
Russian Federation
Dm. Ulyanova 19, Moscow, 117292
Pr. Lenina 34, Tomsk, 634050


Y. Tchekhanovets
Israel Antiquities Authority
Israel
P.O.B. 586, Jerusalem, 91004


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For citation:


Belyaev L.A., Tchekhanovets Y. The Ethnoarchaeology of Russians in the Syro-Palestinian Region (18th–19th Centuries). Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(2):97-105. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.2.097-105

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)