Between 27 June and 26 July, students from the Faculty of History of Voronezh State University carried out archaeological field study as a part of their practical training. The largest group under supervision of Associate Professor Elena Zakharova from the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History worked together with the Divnogorie archaeological expedition headed by Associate Professor Alexandre Bessudnov from the Department of Russian and General History at P.P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky Lipetsk State Pedagogical University.
Our university has been involved in a fruitful cooperation with the Divnogorie nature reserve for a long time. For VSU historians it was the 11th field season as a part of the expedition which investigates the unique archaeological site “Divnogorie 9”. At the moment, this is the latest upper palaeolithic site in the Middle Don. It appeared 14–13 thousand years ago and is about 5 thousand years younger than the famous Kostyenky dwelling sites.
“Working at this site, we dig into the time of a global catastrophe, a post-glacial period, when the steady life of mammoth hunters had to give way to the continuous struggle to survive in the conditions that had changed. However, this is on a global scale. As for the site itself, this is a place well-known in the global archaeology for the remains of about 100 wild horses which were found here. The animals lived not far from the dwellings of people. The collection of the traces of the human presence consisting of ancient flintstone tools and splits exceeds now 10,000 items”, said Elena Zakharova.
During the practical training, the students exercised in new methods of excavation and during evening lectures they had a chance to extend their theoretical knowledge. The staff of the nature reserve prepared a diverse excursion programme for the students. Apart from acquiring archaeological skills, the practical training provided the possibility to experience life in an expedition, to test yourself against the challenge of living in simple conditions with little comfort. The students could not forget the beautiful landscape and the romantic gatherings in the evening when they sat around the fire and sang songs.
“Every day was full of events: excavations, lectures, excursions, and master-classes. The practical training in Divnogorie was my best experience this year. I took part in archaeological excavations for the first time and I really enjoyed it. Thanks to the practical training I understood why some people become archaeologists. Most of all I remembered excavating the site Divnogorie 9 and the excursion to a Mayaki settlement and the archaeological park “The childhood of the Earth” which the heads of the expedition organised for us. I really liked how our supervisors treated us, their lectures, how they took care of us, sympathised with us, and helped us with a kind word or an action. They showed us all the advantages and most attractive sides of archaeology”, said first year student from the Faculty of History, Alina Voyevodina.