Department of America

Contact Information

Universitetskaya nab., 3. St.Petersburg, 199034

Phone: +7 (812) 328-41-52

Department Staff

Yuri BEREZKIN, Head of Department, D.Sc. (areal distribution of folk and mythological motives as a data source on ancient cultural and migration processes; America settlement; early complex societies; iconography of Ancient Peru; archeology of Western and Central Asia).

Lyubov' DMITRENKO, Senior Assistant (development of ancient cultures within the territory of Argentina; binocular examination of ancient ceramics making techniques; history of the Museum’s archeological collections from Argentina; production techniques of ancient ceramics in South America; Alberto Vojtech Frič and history of the Museum’s collections).

Yevgenii DUVAKIN, Researcher, Cand.Sc. (folklore, ethnography, iconography and ethnic history of peoples of Siberia, Central Asia and North America; areal distribution of folk and mythological motives through historical perspective; Eurasian and American connections in ethnography and iconography, reconstruction of culture of the early migrants to the New World).

Olga KONDAKOVASenior Assistant (the Museum’s Mexican collections; Mexican folk arts and crafts; Mexican ceramics; Tonala ceramics; the Huichol).

Sergey KORSUN, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (ethnography of Alaska and California; history of Russian America; museology).

Oksana YANSHINASenior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (specific characteristics of paleoethnological development of the southern Russian Far East in the Neolithic and Paleometallic; ceramics as archeological and historical source).

History of the Department

The Department of America was founded in the end of the 19th century. In the early 1900s it was divided into two subdepartments, that of North America, and that of Central and South America. The latter emerged thanks to L.J. Sternberg, who initiated the exchange of collections with foreign museums. In 1889 the museum owned 256 exhibits from Central and South America, and in 1913 their number reached 6866. After the 1917 Revolution, the department was headed by V.G. Bogoraz-Tan, a prominent specialist in Siberians natives.

In 1950–90 one of the department staff members was Yu.V. Knorozov, D.Sc., winner of the National Award, a world-known specialist in the deciphering of the ancient systems of writing. A monument to Knorozov was erected in Mexico City, marking his outstanding achievements in the study of pre-Columbian cultures of Central America.

In the same years the department staff included R.G. Lyapunova, Cand.Sc., a specialist in the Aleuts, G.N. Dzeniskevich., Cand.Sc., a specialist in northern Athabaskans and Tlingit (she headed the department in the 1990s), and A.D. Dridzo, D.Sc., a specialist in Caribbean ethnography. In his last years Dridzo published archival materials pertaining to the Second Russian Expedition to South America (1914–15).

Main Research Areas

The main research areas of the department are traditional ideology and material culture of North and South American natives, and origins and attribution of the collections. The department staff includes several noted specialists in American ethnography and native history.

Principal Publications

For the full list of publications see the page in Russian.

  • Averkieva J., Sherman M.A. Kwakiutl String Figures. Seattle, 1992.
  • Berezkin Y.E., Korsun S.A. North America: Exhibition guide (Series “Halls of Kunstkamera”) / Eds. Y.K. Chistov, K.A. Nosovskaya. — Saint-Petersburg: MAE RAS, 2008. — 96 p.
  • Korsun S. The Alutiit / Sugpiat: A Catalog of the Collections of the Kunstkamera. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2012.
  • Korsun S., Black L. Herman A Wilderness Saint: from Sarov, Russia to Kodiak, Alaska. — Jordanville, New York: Holy Trinity Publications, 2012. — 243 p.
  • Liapunova R.G. Essays on the Ethnography of the Aleuts: (At the End of the eighteenth and the first half of the Nineteenth Century). Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 1996.
  • Siebert E., Forman W. Indianerkunst der amerikanischen Nordwestküste. Praha, 1967.
  • Siebert E., Forman W. North American Indian Art: Masks, Amulets, Wood Carvings and Ceremonial Dress from North-West Coast. London, 1967.
  • Siebert E., Forman W. El arte de los índios norteamericanos de la Costa del Noroeste. México, 1967.
  • Varjola P., Averkieva J.P., Liapunova R.G. The Etholen Collection: The ethnographic Alaskan collection of Adolf Etholen and his contemporaries in the National Museum of Finland. Helsinki, 1990.