Department of Archeology

Contact Information

Universitetskaya nab., 3, 199034 St.Petersburg, Russia

Phone: (812) 328-08-12 (ext. 420)

Department Staff

Gennadii KHLOPACHEV, Head of Department, Cand.Sc. (archeology of the Paleolithic; the Upper Paleolithic of East European Plain; stone and bone industry, structure of settlements with mammoth bone constructions, ancient techniques and technologies of bone processing in the Stone Age).

Stanislav BELSKY, Junior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (archeology of the Iron Age – the Middle Ages of East Baltic, North-West of Russia; chronology of archeological monuments, written sources and archeology. Specific branch of activity – dynamic filed work, development and research of new archeological objects, registration at regional bodes of monument protection).

Dmitrii GERASIMOV, Researcher, Cand.Sc. (social and cultural processes of the Holocene Stone Age in forest belt of East Europe in terms of environment modifications).

Olga YEMELINA, Leading Curator (Hun-Sarmatian archeology; archeological textile; restoration of textile, leather, plant fiber).

History of the Department

The first collections of Russian antiquities were acquired in the times of Peter’s Kunstkamera. The most important archaeological acquisitions of that period are the famous Siberian collection of gold articles assembled by a Tagil manufacturer A.N. Demidov and donated by him to Peter I in 1715, and that of gold and silver objects from Astrakhan’ Region. In later years, the influx of archaeological materials to the Kunstkamera was rather steady, and after a number of reorganizations a separate Department of Archaeology was founded in 1894 as a structural unit of the Museum.

In March 1894, Academician V.V. Radlov was elected Director of MAE. Already in his opening speech at the meeting of the Academy of Sciences on March 30th, 1894, he invited the audience “to appeal to the Imperial Archaeological Committee for help in the enrichment of the archaeological department of the museum”. In this address, for the first time, the archaeological part of MAE is referred to as a department, suggesting that this was the day when the history of the Department of Archaeology actually began.

The department’s first staff members were N.M. Mogilyanskii, D.A. Klementz, and B.F. Adler. Other persons associated with the department in the early 1900s were I.T. Savenkov and B.E. Petrie. In the mid-1930s, consultations were received from V.N. Chernetsov. Archaeologists who worked at the department in the 1900s – 1950s were V.I. Kamenskii, A.V. Schmidt, K.M. Polikarpovich, and V.V. Fedorov. A special part in the department’s history and in the emergence of its collections was played by outstanding figures such as P.P. Efimenko and S.N. Zamyatnin. The former headed the department in 1933–38. The latter, after having worked at MAE part-time in 1933–45, became Department Head in 1945 and ran it until his death in 1958.

Main Research Areas

These include archaeological aspects in the study of prehistoric society, mainly based on museum materials and new data, history of archaeological collections of the Kunstkamera, and the database Archaeological Materials of MAE. 

Main Publications

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

  1. Demidenko Y.E. and Uthmeier T. With contributions by G. A. Khlopachev and M.V. Sablin Kiik-Koba Grotto, Crimea (Ukraine). Re-Analysis of a Key Site of the Crimean Micoquian. Kölner Studien zur Prähistorischen Archäologie, 3. Published for the Institute of Prehistory and early History of Cologne University, Cologne, 2013
  2. Khlopachev G.A. Les techniques de debitage de l`ivoire dans les sites de la Plaine Russe au Paleolithique Superieur (25000 - 13000 av. J.-C.) // Prehistoire Europeenne,Vol. 16-17, Liege, 2000-2002. P. 215-230. 
  3. Khlopachev G.A. , Sablin M.V. The earliest Ice Age dogs: evidence from Eliseevichi 1 // Current Anthropology. Vol. 43/5. 2002. P. 795-798. 
  4. Rosentau, A., Muru, M., Kriiska, A., Subetto, D. A., Vassiljev, J., Hang, T., Gerasimov, D., Nordqvist, K., Ludikova, A., Lõugas, L., Raig, H., Kihno, K., Aunap, R. & Letyka, N. 2013: Stone Age settlement and Holocene shore displacement in the Narva-Luga Klint Bay area, eastern Gulf of Finland. Boreas. 10.1111/
  5. Saksa A., Belskiy S., Kurbatov A., Polyakova N., Suhonen M. New archaeological excavations in Viipuri. Results of field investigations of the 1998–2001 seasons and current research problems of urban history // Fennoscandia Archaeologica XIX. – Helsinki, 2002. – P. 37–64.
  6. Saksa A., Belsky S., Suhonen M. Kaupunkiarkeologiaa Viipurissa. Turun ja Viipurin kaupunkiarkeologien tapaaminen // Suomen Keskiajan Arkeologian Seura, 2. – Turku, 2002b. – P. 4–10.
  7. Seitsonen O., Nordquist K., Gerasimov D.V., Lisitsyn S.N. «The good, the bad, the weird»: Stone Age and Early Metal Period radiocarbon dates and chronology from the Karelian Isthmus, North-West Russia // Geochronometria. 2012, Volume 39, Number 2, pp. 101-121 
  8. Yuri E. Demidenko and Thorsten Uthmeier. With contributions by Gennadiy A. Khlopachevand Mikhail V. Sablin. Kiik-Koba Grotto, Crimea (Ukraine). Re-Analysis of a Key Site of the Crimean Micoquian// Kölner Studien zur Prähistorischen Archäologie (KSPA) № 3. Published for the Institute of Prehistory and early History of Cologne University, Cologne, 2013.


The archaeological depository of MAE is the oldest and one of the largest in Russia. It contains vast and unique materials related to prehistoric cultures of Eurasia and other continents and spanning the periods from the Lower Paleolithic (500 thousand years ago) to the Middle Ages (AD 1000–1200).

The first stage in the accumulation of the museum’s archaeological materials was rather long: from the establishment of the Kunstkamera (1714) to the emergence of MAE on the basis of its collections (1879). An important part during that period was played by the Imperial Russian Archaeological Society, the Imperial Russian Geographical Society as well as by L.I. Schrenk, P.V. Alabin and A.S. Uvarov, who donated their collections to MAE. The contribution made by Academician Karl von Baer was enormous.

The second stage in the accretion of archaeological collections spans the period between the foundation of MAE and the establishment of the Department of Archaeology within it (1879–94). The time was marked by the acquisition of antiquities from remote regions of Russia such as Siberia (I.T. Savenkov) and Sakhalin (I.S. Polyakov).

The third stage coincided with the turn of the century and the final pre-revolutionary years (1894–1917). During that time, the Department gained an organizational status within MAE and a goal-oriented enrichment of its collections went on.

The period between 1917 and 1970 was the most productive since the influx of archaeological finds from expeditions working all over the USSR was especially intense.

Today, the archaeological depositories of MAE contain over one thousand collections comprising nearly 600 thousand specimens.


Number of collections

Number of specimens













Bronze and Iron Ages



Stone Age materials are especially numerous. In terms of their abundance, the archaeological depository of the Kunstkamera ranks first among the museums of Russia and CIS, and one of the first among world museums.

Based on finds from many key sites, sections were opened such as Prehistory of Russia and CIS, Lower Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic. That of the Lower Paleolithic includes finds from Teshik-Tash, Sukhaya Mechetka and other sites in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Western Central Asia. The Upper Paleolithic section comprises collections from world-famous sites on the Russian Plain (Tel’manskaya, Kostenki-1, 2, 3, 4, 14, and 15, Gagarino, Eliseyevichi, and Yudinovo) and in Siberia (Afontova Gora, Mal’ta, and Kokorevo). These places have yielded numerous first-rate works of early art. Suffice it to mention an amazing series of female figurines, a large group of animal figurines made of ivory and chalk, ivory plates, and ivories decorated with geometric patterns and zoomorphous images. Importantly, the number of Upper Paleolithic female figurines made of ivory and chalk is ten. This is an impressive set, given that the total number of such specimens excavated in Russia is about sixty, and Western European museums own no more than a dozen similar images

Highly important collections come from Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in northwestern Russia and Siberia. One of the best known is Oleneostrovskii burial ground on Yuzhnyi Olenii Island, Lake Onega, the richest and the most unique among the synchronous sites in Northeastern Europe, one that contained the largest number of prehistoric works of art.

The department possesses materials from chronologically diverse sites of Tripolye – an original Chalcolithic culture (4000–2000 BC). Tripolye people were agriculturalists and animal breeders, and among the finds from their sites in the Dnestr basin (Luka-Vrublevetskaya, Rakovets, Kudrintsy, Darabani) are a beautiful pottery decorated with incised and painted patterns, and numerous anthropomorphous and zoomorphous clay figurines of Tripolye type.

The archaeological collections of the Kunstkamera were formed through the efforts of several generations of prominent Russian researchers such as I.S. Polyakov, I.T. Savenkov, K.S. Merezhkovskii, B.E. Petrie, P.P. Efimenko, G.A. Bonch-Osmolovskii, V.A. Gorodtsov, V.I. Ravdonikas, A.P. Okladnikov, V.N. Chernetsov, A.V. Schmidt, S.N. Zamyatnin, S.N. Bibikov, P.I. Boriskovskii, N.N. Gurina, A.N. Rogachev, V.V. Fedorov, etc.

The Department owns numerous documents and archives of photographs (more than 1,500 items).