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Conference in memory of Mikhail Griaznov


On 7 November 2022, the Hermitage Theatre became the venue for the opening and plenary session of an international conference on “Eurasia between the Aeneolithic and the Early Middle Ages”.

The conference, organized by the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for the History of Material Culture and the State Hermitage, was dedicated to the memory of an outstanding researcher into the antiquities of Southern Siberia and Central Asia – Mikhail Petrovich Griaznov (1902–1984) –  and timed to mark the 120th anniversary of his birth.

Opening the conference, Georgy Vadimovich Vilinbakhov, Deputy General Director of the State Hermitage for Research, stated that 60 years of Mikhail Petrovich life and work was associated with the Hermitage. His field of study – the archaeology of Siberia – is one of the most important directions for Hermitage archaeology, and the collections of ancient artefacts from Pazyryk and Arzhan are the pride of our museum. Hermitage archaeologists conducting excavations in Siberia are successfully continuing Mikhail Petrovich’s traditions, while the archaeological expedition investigating the antiquities of the Altai region is a tribute to his memory.

Mikhail Petrovich participated in many notable events in the history of the Hermitage. In 1941, he was involved in the packing of the collections for evacuation to Sverdlovsk. He was in that Urals city during the Great Patriotic War and engaged in active research work there. That very important chapter in the history of the museum has its continuation in the remarkable Hermitage–Ural exhibition centre located in the very same building where the Hermitage curators worked.

Andrei Vladimirovich Poliakov, the Director of the Institute for the History of Material Culture, spoke about the unique breadth of Mikhail Griaznov’s interests and the fact that he in particular laid the foundations of not only Siberian, but also Eurasian archaeology.

Contributions in the plenary session included a presentation by Hermitage archaeologists Konstantin Vladimirovich Chugunov and Natalia Alexandrovna Sutiagina about the finds made by the Hermitage’s Southern Siberian Expedition in the 2022 season at the Chinge-Tei 1 burial complex in Tuva and a preliminary comparison of that with the earlier finds from the Arzhan-2 complex.

The Hermitage also hosted a session of the conference section devoted to Mikhail Griaznov’s scholarly legacy and the current development of archaeology.

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