Tara (Russie) : 400-year-old roast turnip dinner unearthed


Inside glassPieces of glassware, which was made by Venetian technology somewhere in Germany or the modern Czech Republic. Picture: Sergey Tataurov

But it is one of many intriguing finds, with more expected, said Professor Chernaya,  head of the Laboratory of archaeological and ethnographical research in Western Siberia at Tomsk State University.

'Among other interesting finds are pieces of glassware, which was made by Venetian technology somewhere in Germany or the modern Czech Republic, and then exported to Russia. 

'This shows that Tara was not some remote province. Tara was a military town, and for a long time it was standing on the border with steppe, protecting the territories occupied by Russians.

Inside valletInside pot in birch barkLeather wallet. Clay pot wrapped in the birch bark. Pictures: Maria Chernaya

'That is why the largest part of the population of the city was military people. Of course they also had households, were involved in agriculture, crafts, hunting and trading.'The development of Tara was earlier than any modern Siberian city. 

'Their households were very strong,' she said. 'Judging by the finds, they had quite good houses. They (possessed) expensive imported things. The common economic level in the city was higher than in most central Russian towns.'

The people here were not serfs, she said

Inside stocksRemains of women's knitted stockings. Picture: Sergey Tataurov

'The percentage of exiles was not higher than 10, so we cannot say that the main part of Russians in Siberia were criminals,' according to her.

'Besides, many of the exiles were not criminals actually. They were political exiles, educated people, many of them also remained in Siberia. Russians came not to conquer Siberia, they came to develop it and stay here forever.

'This summer we uncovered a log construction. We suppose that these were the fortifications - a wall and tower. We will continue the research and if we are right we can finally make the plan of (old Tara) city and tie it to the area.' 

She said: 'These are pioneering works for city archaeology in Siberia. 

'The scale of excavations is very big. The thickness of the cultural layer is 3 - 4 metres and it is very rich in finds (which) belong to the 16th to 18th centuries. It looks like a huge puzzle of Siberian city life at this time, which we have just started to gather.' 

The laboratory of archaeological and ethnographical research in Western Siberia joins scientists from Tomsk State University, Omsk State University, and the Omsk department of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (headed by Dr Sergey Tataurov). 

Inside tara by remezovFirst map of Tara made by Semyon Remezov and published in 1700. Picture: Chronologia.org