The first university to teach marine archeology has appeared in Russia. The basic Department of Archeology of the Institute for the History of Material Culture (IHMC),RAS - with a specialization in marine archeology - opened at Sevastopol State University (SevSU). The corresponding agreement was signed between SevSU and IHMC RAS in St. Petersburg.
The issues of training archaeologists have recently become particularly relevant, resulting in an increased number of archaeological research throughout the country. The leadership of Sevastopol State University turned to the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences with a proposal to create a basic Department of Archeology in the university structure, and found a lively response.
“Training began in September, now formalities with papers have been completed. Our experts will read the entire basic course, but the main emphasis will be on marine archeology. This course will be given by scientists of the IHMC RAS, Candidates of Historical Sciences, Sergey Solovyov and Victor Vakhoneev, ” said Natalya Solovyova, deputy director of the IHMC RAS. “In September 2019, graduate students of SevSU together with our specialists took part in archaeological excavations of the institute archaeological expeditions.”
In 2020, as part of the first stage of the implementation of the master's program “Marine Archeology”, the IHMC RAS staff prepared and taught courses “Topical Problems of Marine Archeology”, “Antique Port”, “Computer Technologies in Archaeological Research”, “Planning and Organization of Marine Expeditions”, "Archeology of shipwrecks and flooded landscapes", and others.
“For Crimea and Sevastopol, the opening of a specialized basic Department of Archeology is a very important event. This region is full of archaeological sites of different eras and cultures. At the same time, the infrastructural renewal of the peninsula showed that there are not enough archaeologists who are involved in archaeological research before any construction work is carried out. The goal of the department is to fill this gap,” comments Viktor Vakhoneev, director of the Black Sea Center for Underwater Research. “Moreover, one of the first programs for the implementation of the department’s work is its active participation in the marine archeology master's program, initiated in 2018 at the university. This is a unique program for the whole of Russia and our task is to prepare a new generation of archaeologists with modern scientific knowledge and skills in using digital technologies.”
Now, undergraduates of the “History” program studying in the field of marine archeology will be able to practice at the IHMC RAS, get acquainted with the archaeological cultures of Eurasia, the Caucasus, the Middle and Near East, and the Northern Black Sea Region.
During the negotiations, the Director of IHMC RAS, Vladimir Lapshin, invited graduate students to take part in archaeological expeditions on the territory of the European part of Russia from the Kola Peninsula to the Caucasus, in Siberia and Tuva.
“It is still difficult to say what admission will be at the department,” says Natalya Solovyova. “So far we have stopped at the number 10-15 for the department, but the program is fashionable, which means that the number of graduates may be somewhat larger. Sevastopol is just the place where underwater archeology is supposed to be both geographically and historically.”
IHMC RAS will also assist with the employment of graduates of the Sevastopol State University.
“The most important thing is that the institute will participate in the formation of sponsored tuitions within the admission target numbers, that is, make an order at SevSU for training specialists in the field of archeology,” said Dmitry Yarygin, First Vice-Rector of Sevastopol State University.
According to scientists, marine archeology has an interdisciplinary nature. This is a synthesis of land and underwater archeology. A modern marine archaeologist should not only be a professional archaeologist, a submariner, possess the skills to work with new digital technologies.
The Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences is the direct descendant of the oldest state archaeological institution in Russia - the Imperial Archaeological Commission, formed in St. Petersburg in 1859. Scientific traditions in the field of archeology have been preserved here for almost two centuries, and scientific cooperation with the Crimea has lasted more than 150 years.