Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Institute of Archeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Інститут археології Національної академії наук України; Instytut arkheolohii Natsionalnoi akademii nauk Ukrainy). A scientific research institute established in 1938 in Kyiv as the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. Its forerunners include the Kyiv Archeological Institute (1917–24), founded as a private educational institution, the All-Ukrainian Archeological Committee (VUAK, 1922–32), and the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR (1934–8). The institute co-ordinates all written and field research in archeology and ancient history in Ukraine.

Among the pioneers of archeology as an academic discipline in post-revolutionary Ukraine was the eminent archaeologist and art historian Mykola Biliashivsky, the first head of the Archeology of Ukraine and Auxiliary Sciences Department (est. 1918) at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and a chief member of the All-Ukrainian Archeological Committee since 1922. Among VUAK’s main goals was to protect Ukrainian cultural heritage and to supervise archeological excavations and sites across Ukraine—from the Paleolithic Period to the Princely era of the late Middle Ages. Of particular importance was the comprehensive archeological expedition headed by Dmytro Yavornytsky to the Dnipro Rapids region and the 90-kilometer area between the cities of Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia to be flooded during the construction of the Dnipro Hydroelectric Station (1927–32). Among other notable activities of the committee in the 1920s became the restoration of Saint Sophia Cathedral and the large-scale excavations of the Trypillia culture (with the resulting publication of Trypil's'ka kul'tura na Ukraїni [The Tripilian Culture in Ukraine] in 1926). During this period VUAK published several high-quality periodicals and publications, among them Korotke zvidomlennia VUAK (2 vols, 1926–7), Khronika arkheolohiї ta mystetstva (3 vols, 1930–1), and Zapysky Vseukraїns'koho arkheolohichnoho komitetu (vol 1, 1930).

In 1933, with the rise of Stalinist terror, VUAK, together with several other research institutions and museums, formed the Section of the History of Material Culture of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (VUAN), which was more in line with the ideology of historical materialism that emphasized ‘material production’ and ‘class formations.’ Several noted archaeologists, among them Fedir Ernst, were removed from their academic jobs. Academic freedom, budgets, and staff were further reduced in the newly formed Institute of the History of Material Culture (IIMK) of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, which coordinated archeological research in Ukraine between 1934 and 1938. Archeology suffered heavily during Stalinist purges, which culminated in the arrests and executions of the IIMK’s prominent members, including Fedir Kozubovsky (the institute’s director), Mykola O. Makarenko, Teodosii Molchanivsky, Sylvestr Mahura, and Kyrylo Korshak, among others. In 1938 out of 41 initial staff members, merely 17 continued to work at IIMK. In 1938 IIMK was reorganized into the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, which in 1940 employed 66 academic and technical staff. The most important expeditions organized or supervised by the institute during the 1940s included the excavations of Paleolithic sites on the Desna River; Trypillia culture settlements; kurhans near Nikopol; Pontic Olbia; and the site of the Church of the Tithes in Kyiv. In the 1940s scholars of the institute published several popular science books, among them Liudyna kam’ianoho viku na Ukraїni (The Stone Age Man in Ukraine, 1941), Tatiana Passek’s Trypil's'ka kul'tura na Ukraїni (The Trypillia Culture in Ukraine, 1941), and B. Hrakov’s Skify (Scythians, 1947).

In 1940 the Lviv branch was added (Yaroslav Pasternak was its leading associate). During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine the institute, including its valuable archive, was evacuated to Ufa in the RSFSR. A number of archeologists remained in Nazi-occupied Kyiv and worked at the Archeological Institute of the restored All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In 1944 the institute returned to Kyiv and in the late 1940s it employed 38 scholars (excluding the Lviv branch). Between 1945 and 1954 the institute was headed by the world-famous archeologist Petro P. Yefymenko, the author of the widely acclaimed study of the primitive society Pervobytnoe obshchestvo (1953). He also headed the expedition titled Great Kyiv (1947–55), which, in addition to exploring the sites in old Kyiv (Podil, Saint Sophia Cathedral, the Starokyivska Hill), excavated ancient settlements associated with the Zarubyntsi culture near Pereiaslav. A few periodicals began to appear in the late 1940s and early 1950s, among them yearbook Arkheolohiia (1st series, 24 vols, 1947–70; 2nd series, 60 vols, 1971–89), series Arkheolohichni pam’iatky URSR (13 vols, 1948–63), and Kratkie soobshcheniia Instituta arkheologii AN USSR (12 issues, 1952–62).

In the 1950s the institute added new branches: Olbia open-air museum near Parutyne, Ochakiv raion, Mykolaiv oblast (1952); Kamiana Mohyla archaeological preserve near Terpinnia, Melitopol raion, Zaporizhia oblast (1954); and the department of ancient and medieval archeology of the Crimea (1956). Among the leading scholars of the institute in the 1950s and 1960s were Serhii Bibikov, Mykhailo Rudynsky, and Ivan Shovkoplias. During this period the institute also launched the careers of many promising archeologists, among them Petro Tolochko, Iryna Sharafutdinova, Vasyl Bidzilia, Yevhen Chernenko, Olena Tsvek, Mykhailo Kuchera, Serhii Kryzhytsky, Iuliia Kozub, Iurii Kolosov, Mykola Shmahlii, and Mykhailo Hladkykh. During the 1960s, in the wake of the building of large water reservoirs and irrigation systems in Southern Ukraine, the extensive territory in the steppe became a site of several permanent expeditions, including the Kakhovka expedition, the Mykolaiv (Inhul) along the Inhul River and Boh River, and the Northern Rohachyk expedition in the Rohachyk River basin. The sites excavated there included hundreds of kurhans and settlements dating from the Copper Age to the late Medieval period. The institute published a new serial Arkheologicheskie issledovaniia na Ukraine (4 issues, 1967–72). A history of archeological research in Ukraine after 1917 was traced in two monographs by Ivan Shovkoplias: Arkheolohichni doslidzhennia na Ukraїni (1917–1957) (Archeological Studies in Ukraine, 1917–57, 1957) and Rozvytok radians'koї arkheolohiї na Ukraїni (1917–1966) (The Development of Soviet Archeology in Ukraine, 1917–66, 1969).

In the early 1970s several more permanent expeditions were added: the study of Kyiv’s archeology (1970), Kherson and Zaporizhia (both in 1971), and the study of the system of medieval earthworks on the middle Dnipro River, the so-called Serpent’s Wall (1974). During the 1970s and 1980s the institute maintained the most wide-reaching research agenda in its history, ranging from the Paleolithic site at Korolevo (the Korolevo archeological site) in Transcarpathia, to the sites of classical antiquity (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast) in the Crimea and the Scythian and Sarmatian kurhans in Southern Ukraine, to the early Slavic settlements in the middle Dnipro River region, and the old Kyiv. The descriptions of many of these findings were published in Arkheolohiia Ukraїns’koї RSR (The Archeology of the Ukrainian SSR, 3 vols, 1971–5), in its revised Russian-language edition Arkheologiia Ukrainskoi SSR (3 vols, 1985–6), and in Istoriia Ukraїns'koї RSR (History of the Ukrainian SSR, book 1, vol 1, 1977). Other notable publications by the institute’s scholars in those years include Volodymyr Baran’s Ranni slov’iany mizh Dniprom ta Pryp’iattiu (Early Slavs between the Dnipro and Prypiat Rivers, 1972), Dmytro Telehin’s Seredn'ostohivs'ka kul'tura epokhy midi (The Serednii Stih culture of the Copper Age, 1973) and Mezolitychni pam’iatky Ukraїny (IX–VI tys. do n.e.) (Mesolithic Artefacts in Ukraine: Nineth to Sixth Millenia B.C., 1982), and the collective publications Starodavnii Kyiv (The Ancient Kyiv, 1975), Arkheolohiia Kyieva (The Archeology of Kyiv, 1979), and Novoe v arkheologii Kieva (New Discoveries in the Archeology of Kyiv, 1981). However, due to the wave of political repressions that swept Ukraine’s academic and cultural institutions in the early 1970s, several groundbreaking publication projects initiated by the institute’s scholars were interrupted and cancelled, such as Seredni viky na Ukraїni (The Middle Ages in Ukraine, 2 vols, 1971–2) and Kyїvs’ka starovyna (Kyiv Antiquity, vol 1, 1972). In 1984 a book documenting the history of the institute was published in Kyiv. In the mid-1980s the institute had a staff of 140 scholars (including two corresponding members of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR) and more than 100 auxiliary personnel—the largest number of staff in the institute’s history.

Between 1987 and 2017 the institute was headed by Petro Tolochko, a renowned expert in the archeology of ancient Kyiv. In 1996 the institute acquired its current structure, and in 2001 it assumed its present name. Since the 1990s, due to severe cuts in state funding, archeological excavations in Ukraine have been financed almost exclusively by real estate developers, whose sites need to undergo archeological examinations before construction can begin, and by international research institutions. Currently the institute has a staff of 120 scholars, including one academician, four corresponding members of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU), 22 doctors of sciences and 83 candidates of sciences, who comprise more than 70 percent of all of Ukraine’s archeologists with scholarly degrees. Since 2017 the institute has been headed by a corresponding member of NANU Viktor Chabai, a specialist on the Stone Age archeology of the Crimea, while Petro Tolochko holds the title of honorary director.

As of 2020 the institute consists of twelve departments: the Stone Age archeology; the Copper Age and the Bronze Age archeology; the early Iron Age archeology; the ancient or classical archeology; the archeology of the early Slavs; the archeology of Kyivan Rus’ and the Middle Ages; the archeology of Kyiv; the archeology of the Crimea and the northwestern Black Sea region; bioarcheology; field research committee; research holdings; and archeological museum. The institute continues to supervise the Olbia historical preserve in Ochakiv raion, Mykolaiv oblast—the site of a Hellenic city-state (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast). Until the Russian occupation of the Crimea in 2014 the institute also operated a local Crimean branch that specialized in various periods of local history ranging from the Paleolithic Period and Bronze Age to Scythian and Sarmatian archeology as well as Greco-Roman and Genoese settlements. Following the Russian occupation of the peninsula, some staff members of the Crimean branch, including Viktor Chabai, relocated to Kyiv.

Since the early 1990s the leading scholars of the institute have studied a wide range of topics, such as the Paleolithic Period in Ukraine (Leonid Zalizniak, Viktor Chabai, Serhii Ryzhov, Oleksandra Krotova), Trypillia culture and Pit-Grave culture (Oleksii Korvin-Piotrovsky, Dmytro Telehin, Natalia Burdo, Yurii Rassamakin), Scythian and Sarmatian artefacts (Viacheslav Murzin, Serhii Skory), Greco-Roman ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast and the Crimea (Serhii Kryzhytsky, Anna Rusiaieva, Vitalii Zubar), the early Slavs (Volodymyr Baran, Liubov Skyba, Denys Kozak, Rostyslav Terpylovsky), and Kyivan Rus’ and medieval Ukraine (Mykhailo Braichevsky, Petro Tolochko, Hlib Ivakin, Oleksandr Motsia, Serhii Vysotsky, Mykhailo Sahaidak, Volodymyr Zotsenko, Heorhii Kozubovsky). In 1991 the institute began to publish a yearbook Arkheolohichni doslidzhennia v Ukraїni.

Among the institute’s most notable publications that appeared after 1991 are: Petro Tolochko, Drevniaia Rus' (Old Rus’, 1992); Mykhailo Braichevsky, Konspekt istoriї Ukraїny (A Sketch of the History of Ukraine, 1993); Oleksandr Motsia, Naselennia pivdenno-rus'kykh zemel' IX–XIII st. (za materialamy nekropoliv) (The Population of Southern Rus' Lands in the Nineth to Twelfth Centuries According to the Artefacts from Necropolises, 1993); Hlib Ivakin, Istorychnyi rozvytok Kyieva XIII–seredyny XVI st. (istoryko-topohrafichni narysy) (A Historical Development of Kyiv from the Thirteenth to the middle of the Sixteenth Centuries: Historical and Topographical Essays, 1996); Leonid Zalizniak, Peredistoriia Ukraїny, X–V tys. do n. e. (A Prehistory of Ukraine, Tenth to Fifth Millennia B.C., 1998); and a few collective monographs, among them Slavianie Iugo-Vostochnoi Evropy (The Slavs of South-Eastern Europe, 1991); Davnia istoriia Ukraїny (The Old History of Ukraine, 3 vols, 1997–2000); Etnichna istoriia davnioї Ukraїny (The Ethnic History of Old Ukraine, 2002); Ion Vinokur and Dmytro Telehin, Arkheolohiia Ukraїny (The Archeology of Ukraine, 2008); Cherniakhivs'ka kul'tura (The Cherniakhiv culture, 2016); Kul'turnyi shar. Statti na poshanu Hliba Iur'evycha Ivakina (Cultural Layers: Articles in Honor of Hlib Iur'evych Ivakin, 2017). The institute’s main periodical is Arkheolohiia (a new quarterly series established in 1989), a successor to the previous publications under the same name. More recent periodicals include Arkheolohiia і davnia istoriia Ukraїny (2009–, 33 volumes to date) and the yearbook Kam’iana doba Ukraїny (2002–17, 18 volumes, since 2017 a quarterly).

Tolochko, P. ‘Instytutu arkheolohii NAN Ukraïny – 80 rokiv,’ Arkheolohiia, 4 (1990)
———. ‘Instytut arkheolohiї NAN Ukraїny,’ Entsyklopediia istoriї Ukraїny, vol. 3 (Kyiv 2005)
Instytut arkheolohiї Natsional'nої akademії nauk Ukraїny. 1918–2014 (Kyiv 2015)
The Institute’s official website:

Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was updated in 2020.]

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