Source Pravda.Ru

President Putin inspects archeological excavations - 17 July, 2004 - News

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended archeological excavations of an ancient fortress in Staraya Ladoga (Leningrad region).

Academician Anatoly Kirpichnikov, head of the archeological expedition, accompanied the President.

He spoke about the building dating back to 896, which was discovered during the excavations. According to the academician, some amber was found inside the building, so it might have been a jeweler's shop.

The President was also shown the finds made in 2003-2004 and dating back to the late 9th - early 10th centuries. Vladimir Putin was interested in an ancient spear. The spear with an unbroken shaft was found for the first time. Its length is 190 cm, said Anatoly Kirpichnikov.

After that, the President was presented with illustrated books about Staraya Ladoga and an archeological instrument. Other instruments used by the head of state will be kept until his next arrival.

It is unbelievable that all these things have been preserved for centuries, Mr. Putin said before the tea party.

"I must say that this is a very interesting and useful occupation. This is real history without any guess-work," he stressed. He recollected his recent conversation with academician Yanin, head of the archeology department of Lomonosov Moscow State University, in Veliky Novgorod. The latter told the President about birch-bark letters with records of court hearings, which had been found in Veliky Novgorod.

According to Anatoly Kirpichnikov, the excavations in Staraya Ladoga date back to the times when birch-bark letters did not exist, however, archeologists find special labels, which merchants used to mark their goods.

Property relations were endorsed in the 9th century, Russian President's economy advisor Andrei Illarionov said smiling.

The jeweler's shop shows what jewelry was popular in this area, Vladimir Putin said adding that it was available to both rich and middle-class people.

Speaking about the integration of Ladoga tribes, Mr. Kirpichnikov assumed that Finns and Scandinavians could have been among ancestors of the Russian leader. "This is possible. But I was born in the Tver region (200 km away from Moscow)," Vladimir Putin noted.

After the tea party, he asked Anatoly Kirpichnikov's opinion about the first Russian capital. According to the chronicles, Ladoga was the first residence of first Russian Prince Ryurik, who spent 2-3 years and launched his reforms here, the academician said.

Then the President was photographed with archeologists and headed to the tomb of Prince Oleg the Prophet on the bank of the Volkhov River. He enjoyed the wonderful view of the river and Staraya Ladoga.