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Ancient RusThe Turki, Khazars, Bulgarians, Pojovsty, and Pereshcherpina TreasurePerm Animal StyleEastern European BarbariansBosporousNomads of the Sarmatians and Huns TimeThe Siberian collection fo Peter IEarly Nomads of the Altaic RegionThe ScythiansEarly FarmersKoban and Colchaian CulturesThe Eneolithic and Bronze AgesNeolithic ArtPalaeolithic ArtPalaeolithic Art

Staraya Ladoga, to the East of St Petersburg, was once a thriving medieval Russian city, with a fortress, flourishing monasteries and numerous churches once decorated with rich frescoes. The area has produced a vast range of items from the 8th to 10th centuries, which are of value not only from the scholarly point of view - they shed light on various periods in the development of this region - but are also fascinating to all those interested in the early history of the ancient state of Rus. The museum display includes personal adornments, articles of bone and metal, clothes, anthropomorphic figurines, primitive skis and leather footwear.

Some of the objects are of Scandinavian origin or locally produced items made after Scandinavian models. Imported goods include combs of the 8th to10th centuries, draughtsmen and glass necklaces, while the most typical examples of personal ornamentation were fibulae or clasps. Of exceptional interest is a 9th-century wooden rod with a runic inscription intended for exorcism.

A hoard with a set of blacksmith's tools tells us much about the production of metal items in the 8th century, and this group also included a bronze rod terminating in the head of a man with small birds' heads turned towards it. Bone carving, another major medieval craft, is mainly represented by pieces dating from the 10th century. As regards woodcarving, the earliest examples from the Ladoga complex date as far back as the 8th century, nearly two centuries earlier from those from any other source. Tools associated with the work of women - spinning and weaving wool and linen - are also on display, along with examples of silk and woollen textiles and linen, and footwear.

Towns, settlements, burial grounds and hoards provided the museum with its collection of artifacts representing the culture of Ancient Rus from the 10th to 12th centuries, the culture of the common people, princely families and warriors of Slavonic, Baltic, Scandinavian and Finnish tribes. Not only are there ordinary objects produced by urban craftsmen, but also an isolated group of artifacts of bronze, silver and gold, much executed by skillful jewellers.

Jewellery for the nobility has been found in numerous hoards uncovered at Gnezdovo, Shalakhovo, Nevel, Borshevo and other sites, such as the remarkable enamelled kolts (temple pendants) which formed part of Russian women's headwear. By this date, goldsmiths were already familiar with a wide range of techniques such as various types of casting, soldering, chasing, pricking and stamping, and they also decorated their works with granulation, filigree, gilding, niello and coloured enamels.

Crescent Pendant (Lunnitsa) and Ring Pendants
10th century
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10th century
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If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.

Russian Culture

Griffin Pendant
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Rod with a Terminal
8th century
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Male Figurine
10th century
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Zoomorphic Terminal
9th-10th centuries
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Ring Pendant (Kolt)
11th-12th centuries
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