Europeans in Moscow: Archaeological finds go on display

Europeans in Moscow: Archaeological finds go on display
An exhibition, Europeans in Moscow, is a showcase of artifacts of the European origin, part of which were found during recent street improvement projects.

On 22 September, an exhibition, Europeans in Moscow, opened at the Museum of Moscow. It is part of an exhibition called Tverskaya Street and Beyond which is dedicated to the finds discovered during the My Street street improvement project. About 30 rare artifacts from Western Europe are on display at the museum, including some from the museum’s collection and some found by archeologists just recently.

For example, during road upgrade works under the My Street project specialists found fragments of vessels, which they describe as “Rhenish stone goods” from the 17th−19th centuries that came from Germany. These are ceramic items made from a compact clay mixture which is as hard as stone, feldspar and silica. Other finds include a porcelain figurine, A Woman Holding a Child in Her Arms, dating back to the second half of the 19th century and a German ceramic garden lamp from the late 19th − early 20th centuries.

“The 19th century German garden lamp, which restorers haven’t laid their hands on yet, is decorated with relief figurines of Europeans in medieval costumes, who are reading, making merry and playing music,” Museum of Moscow staff explained.

Artifacts found at Kitai-Gorod in the 1990s are also on display. According to the Moscow Museum staff, one of the most valuable items is a 17th century glass ornamented shtoff (a large glass or a bowl – mos.ru) in the style of Venetian filigree. It is amazingly well preserved. Also exhibited are a signal brass horn bearing a Gothic inscription (Germany, 18th−19th centuries), merchants’ lead stamps (Western Europe, 17th−19th centuries) and a large bottle with the word Balsam on the bottle’s marking (Germany, 19th century).

Finds related to the life of foreigners in Moscow are also on display at Tverskaya Street and Beyond. “Those are Dutch tobacco pipes, vessels used for different purposes with foreign inscriptions on them, fashionable clasps, which appeared on Muscovites’ European style headwear and footwear in the 18th century. German-language gravestones from Mytnaya Street dating from the 17th century were made in keeping with the traditions of Europeans who lived in Moscow at the time,” we were told at the Museum of Moscow.

Some of the European artifacts collected under the My Street project have proved to be imitations of Western items. For example, archaeologists found the bottleneck of a glass bowl marked London, which appeared to be a 19th century fake from Poland.

The exhibition will run until 16 October. Admission: 100 roubles; concession price: 50 roubles. The exhibition, as well as the Moscow Museum’s permanent exhibition are open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am until 8 pm; and on Thursdays from 11 am until 9 pm.

For online photographs of the most valuable artifacts found during street improvement projects, visit the Open Data website.