Moscow’s My Street renovation programme has helped Moscow archaeologists find dozens of objects that used to belong to Muscovites as well as elements of the city’s former infrastructure. The artefacts are deemed to be between 100 and 500 years old, and were all discovered on the Boulevard Ring while workers were digging trenches for the construction project.
“Amongst the discoveries on the Boulevard Ring are both elements of the city’s former infrastructure such as drainage systems, tram lines, and minor utility parts or objects in common use,” Head of Moscow’s Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov said.
On Strastnoi Boulevard, archaeologists found fragments of the 18th century wooden pavement. These are lateral beams or sleepers which were laid in the foundation of the wooden pavements.
On Petrovsky Boulevard, a dozen copper coins were unearthed. According to archaeologists, the treasure is similar to the one discovered in Voznesensky Pereulok last year. The coins must have been in a wallet or a bag which didn’t survive. The amount is small.
“Most likely, the money was hidden as petty cash by someone. Copper coins like this were in circulation during the reigns of Catherine the Great and Paul I,” Yemelyanov said.
On Pokrovsky Boulevard, archaeologists found fragments of two tombstones which are deemed to be 500 years old. Interestingly, these are two white nameless headstones from the 16th century. Only one of them bears an image which is likely the cross on Calvary Hill.
“This doesn’t mean that the stones were always nameless. The names must have been painted on and could have faded away over time. A tombstone with a painted name was found earlier in Chernigovsky Pereulok during the Church of St Michael and Theodore of Chernigov project,” Alexei Yemelyanov added.
Amongst the city’s historical infrastructure elements were brick sewage collectors on Gogolevsky Boulevard dating back to the 18th century while on Nikitsky Boulevard were found elements of wooden drainage system from the 17th-18th centuries. On Yauzsky Boulevard, archaeologists excavated cobblestones from the early 20th century as well as tram lines on Chistoprudny Boulevard with timber sleepers from the same period.
The archaeologists also found a number of minor objects for everyday use, fragments of utensils, shoes and clothes, probably a few centuries old. Among the artefacts were the following:
— a mouth harp;
— a flint and steel from the 16th-17th centuries;
— clay smoking pipes from the 18th century.
The finds included metal buttons, shoe taps and fragments of leather shoes, trade seals, lead bullets, baptismal crosses, furnace tiles, and fragments of ceramic, glass, and porcelain utensils. Most of the pieces date to the 16th-19th centuries.
Alexei Yemelyanov estimates that about 5,000 to 6,000 artefacts and large archaeological objects are excavated each archaeological season. Last year, another thousand artefacts was discovered during the My Street programme. Yemelyanov is sure that the new season will provide archaeologists with more treasures from the past.
It is worth mentioning that these are not the first items unearthed by archaeologists while monitoring the My Street programme. On Novaya Square, more than 150 artefacts were discovered including a listening room in a survived fragment of the Kitai-Gorod wall.