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13 Pages

Viking-Period Pre-Urban Settlements in Russia and Finds of Artefacts of Scandinavian Character

WithTamara Pushkina

Questions concerning the origins of the Old Russian towns have been a longstanding problem in Russian historical scholarship. Scholars have recently also turned their attention to Scandinavian antiquities found in territory of Old Russia. Scandinavian antiquities of Viking Period have been found at about 150 locations in Old Russia. The oldest Russian towns mentioned in Russian Primary Chronicle appeared and functioned in the same area on the banks of the rivers. The main contacts that Gnezdovo had were rather of long-distance character. It found its place in the network of early urban or pre-urban centres in Russia and the Baltic region. The advanced technology of multi-layered iron-welding is unkown in Smolensk — the more primitive technology of southern Russian smiths is dominant in that town from the 11th century onwards. The network of centres whose active life depended on the presence of the princely retinue and on participation in international trade was formed in Old Russia in the 10th century.