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scientific journal

Russian Museum of Ethnography

number 2 (8), 2015

A.A. Miller and His Contribution to the Development of Russian Archaeology

2 (8)
ethnography, archaeology, ancient cultures, kurgan, methods of excavation, burial site, burial, settlement, North Caucasus, North Caucasian expedition, Russian Academy of Material Culture, State Academy of Material Culture, Ethnography Department of the Russian Museum


The article is dedicated to the famous researcher of traditional and ancient cultures of the Caucasus and the south of Russia, Alexander Alexandrovich Miller (1875–1935), a longstanding member of the Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum (1908–1933) and the Russian/State Academy of History of Material  Culture (1919–1933). A.A. Miller is known for his pre-revolutionary excavations of medieval burial mounds near Taganrog (1902–1906), and the study of Iron Age monuments in the reaches of the lower Don (1908–1914) – of the Yelizavetovskoye hillfort and the adjacent burial mound. The main result of the archaeological research conducted by A.A. Miller before 1917 consisted in his mastering of the techniques of excavation of different types of ancient monuments. In 1923 he became head of the North Caucasian expedition of the Russian/State Academy of Material Culture, which he ran until 1933. The works by A.A. Miller of this period resulted in the  identification of the cultural and chronological periodization of antiquities of the southern Russian steppes and the North Caucasus from the Eneolithic to the Middle Ages. These studies became a major milestone in the archaeological study of the Caucasus. Part of the materials of the North Caucasus expedition was published in 1941 by the students of the archaeologist after his death (1935) in Kazakhstan, where he had been sentenced to exile (1934). In 1956 A.A. Miller was posthumously  rehabilitated. Decades after his untimely death, it can be said that his pioneering work has assured him a high position in the Russian humanitarian science.

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