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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2014 / No. 1

Zedgenidze A. A. Academic Travels of the End of the 18th and the Beginning of the 19th Centuries and the Study of Chersonesos Taurike

(Moscow University for the Humanities)

Abstract ♦ The article examines the stages of the study of the agricultural territory (chora) of Chersonesos Taurike (an ancient Greek colony located near the present-day Sevastopol), which are related to “academic travels” organized by the Russian Academy of Sciences in the second half of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries, namely to the studies of Peter Simon Pallas (1741–1811) and Frédéric Dubois de Montpéreux (1798–1850). The scientific significance of Chersonesos lies in the unique preservation of its chora: here the study can cover not only the city but also its chora, i.e. the ancient city-state in its integrity.

P. S. Pallas pointed to the good preservation of the ancient cultural landscape of the Heracleian Peninsula (the territory where the chora of Chersonesos was situated). He was the first to explain the linear masonry on the peninsula as stone fences of the fields (i.e. plots owned by Chersonesos citizens). He took notice of the remains of towers on the peninsula and called them fortifications defending the valleys. The scientist explored the Lighthouse Peninsula where the remains of the “ancient Chersonesos” mentioned by Strabo were located. This resulted in the discovery of fortifying structures on the isthmus of the Lighthouse Peninsula. On an island in the Cossack Bay, Pallas observed constructions, which were included in this fortification system.

The work by F. Dubois de Montpéreux is not a collection of separate observations of ancient remains, but a study approaching to their modern appreciation. He made the “Plan of the Heracleian Peninsula”, where he mapped the delimitation of the plots and, for the first time, showed the subdivision of these land allotments. The researcher was the first to describe the boundary walls on the peninsula and to separate the city from its adjacent territory (i.e. chora). He indicated the number of the plots that is close to those in modern investigations; he was the first to use the term “plot” and to propose the typology of farmhouses and towers of the Heracleian Peninsula. He also understood that the peninsula was used for viticulture.

The interpretation of the ancient monuments of the Heracleian Peninsula is a topical historical and archaeological problem. It requires a systematization of all scholarly sources related to the study of the chora of Chersonesos, including the early ones. The article demonstrates that the trends of modern studies of the agricultural structure of the polis of Chersonesos were to a considerable degree determined by P. S. Pallas and F. Dubois de Montpéreux, the scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Keywords: historiography of Chersonesos Taurike, polis, chora, ancient cultural landscape.

Zedgenidze Angelina Andreevna, Candidate of Science (history), associate professor of the Philosophy, Culturology and Politology Department of the Faculty of Philosophy, Culture and Art, Moscow University for the Humanities. Postal address: 5 Yunosti St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 111395. Tel.: +7 (499) 374-61-81. E-mail:


Citation: Zedgenidze, A. A. (2014) «Uchenye puteshestviia» kontsa XVIII ― nachala XIX v. i issledovanie Khersonesa Tavricheskogo [“Academic Travels” of the End of the 18th and the Beginning of the 19th Centuries and the Study of Chersonesos Taurike]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 205–213. (In Russ.).

Submission date: 8.12.2013.



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Zedgenidze, A. A. (2012b) Mitropolit Evgenii (Bolkhovitinov) i nachalo issledovaniia Khersonesa Tavricheskogo [Metropolitan Evgeny (Bolkhovitinov) and the Beginning of Study of Chersonesos Taurike]. In: Chelovek v mire religioznykh predstavlenii. XIV Mezhdunarodnaia konferentsiia po religii i religiovedeniiu [Human Being in the World of Religious Beliefs. The 14th Conference on Religion and Religion Studies] : scientific conference abstracts. Sevastopol', National Preserve of Chersonesos Taurike ; The Institute of Religious Studies at Jagiellonian University. 75 p. Pp. 28-29. (In Russ.).

Zedgenidze, A. A. (2014) O nachale issledovaniia Khersonesa Tavriche-skogo [On the Beginning of the Study of Chersonesos Taurike]. Vestnik drevnei istorii (forthcoming). (In Russ.).

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Pallas, P. S. (1999) Nabliudeniia, sdelannye vo vremia puteshestviia po iuzhnym namestnichestvam Russkogo gosudarstva v 1793–1794 godakh [Observations Made during the Travel in the Southern Provinces of the Russian State in 1793–1794]. Moscow, Nauka Publ. 246 p. (In Russ.).

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