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One day of expedition. Looking from the outside

High left bank of the Dniester estuary, Ovidiopol`s margin. Steppe, sun, stuffiness, somewhere in the south-west, above the sea grumbles storm. We are in the camp in Lower Dniester archaeological expedition.

Camp is like candy. Important put to the reinforcement cages tents kitchen staff and warehouse-cameralka. And behind them toe the line stretched two rows of small residential tents. Yellow wheel barrel filled with pure artesian water, brought her here every three days. And nearby - the dream of any expedition - two showers. By the middle of a sunny day the water gets hot. Well, in the rainy days - not to the shower.
Purity... For any abandoned cigarette butt at the campsite, commandant Shura, nicknamed "SGrandfather", will tears off ears".

Now it reminds that terrible night on May 30, when the wind bent metal rods carcasses in knots and scraps of residential tents scattered across the steppe like birds and dived into the estuary. No one paid attention though: men singing and hanging with mats on the floors of staff of tents to save from the hurricane products and all expeditionary equipment which is not cheap.

"The night was - like the Tatar-Mongols swooped down" - guys remember. But we must be honest: the Mongols paid. A few days later on the excavation was found Mongolian coin. Not the Golden Horde, not the Crimean, but Mongolian. At those times when the heirs Changishan and Batu were still pagan, they believed in the good and punishing strength of Heaven force (on the night of the hurricane expedition believed in this force). It was in the XIII century and on the coins was depicted the heavenly god Tengri, although the picture is very similar to the image of the "smiling sun", which each of us drew as a child.

But we are not exploring XIII century in the expedition. Says the research director, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Igor Sapozhnikov, "At the end of XVIII century, it was the border of the Russian and Turkish empires. On the other bank of the estuary was Ackerman, a mighty fortress with many thousands of Turkish garrison. Of course, to leave your bank vulnerable to Russian was like leaving stomach wide open in front of the enemy with knife. So then there was built four border fortresses: Kinburn, The extreme (Tiraspol) Hadzibeevsky - our favorite place in Odessa. And one here, in Ovidiopol, which was then called Adzhider. "Familiar faces" took part in the creation of the fortress - Potemkin, Suvorov, De Ribas, De Wolan

Notice anything out there where indicated Sapozhnikov, was difficult, but possible. Therefore, the question came by itself: " If you can see everything, why dig?"..

«We want to know the internal structure of the fortifications. We know two plans of Ovidiopil fortress: De Wolan`s and one from 1796. They are different from each other. Determine the authenticity of the plans is one of the main tasks of the expedition».

We have lots of tasks, because it is a very unusual expedition. It is also called a "project of archaeological tourism in the Odessa region". The idea belongs to Leonid Ignatiev, a chairman of the public organization the Center of Military History «Memory and Glory». He wants not only to dig a fortress, but to restore it. At first glance, it is not particularly difficult. The ground that is taken out of the land can be used to restore the excavation perimeter shafts, compacted and matted them to form a parapet and even put a copy of the re-created replicas of guns on the bastions. And by that time we will know the structure of the fortress: where barracks, where the armory (warehouse) and where the guardhouse were. Restoring these buildings is not difficult, we have lots of samples.... But the result is a holistic architectural and historical museum complex at the open air. In Europe it is called "Skansen", an open-air museum, which is really popular.

And with what to fill a museum  is certainly not a problem. The bullet core, Russian and Tatar coins, belt buckles are already out of the excavation. And although we "removed" only the first shovel, there is already a big yellow tent near the excavation. This field exposure, is working by the next principle" in the land in the morning, in the evening - under museum glass."
Who will do all this? And here Ignatiev has an idea: he wants to create something like, "an archaeological field school practice." This is when during a short special tour, everyone can learn the "basics of archaeological works": how to work on the dig with a shovel, a knife, a brush, a metal detector. "And will it lead to something - I asked incredulously, - What else can you do? '. Then Ignatieff told his idea.
Lectures on the archeology of the region and the method of field studies, lectures on "survival school" in concrete terms: prairie, swamp, sea shore excursions to archaeological sites and monuments of the region's iconic, practical training with the devices - from leveling up magnetometers classes in office processing and museification artifacts, archaeological expedition organization of everyday life - that's something that can give such a "school of archaeological practice..

Hopefully we will accomplish at least part of his plan. While the best – is to accomplish everything. And for now the expedition keeps fingers crossed and spits over their left shoulder. The point has moved. The equipment is there, tourists are interested, tents leak and even the authorities help. The mayor, of Ovidiopol - Valentina Homenyuk – is like a good angel of the expedition. A barrel of artesian water - is her notion and her care. And everyone who has even once turned his land in the scorching sun, he knows - what it is the purest cup of water after excavation. And what is the shower in these terms – not everyone can imagine.

The other day, the chairman of the Odessa Regional Council Nikolai Pundyk, visited the camp. He knows a lot about the practice field, "old archaeological wolf." When he was a student he organized an expedition to his "alma mater", Kiev Pedagogical Institute. And not only there. He even (in the 80s) farmed in one of the expeditions on the Volga, which was commanded by the "chief archaeologist of all the USSR" Academician Boris Rybakov. Boris even then wrote letters of thanks, in Kiev, to the dean of the history department. 
Pundyk inspected equipment expedition, not without respect, looked skeptically on food supplies, chuckled and reached into the trunk of the car. Took out a bag of huge tomatoes : "with what I can help '. And the left, leaving the expedition heads in thought: should not we invite a speaker of regional elective "Organization of food stocks expedition" in the school of archaeological knowledge? You can ask the question: is not this it too boring of a topic- Russian earthen fortress for such a major project as an archaeological tourism? But, first, with the correct formulation of the problem it is not so boring. And, secondly, there is always a chance or at least, hope. Odessa land, rich in archaeological surprises: here lived Tripoltsy and Greeks, Scythians and Roxolans, the Genoese and the Turks, Tatars, Moldovans.

Before the Russian army, at the territory of the Ovidiopol, there was an ancient Greek settlement. Now it is mainly "a thing of the estuary," but something still remains. So when scanning areas for future excavation, it was found an ancient Greek bronze coin. We looked closer - Syracuse obol of King Hiero II (275-215 years. BCE). Very interesting sensation: to sit on the bank of the Dnestr estuary (from the point of view of the residents of Syracuse, in Sicily, it's "out there on the edge of the world") and toss in the palm of a coin minted by order of the patron saint of the great Archimedes. Remember, "a body immersed in a fluid loses much of its weight as it weighs the displaced fluid." This law , the great Greek opened at a time when examined crown of  Hieron II.

That's how we got a chance to meet with Big Science on the banks of the estuary, near Ovidiopol. Where the prairie sun, stifling heat and the distance, in the south-west, above the sea storm grumbles...

Sergey Sudnik

 

 

Notice anything out there where indicated Sapozhnikov, was difficult, but possible. Therefore, the question came by itself: " If you can see everything, why dig?".
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