(Old Riazan’), the remains of a fortified settlement, measuring 48 hectares in area, on the right bank of the Oka River near the city of Spassk, and the remains of the former capital (12th and 13th centuries) of the Riazan’ Principality.
Riazan’ was first mentioned in the chronicle for 1096; according to archaeological data, a Slavic settlement was established there in the tenth century. Before the Mongol conquests, Riazan’ Staraia was a major artisan and trade center of Ancient Rus’. In 1237 the city was overrun by the Mongol Tatars and gradually fell into decline.
In the mid-14th century Pereiaslavl’ Riazanskii, which is today the city of Riazan’, became the capital of the Riazan’ Principality. In the 16th century the territory of Riazan’ Staraia became depopulated.
The first archaeological excavations in Riazan’ Staraia were conducted in 1836. Major expeditions were undertaken by the State Historical Museum under the direction of V. A. Gorodtsov in 1926 and by the Institute of Archaelogy of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the direction of A. L. Mongait in 1945–50 and 1966–70. There were many discoveries, including the remains of aboveground log houses, semisubterranean dwellings, three stone churches, and artisan workshops, such as potteries, smithies, bone-carving workshops, and jewelry workshops.
A multitude of objects of material culture were found, including buried treasures, which provide a picture of the culture and everyday life of this old Russian city. A historical and archaeological preserve has been established in Riazan’ Staraia.
REFERENCESMongait, A. L. “Staraia Riazan’.” Moscow, 1955. (Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, no. 49.)
Mongait, A. L. Khudozhestvennye sokrovishcha Staroi Riazani. Moscow, 1967.
A. L. MONGAIT