Archaeological Societies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Archaeological Societies


scientific public organizations whose goal is to study and preserve the remains of material culture. They were first founded in the 16th century in England and Italy, but became especially widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of them have become important research organizations which systematically carry out excavations, restore and preserve ancient monuments, and publish the results of their work in special publications.

Prerevolutionary Russia and the USSR. In 1804 the Moscow Society of History and Antiquities was founded in Russia. Subsequently, archaeological societies sprang up in the Baltic region, where public organizations for the study of local history appeared in some cities and began to conduct excavations. The oldest such organization was the Courland Society of Literature and Art, founded in the city of Mitavia in 1817. In the 1870’s, the society also undertook archaeological research and published reports of its meetings, Sitzungsberichte, from 1850 to 1937. In 1834 the Society for the History and Antiquities of Russia’s Baltic Provinces was founded in Riga. It published Sitzungsberichte (beginning in 1873–74) in addition to Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiete der Geschichte Liv-, Ehstund Kurlands (1836–1910). In 1838 the Learned Estonian Society was founded in Dorpat (Tartu). The society was partly engaged in archaeology and published Sitzungsberichte from 1861 to 1938 and Ver-handlungen from 1840. In 1861 the Narva Society of Antiquities, which published Sitzungsberichte between 1864 and 1868, was founded. In 1839 the Odessa Society of History and Antiquities, which became very active in archaeological studies of the northwest Black Sea region, was founded in Odessa. An archaeological museum attached to the society was founded in 1846 and publication of Zapiski was begun (vols. 1–33, 1844–1919). In 1846, on the initiative of B. V. Kene, the Russian Archaeological Society was created in St. Petersburg. It consisted of three sections which in the 1880’s were formed into three departments: Slavic and Russian archaeology; classical, Byzantine, and Western European archaeology; and Eastern archaeology. Later (officially in 1905), a numismatic department was formed. The society’s first publications were Mémoires (vols. 1–6, 1847–52) and Zapiski (vols. 1–14, 1849–65), and later Izvestiia (vols. 1–10, 1859–84). Zapiski resumed publication in 1886; the new series continued until 1902 (vols. 1–12). The Moscow Archaeological Society was founded in 1864. Its periodic publications were Drevnosti (vols. 1–25, 1865–1916) and Arkheologicheskie isvestiia i zametki (vols. 1–7, 1893–99/1900). The society also published Materialy po arkheologii Kavkaza (Materials on the Archaeology of the Caucasus; vols. 1–14, 1888–1916) and Materialy po arkheologii vostochnykh gubernii Rossii (Materials on the Archaeology of Russia’s Eastern Provinces; vols 1–3, 1893–99). The society organized all-Russian archaeological conferences. In 1873 in Tiflis, the Society of Amateurs of Caucasian Archaeology was created; it conducted excavations and preserved ancient monuments of the Caucasus. Existing until 1881, the society published Zapiski (1875) and Izvestiia (1877). In 1901 the Caucasus branch of the Moscow Archaeological Society was opened in Tiflis; it published Izvestiia from 1904 to 1921 (vols. 1–6). The Society for Archaeology, History, and Ethnology was established at the University of Kazan in 1878; it was primarily involved in the study of antiquities of the Volga region and of ancient settlements along the banks of the Kama and Viatka rivers. The society published Izvestiia (vols. 1–36, 1878–1916, 1919/20–29, 1963). The Pskov Archaeological Society, founded in 1880, carried out excavations in the Pskov region and worked to preserve monuments of antiquity. It published Trudy (vols. 1–12, 1902–16). The Novgorod Society for Amateurs of Antiquity, which arose in 1894, studied ancient monuments of the Novgorod Province and from 1908 through 1928 published Sborniki (vols. 1–9). The Tversk Society for Amateurs of History, Archaeology and Natural History, founded in 1898, published Sbornik in 1903. The Turkestan Circle for Amateurs of Archaeology, founded in 1895 in Tashkent, conducted excavations in various places in Central Asia and published Protokoly from 1896 to 1917. In the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, there existed provincial church-archaeological societies which sometimes excavated fortified settlements, burial mounds, and so forth; these societies also had periodic publications. For example, the society attached to the Kiev Ecclesiastical Academy published Chteniia (vols. 1–14) from 1883 to 1916; the Voronezh Society published Voronezhskaia starina (vols. 1–14) from 1902 to 1915–16; and the Kaluga Society published Kaluzhskaia starina (vols. 1–6) from 1901 to 1911. In the USSR the centers for archaeological activity are scientific research institutes of archaeology and history of the academies of sciences of the USSR and union republics, museums (the Hermitage in Leningrad, the State Historical Museum and the A. S. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, and others), the history departments of universities and pedagogical institutes, and museums of regional studies in many cities throughout the country. The Odessa Archaeological Society resumed its activities in 1959. In the Transcaucasus, the Georgian Society for History, Archaeology, Ethnology, and Folklore is active. The task of preserving archaeological remains is also performed by the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Remains (founded in 1966) and by analogous societies in all the union republics.

Foreign countries

BELGIUM. The Royal Society of Archaeology in Brussels, founded in 1887, has published Bulletin since 1928.

BULGARIA. On the basis of the already existing Bulgarian Archaeological Society, the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute was founded in 1921; it is now part of the Academy of Sciences.

DENMARK. The Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries in Copenhagen was founded in 1825. It has published the yearly Aarbøger for nordisk oldkyndighed og historie since 1866 and Nordiske fortidsminder since 1870.

FINLAND. The Archaeological Society of Finland in Helsinki was founded in 1870.

FRANCE. The National Society of French Antiquaries was founded in 1803. It has published Mémoires since 1807, Bulletin since 1857, and other publications. The Asiatic Society, founded in 1822, has published Journal asiatique since 1822 and Cahiers since 1933. The Lyons Society of History, Archaeology, and Literature was founded in 1897.

GREAT BRITAIN. The Society of Antiquaries of London, founded in 1707, published Proceedings from 1843 to 1920 and has published the collection Archaeologia since 1770 and The Antiquaries Journal since 1921. The British Numismatic Society was founded in 1903. It has been publishing the yearly British Numismatic Journal and Proceedings since 1903–04. The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in Edinburgh was founded in 1780. It has published Proceedings every year since 1851–52. The Prehistoric Society in London, founded in 1908, has published Proceedings since 1908.

GREECE. The Athenian Archaeological Society was founded in 1837.

HUNGARY. The Hungarian Society of Archaeology, History of Fine Arts, and Numismatics has published Archae-olégiai értesitö and other publications since 1868.

ITALY. The Roman Archaeological Society was founded in 1902.

JAPAN. The Archaeological Society of Japan in Tokyo was founded in 1895.

THE NETHERLANDS. The Royal Antiquarian Society in Amsterdam was founded in 1858. It has published Jaarver-slagen since 1863.

NORWAY. The Society for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments in Norway, located in Oslo, was founded in 1844. It has published Arbok for foreningen til norske for-tidsminnesmerkers bevaring since 1845.

POLAND. The Polish Archaeological Society, which was founded in 1953, has published Zotchtani wieków since 1926, Zapiski archeologiczne since 1953, Wiadomosci numiz-matyczne since 1957, and others.

PORTUGAL. The Association of Portuguese Archaeologists in Lisbon was founded in 1863. It has published Arqueologia e históría since 1922.

RUMANIA. The Society for Historical and Philological Sciences of the Socialist Republic of Rumania and the Numismatic Society, located in Bucharest, were founded in 1949.

SWEDEN. The Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities in Stockholm was founded in 1753.

SWITZERLAND. The Society of Antiquities in Zürich was founded in 1832. The Society of History and Archaeology in Geneva was founded in 1838. It has published Bulletin since 1892–97 and Mémoires et documents since 1841.

UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC. The Archaeological Society of Alexandria was founded in 1893. It has published Bulletin since 1898, Mémoires since 1922, Monuments de l’Egypte Gréco-Romaine since 1926, and other publications. The Society for Coptic Archaeology, founded in 1934, has published Bulletin since 1935 and Fouilles since 1924.

WEST BERLIN. The German Oriental Society was founded in 1898. It has published Mitteilungen since 1898 and Wis-senschaftliche Veröffentlichungen since 1900.


Veselovskii, N. I. Istoriia russkogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva za pervoe 50-letie ego sushchestvovaniia, 1846–96. St. Petersburg, 1900.
Spisok izdanii Moskovskogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva. [3rd ed.] Moscow, 1913.
The World of Learning, 1968–69, 19th edition. London, [1969].
Minerva: Jahrbuch der gelehrten Welt, vols. 1–2 (parts 1–2). Berlin, 1952–56.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Entitled The Role of Local Archaeological Societies in the 21st Century, the 7.45pm talk will be given by Mike Heyworth MBE, director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA).
Besides information about the project itself and how to apply, suggestions are also provided about travel, resources, excavation guidelines, the Institutes's Code of Ethics and Professional Standards, and local and international archaeological societies in North America and Britain.
It will also be attended by other family history societies from West Yorkshire, local history and archaeological societies, commercial companies, Kirklees Museums and Galleries, Local History Library, West Yorkshire Archives and the Western Front Association.

Full browser ?