Diakovo Culture

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

D’iakovo Culture


a culture of ancient Finno-Ugric tribes (ancestors of the Meria, Ves’, and other tribes that are known from chronicles) inhabiting the basins of the Upper Volga and Oka and the Valdai Hills from the second half of the first millennium B.C. to the first half of the first millennium A.D. Some scholars attribute part of the culture’s remains to the predecessors of the Slavs, considering the western groups of this culture to be ancestors of the Baltic peoples. There is archaeological evidence that this culture continued to exist up to the time of the chronicles. The culture was named after the site of a fortified town near the village of D’iakovo, which is located near the village of Kolomenskoe, and was investigated in 1864 by D. Ia. Samokvasov and in 1889–90 by V. I. Sizov.

Typical settlements of the D’iakovo culture are small, located on the shores of rivers in poorly accessible places and fortified by mounds and ditches. In addition to such fortified towns, unprotected settlements began appearing in the first centuries A.D. The dwellings were rectangular (sometimes circular) semidugouts or huts constructed directly on the ground. The social structure was based on the primitive communal system. The population engaged in hunting, fishing, agriculture (using hoes), and stock-raising. Metal began to be used in the first millennium A.D. Iron sickles, axes, arrows, and bronze ornaments were made. Many tools and ornaments were made from bone. Small clay weights of the D’iakovo type are especially characteristic. Pottery decorated with so-called textile (net) ornamentation is common in the archaeological level predating the second century B.C. Burials of the D’iakovo culture have not been found; it is likely that cremation was practiced.


Sizov, V. I. “D’iakovo gorodishche bliz Moskvy.” In Trudy deviatogo arkheologicheskogo s” ezda v Vil’ne, 1893 g, vol. 2. Moscow, 1897.
Spitsyn, A. A. “Gorodishcha D’iakova tipa.” In Zapadnye otdeleniia russkoi i slavianskoi arkheologii Russkogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva, vol. 5, fasc. 1. St. Petersburg, 1903.
Spitsyn, A. A. “Novye svedeniia o gorodishchakh D’iakova tipa.” Ibid., vol. 7, fasc. 1. St. Petersburg, 1905.
Tret’iakov, P. N. K istorii piemen Verkhnego Povolzh’ia v pervom tysiacheletii n.e. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Tret’iakov, P. N. Finno-ugry, baity, i slaviane na Dnepre i Volge. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Goriunova, E. I. Etnicheskaia istoriia Volgo-Okskogo mezhdurech’ia. Moscow, 1961. (Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, fasc. 94).
Drevnee poselenie v Podmoskov’e. Moscow, 1970. (Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, no. 156).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.