“Відкриття археологів у Батурині 2006 року” д-р Володимира Мезенцева (Торонтонський Університет)

December 9, 2006

Наукове Товариство ім. Шевченка в Америці протягом трьох років (2003-2006 рр.) фінансує археологічні дослідження у Батурині, ініціятором яких є д-р Мезенцев.

Volodymyr Mezentsev, Ph. D.


Володимир Мезенцев

In 1669-1708, Baturyn, located in the Chernihiv province, was the capital of the Cossack polity in central Ukraine. It flourished during the reign of the elective Cossack ruler or hetman Ivan Mazepa (1687-1709). In 1708, Baturyn became the military base of the Mazepa’s rebellion against the Moscow’s growing domination of Ukraine. The forces of the Russian Tsar Peter I devastated Baturyn and decimated its Cossack garrison of 6-7,000 and the same number of the civilian population.

Any research of Baturyn was a political taboo during the Soviet era. In summer of 2006, the Canada-Ukraine archaeological expedition continued its annual excavations of this town. The Shevchenko Scientific Society of America (Yurii Kuzev Endowment Fund), CIUS (Kowalsky Program for the Study of Eastern Ukraine), and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) in Toronto co-sponsor this project. No funding, however, was provided for it from the Ukrainian government or any other sources in Ukraine this year. Prof. Zenon Kohut, Director of CIUS, and Dr. Orest Popovych, President of SSS-A, are the patrons of and academic advisers to the Baturyn archaeological project. The researchers of the Cossack hetman capital wish to thank the Shevchenko Scientific Society of America for its prestigious sponsorship and generous financial support of this project for the six years.

Один із портретів гетьмана Івана Мазепи,
віднайдено в архівах Швеції

Dr. Volodymyr Kovalenko from the University of Chernihiv, Ukraine leads the Baturyn expedition. The Canadian historians Dr. Volodymyr Mezentsev (U of T, CIUS) and Prof. Martin Dimnik (PIMS) participate in this project and publication of its findings. Nearly 120 students and scholars from the universities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Nizhyn, Hlukhiv, Rivno, and the Baturyn historical preserve (Ukraine) as well as the university of Graz (Austria) took part in these excavations.

Вид Батурина

In 2006, the team conducted the aerial photography of the Baturyn terrain from a delta plain. These photos would facilitate the studies of historical topography and urban planning of this medieval and modern town and preparing of its reconstructive plans.

The excavations of remnants of the citadel’s defences have shown that it consisted of two dry moats, the rampart with inner timber structures, bastions, the fence made of three to four rows of oak frameworks filled with clay and reinforced by flanking log towers and tower-gates. In the 17th century, these traditional Cossack fortifications constructed of earth and wood withstood cannon bombardment better rather than overage stone or brick walls.

In the midst of the former fortress, archaeologists discovered the foundation fragment of the main Baturyn’s cathedral of the Holy Trinity. It was endowed by Mazepa ca. 1692 and ruined during the Muscovite attack in 1708. Probably this was a spacious cross-like centrally planned masonry church with five or seven domes, the type that was widespread in central Ukraine and derived from the folk wooden prototypes.

The researchers have resumed their excavations of the palace in the citadel site and have restored graphically its architecture and elaborated plastic external decoration. It was erected by Hetman Dem’ian Mnohohrishnyi (1669-72) and burnt to the ground by the tsar’s troops. The palace represented a comparatively large, 25 x 21 m., one-floor brick structure typical of the administrative or military offices of the Cossack state and built in the distinctive Cossack Baroque style. The central corridor divided this edifice on a private hetman’s quarter with audience hall in a larger part and a kitchen with storage rooms in a smaller compartment.

The expedition continued its investigations of the footings and wall debris of Mazepa’s country residence (1700) in the Honcharivka suburb. The recent archaeological and architectural research has shown that this masonry palace (including its appendix) had 20 by 14.5 m. in size, three stories with a mansard and double-slope roof. Its front elevation was adorned with semicolumnes of the Corinthian or Composite orders. It was the earliest known secular structure in central Ukraine constructed and embellished mainly in the Roman Baroque style with some modifications of the Vilnius’ architecture. In 1670-90s, the Western artistic influences reached the Cossack Ukraine via Lithuania.

The first series of graphic reconstructions of the Honcharivka palace prepared by the archaeologists, however, have erroneously depicted it with a pure Italian Baroque appearance. These ignored the notable archaeological evidence regarding the application of the regional Ukrainian Baroque method there, i.e., the decoration of the entablature’s friezes with multicoloured glazed ceramic rosettes. Thus, Mazepa’s villa near his capital was the first example of combination of the Italian (Roman) and Ukrainian Baroque styles in the civil architecture of the Cossack state. The 1708 destruction of the town, however, arrested the development of this syncretic palatial style in the Ukrainian architecture. The excavations of this intriguing building along with the new attempts to restore it adequately to the sources should be continued.

Ольга Кузьмович, Василь Махно, Орест Попович, Володимир Мезенцев, Дарія Дика, Світляна Андрушків

In the settlement adjacent to the fortress, the remnants of a sizeable wooden dwelling of the wealthy Cossack officer have been unearthed. It also perished in the fire of 1708. The ornate bronze silvered military belt with realistic relief of a mounted knight made in Poland as well as the local artistic glazed earthenware painted with the folk floral and geometric patterns have been found there. In the fortress’ bailey and suburbs, the investigators have discovered 13 copper and silver Russian and Polish coins, the silver thaler struck at Basel in 1622, the 1669 lead trade seal from Breslaw, three copper neck crosses, a bronze finger-ring with the engraved coat of arm, the cooper baton and belt-buckle, as well as the cast tiny vessel or candle stick likely from a church-plate of the 17-18th centuries. These finds testify to the dynamic economic and cultural vitality of the hetman capital and its wide commercial relations with the Western and Eastern Europe at this time.

In 2006, within the citadel and fortress, the tea
m excavated 46 graves of the town’s inhabitants dated to 17-18th centuries. Among these, the remains of the seventeen children have been assigned to the casualties of the 1708 assault. In total, between 1996 and 2006, the archaeologists uncovered 138 early modern graves. Approximately half of them, at least 65 graves, contained basically children, women, and elderly people who were slaughtered by the imperial army together with the town’s military personnel.

Каріна Тарнавська, Ольга Кузьмович і Юрій Тарнавський

The last summer excavations have advanced our knowledge of the Baturyn’s lost high standard masonry ecclesiastical and palatine architecture and decorative techniques in the Ukrainian and Western Baroque styles, native wooden residences of the Cossack elite, international trade, local crafts and artistic folk ceramics. These digs have also yielded new significant evidence regarding the fall of the Cossack capital in 1708.

The expedition plans to renew its archaeological explorations at Baturyn in the summer of 2007. For further information regarding this project please contact Dr. Volodymyr Mezentsev (100 High Park Ave., Apt. 808, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6P 2S2; telephone: (416) 766-1408; email: v.mezentsev@utoronto.ca).

Not for publication Copyright by the author