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Laboratory for Architectural Archaeology and the Inter-disciplinary Study of Architectural Monuments

Contract number
Time span of the project

As of 01.11.2022

Number of staff members
scientific publications
General information
Name of the project: Pre-Mongol frescoes in Novgorod: archaeological context and scientific research: The frescoes of St. George s cathedral, Yuriev monastery from the 2013/2020 excavations

Goals and objectives

The project’s main aim is a comprehensive study of the frescoes of St. George’s Cathedral, Yuriev monastery. Novgorod, making use of a wide range of analogies. We also aim to collect a wide array of scientific data on the structure of plaster and pigments used in painting the frescoes. The project also aims to present the data obtained by scientific methods in the historical context, including that of the histories of culture, architecture and material culture. The historical and archaeological context to put the frescoes in will be provided by on-site studies in anthropology, archaeology and architecture. An important objective of the project is to bring archaeology in close contact to all of these disciplines. The project team will focus on publishing the fresco images and making them available to researchers as one of the team’s priorities.

The practical value of the study

Scientific results:

  • We have collected data on the element composition of paint pigments, plaster and the technology of application of foundation and paint layers in the fresco art of the Georgievskiy cathedral of the Yuriev monastery.
  • We accumulated similar data on fresco art of Kievan Rus monuments that are synchronous in chronology.
  • Our researchers collected information on the archaeological context of the Georgievskiy cathedral on the basis of natural science research.
  • We have systematized, categorized and digitalized archaeological frescoes stored in two workshops of the Novgorod State Integrated Museum Reserve and in the Yuriev monastery.
  • Our researchers have conducted an art analysis of fresco paintings, validating a version concerning the origin and composition of the gang of masters who worked on the painting and justifying the dating of the original paintings in the cathedral.
  • We have published historical and archive materials that fill gaps in the history of the monastery ensemble as well as a historical and archaeological description of the necropolis of the Georgievskiy cathedral.
  • The Laboratory has published a collection of articles that includes all the research that is not related to fresco material.

The listed and other obtained scientific results were published in leading academic journals: the leading scientist and members of the academic team published 16 academic articles in journals indexed by various systems. The results of the research were published in the collection of articles «Architectural archaeology». Moscow, 2022. 267 p. In the collection we reflected the results of the study of architectural, archaeological and anthropological context of the Yuriyev monastery in the Middle Ages.

Implementation of research results:

Scientific organizations will be able to use the data accumulated by the Laboratory and its developments to further expand the basic humanities research of the cultural heritage. Practical methodologies and developments are already being used and will be modernized by organizations performing restoration works and providing specialized storage for objects of cultural heritage.

Education and retraining of personnel:

  • We have created a part of an education course in architectural archaeology and radiometry within a master’s degree program for students of the Department of Archaeology of State Academic University for the Humanities.
  • The master’s degree program «Theory and practice of archaeological research»: «Architectural archaeology» (implemented on the basis of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
  • For bachelor’s degree graduation theses. have been prepared.


  • Institute of Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy and Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kurchatov Institute, Novgorod State United Museum and Novgorod State Integrated Museum Reserve (Russia), University of Pavia, AGM Archeoanalisi (Italy): joint research of engineering and technology in fresco  art.
  • Laboratory RSSDA (Russia): manufacturing 3D models.
  • «TESCAN» LLC: training of personnel, installation and technoloigcal support of a TESCAN VEGA Compact LMH scanning electron mecrocope that allows to perform a wide range of measurements of the element composition of paint pigments used in  ancient Russian art and the element compositions of various plasters used in the technological process of the production of fresco art (foundation, leveling, gesso).

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седов вл.в.
Лестничная башня Георгиевского собора Юрьева монастыря: археология, архитектура и фрески // Российская археология, 2021. №4. С. 132–143.
ковалева к.с.
Химический состав металла средневековых зеркал из раскопок памятников золотоордынского времени // Вестник ВолГУ. Серия 4, История. Регионоведение. Международные отношения. 2021. Т. 26. № 5. С. 17–29.
ковалева к.с.
Производственные бронзолитейные комплексы городов Золотой Орды: поиск аналогий // Нижневолжский археологический вестник. Т. 20, № 2. 2021. С. 133–148.
ушанков е.м.
Серебро князя Мстислава: на что строился Георгиевский собор? // Краткие сообщения института археологии. Вып. 265. 2021. С. 270–280.
седов вл.в.
Архитектура Георгиевского собора Юрьева монастыря и первая система организации фасадов в архитектуре Древней Руси: ярусы окон и арочных ниш // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 7–48.
этингоф о.е.
Материалы по иконографии фресок XII в. из наоса Георгиевского собора Юрьева монастыря (предварительные наблюдения) // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 49–67.
вдовиченко м.в.
Фундаменты Георгиевского собора Юрьева монастыря по материалам архитектурно-археологических исследований // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 68–83.
яновская е.г.
Строительные материалы и особенности техники кладки в Георгиевском соборе Юрьева монастыря // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 84–97.
колосов в.п., фомичёва ю.с.
Планировочное решение храмов домонгольской Руси. Опыт статистического анализа // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 150–161.
кудрявцев а.а.
О средневековом поселении на территории Юрьева монастыря // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 162–172.
решетова и.к.
Антропологические исследования некрополя Георгиевского собора Юрьева монастыря в Великом Новгороде 2014–2019 гг. // Архитектурная археология. № 4. 2022. С. 173–187.
кудрявцев а.а.
Селища на месте монастырей в округе средневекового Новгорода // Краткие сообщения Института археологии. 2022 (в печати).
alessandra a.r. giumlia-mair, marina v. vdovichenko, vladimir v. sedov, maria pia riccardi.
New data on the technology of the frescoes from the S.George Cathedral at Veliki Novgorod // METALAGES2022 – Water Supply and Water Management in the Metal Ages. 13-16 Oct. 2022, Ankara (Turkey). Abstract. https://metalages2022.sciencesconf.org/browse/session?sessionid=74341
a.r.g. giumlia-mair, m.v. vdovichenko.
Latest analyses on Russian Byzantine frescoes from Novgorod // Eight Balkan Symposium on Archaeometry. 3rd—6th October 2022, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts. P. 21-22.
e. zubavichus
12th century AD red and yellow fresco pigments from North-Eastern Russia // Latest analyses on Russian Byzantine frescoes from Novgorod // Eight Balkan Symposium on Archaeometry. 3rd—6th October 2022, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts. P. 85-86.
e. ianovskaia, a. vozniak, a. nosova, l. sazonova, n. lebedeva, k. erofeeva
Analyses of mortars from St. George’s cathedral, Great Novgorod // // Latest analyses on Russian Byzantine frescoes from Novgorod // Eight Balkan Symposium on Archaeometry. 3rd—6th October 2022, Belgrade, Serbia. Book of Abstracts. P. 88-89.
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