“Unusually for Russia.” Scientists are exploring the mystery of the Rostov sarcophagus

“Unusually for Russia.” Scientists are exploring the mystery of the Rostov sarcophagus

MOSCOW, 10 Feb — RIA Novosti, Anton Skripunov. Russian archaeologists explore one of the most unusual ancient artifacts of the sarcophagus, which is located under the floor of the assumption Cathedral in Rostov Veliky. About the strange secrets of the tomb — in the material RIA Novosti.

The unusual location

As happens sometimes in archaeology, the discovery drew the attention of scientists is not immediately. In 1994, the sarcophagus under the floor of the temple was discovered by specialists of the State Hermitage. It would seem, nothing special: stone coffin with broken down into the cover.

Examining the sarcophagus, experts have hastened to “preserve” its brick walls, lay on the wooden floor.

For some unknown reason they did not attach importance to the fact that the empty stone coffin in the historic layer of the XIII century, and even in the main temple, the spiritual centre of North-Eastern Russia is very unusual.

Only a quarter of a century later began the study of the detected object. And that almost by coincidence: the specialists of the Institute of archaeology (IA) RAS at the Cathedral square of Rostov examined the heating system to under floor the Dormition Cathedral, monument of architecture, to conduct heat. The fact is that in winter its walls are covered with frost, which in the spring melts and washes away the unique temple painting. At this time the Cathedral is very cold and feet are cold even in very warm shoes. And the summer is here more than seven degrees does not happen.

It works on the heating system, as noted by the rector of the Dormition Cathedral, Archpriest Roman Krupnov, will allow to carry out a complete restoration of the temple and preserved artifacts. The same sarcophagus, for example. Now he had been placed under “archaeological window”, which, however, in winter because of the cold covered with frost.

“Ornament gave the hint”

“This sarcophagus is puzzling scientists. The fact that it is empty, and we don’t know for whom it was prepared. No information about the excavation of the remains in the history of the Cathedral documented no, there are no signs pointing to the fact that the sarcophagus has ever been produced by the burial,” says lead researcher IA RAS Andrei Leontiev.

The empty tomb in the Church — in any case, the mystery that can bring on all sorts of conspiracy thinking.Andrei Leontiev, a leading researcher of the RAS IA

And really — there is too little information about the tomb and historical contexts give rise to many versions. However, researchers tend to severely cut stories from the more or less truthful assumptions.

The specialists of IA RAS noticed another strange thing. “A massive cover of the tomb in length exceeded the size of the stone box and, possibly, replaced the original. In previous studies, this fact went unnoticed,” — said Leontiev.

Head of the Department of archaeology of Moscow Russia IO RAS Leonid Belyaev draws attention to the fact that the tomb and cover her on the edge of the same ornament. “This is a unique case,” — emphasizes the scientist.

The type of the ornament is inscribed in a rectangle concentric circles — associated with the ancient European tradition of burial of the saints, which, in turn, dates back to the pagan custom of decorating the sarcophagus of the three wreaths.

That is, it is likely that in the Rostov sarcophagus was a Saint. But who? Another mystery.

The coffin or reliquary

The tomb is located in the Northern part of the Cathedral, where scientists found traces of the temple of the masonry of the thirteenth century. The present appearance of the Dormition Cathedral became in 1512, and before that in his place at any given time there were three different temple. The first was built “from the oak tree” in 991, when Prince Vladimir baptized personally Rostovites.

“So he did only in Kiev, and Rostov. Why he decided to come here — is unclear. Perhaps because it was ruled by his sons, Boris and then Yaroslav. Maybe he was going to Novgorod, but did not get,” — says the rector of the Cathedral.