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Study of the Kulikovo Battle heritage

Study of the Kulikovo Battle heritage

The Kulikovo battle and its main participant and eyewitness – the battlefield itself – is the main area of scientific research in the museum-reserve.  In this connection, experts conduct comprehensive scientific and exploratory works on the study of area, finds and armament of the Kulikovo battle participants.
   The search of the Kulikovo battle relics
   Annually researches are conducted on the Kulikovo field; they aimed to find relics and to study the area of the battle of 1380. Employees of the State Historical Museum and the State Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field” take part in the joined expeditions. Specialists developed and successfully implemented a unique method of finding the relics of the battle. The search area is divided into sections in which, with the help of sensitive metal detectors, the scanning of the ground is held. The finds, made in the search zone, are registered with the satellite navigation devices.
    For the last 10 years, more than 40 finds were made on the Kulikovo field. All of the finds are dated from the time of the battle, among them – armour plates, two spear heads, 7 arrow heads, fragments of hauberks, noses of helmets, fragments of battle axes, a spear handle, a sulitsa head, belt buckles, flint stones, items of harness. Detection of armament and equipment of soldiers on the Kulikovo Field gave an opportunity to specificate and locate the epicenter of the battle of September 8, 1380 on the area. All the relics after the discovery, detailed research and description occupy a place of honor in the Kulikovo battle museum in Monastyrshchino village.


    To a large extend, the fate of finds, made in the Kulikovo Field in the 18-20th centuries and found in the noble collections, is unexplored. The study of Russian museums funds and archives will make it possible substantially expand the idea about the history of the battle.

Search of common graves of Russian soldiers on the battlefield
The search for the graves of Russian soldiers, who died in the combat, is an important step in studying the battlefield itself. Nowadays there are no sources which could cast light on that problem; there are no special-developed techniques to search for such objects. All of the available methods are in the arsenal of scientists: areal geophysical exploration, electric prospecting, and aerial photography interpretation, performed in different bands of reflecting the radiation.

    Research work on the reconstruction of armory of the Kulikovo Battle soldiers
    The scientific reconstruction of armory items and equipment of soldiers, took part in the Kulikovo battle, gives an opportunity for the visitors of the Kulikovo battle museums to have detailed imagination of actual battle of 1380.

    Items of military history from the funds of the museum-preserve that are represented in the expositions of the museum in the village of Monastyrshchino

    In the military history of Russia there are three Great Russian battlefields, the three most important battles took place on them.  They are the Kulikovo Field, the Prokhorovskoye Field and the Borodino Field.  That’s why the collection of the military-history funds and the items, represented in the expositions of the State Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field”, largely correspond to these topics.  Of course, the main attention is paid to the items, relating to the Kulikovo battle. The question of the application of scientific reconstructions in the museum business of Russia appeared not that long ago. Really serious researches on that problem appeared in Russia only in 80th of the 20th century after works of U. Hudyakov and M. Gorelik were published. As opposed to Europe, where the production of the scientific reconstructions had started since the end of the 19th century, in Russia this question appeared only in last decades. The importance of reconstructions either from historical or aesthetic point of view on the basis of artistic-reconstruction approach is one of the most important directions in modern museum practice.
    Artistic-reconstructions method of approaching consists of organic combination either of archeological or iconographical materials from the area of studding object with quality artistic treatment of given material.
The use of historical and logical approach is allowed when you create a historical reconstruction. For artistic reconstruction it is necessary to mention the value of the written sources.  The first set of weapon and armory of Russian and the Golden Horde warriors were made by a talented Archeologist and reconstructor M. Gorelik.  Worthy successor in mastery of making items of armory and weapon became O. Zaidov, E. Pohmelnov, O. Lukyanov, V. Terekhov, A. Chepilyaskin and many others. They made more than 200 reconstructions of armoury: swords, sabers, battle axes, spears, items of protections weapons, coat of arms, helmets, shields and etc.
    For the museum’s exposition in Monastyrshchino village, 7 sets of soldiers’ armoury, fully clod and armed by the traditions of Russia and the Golden Horde, were created. They are the reconstruction of prince’s suite, reconstruction of heavy armored Russian soldier, reconstruction of heavy armored Mongolian soldier, reconstructions of lightly dressed soldiers. The reconstruction of lamella horse bard was the most considerable; it was made by E. Pohmelnov. The making of the armour took 11 months.  912 metal lamellas, hundreds meters of leather belts for fastening lamellas were used for the creation of that bard.  After assembly the weight of that armour was 47, 5 kilograms. Not once this set took prizes on different exhibitions in Russia and Belorussia. Today in the exposition you can see: 9 sabers, 7 swords, 17 shields,  18 helmets, 4 coat of arms, 9 armories, 9 battle axes, 16 spears, lances, 7 bows, 7 quivers, 60 arrows and many other items.  

    Studies of military-historical heritage of the Kulikovo field
    The Kulikovo Field, glorious with its Mamai defeat, became the scene of bitter battles with Crimean Tatars, Nagay and Polands in interlunation period.  The land of the Kulikovo Filed gave Russia a lot of eminent officers of Russian army. Two regiments of Tula volunteer corps form the Kulikovo Field finished Russian-French war in 1812 against the walls of Danzig. The Kulikovo regiment took fight in Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1906, in the First World War. In 1941 the land of Kulikovo Filed became the place of fight against tanks of Guderian. All that gives a big material for studying the military glory of the Kulikovo Field in the history of Russia of 16-20th centuries and military-patriotically works with youth.

    The study of archeological monuments of the Kulikovo Field

On the complexity of research and its range, the Kulikovo field is one of the most studied ancient territories. Particular emphasis in the knowledge of ancient history of the Kulikovo field was made to study the monuments of ancient Russian Period, close to the epoch of the Kulikovo battle. We study the process of settling the area in the 12-14th centuries, Individual houses and group settlements, villages, ground burials, crafts, cultural and trade relations of the borderland population of Russia.
Rescue archaeological survey of archaeological research department of the Museum-Reserve "the Kulikovo Field"
Rescue archaeological works are one of the main directions of the archeological department of the Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field” they are conducted on the territories, where the construction of new buildings will be started. It is connected with the building of Tula’s historical center, construction of large main gas pipelines and active purchase and sale of land in Tula Region.

    Ethnographical studies of the Kulikovo Field

    The definition of the current condition of the Kulikovo field area from the ethnographic point of view, as well as the most promising routes and cultural locations is the main goal for the ethnographical expeditions of the State Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field”. The works are conducted in a mode of prospecting on a specially designed techniques and programs.
    For 7 years of works 82 human settlements were studied such as Bogoroditsk, Volovo, Kimovsk, Kurkino districts of Tula region. 191 respondents were questioned; collection of 164 items was gathered (mostly antique clothes, samples of weaving, embroidery, ceramics, items of smithery craft, distaff, home utensils and etc).
    Scientific materials of researches were published in 14 research papers, popular science book “Sacred places of the Kulikovo Field”, in 10 reports of scientific conferences and seminars in Tula, Kaluga, Murom and etc. Regional folklore –ethnographical seminar for researches of national culture of Tula Region was organized. Also the methodical help was provided for creation of the Novomoskovsk archeological museum and Kamenka local history union.

    In concept and in scale, the science museum staff conducts unprecedented science theoretical and practical works to restore forest and steppe-forest zones of the 14th century on the battle place. Such works join to the complex of science-research and experimental-technological studies, combined with handwork and machine methods of planting of broad-leaved oak-groves and stipa steppe.  The recreation of the forest-steppe zone, which species composition consists of more than 300 species of vegetation – is a unique science program. Such kinds of works are unprecedented not only in Russia but also in the universal science practice. The research of natural history with the reconstruction of the changes process of the Kulikovo Field nature for the last 10 centuries occupies the most important place in the studies of natural historians. Detail and depth of research make the Kulikovo field one of the key facilities in Russia to study the interaction between humans and the environment. Special attention of the naturalists is paid to the time sample of the Kulikovo battle, that reveals new details connected to the conditions of the Kulikovo battle, it also helps to carry on landscape restoration works taking into account all available information about the formation of the landscape of the battlefield. For the time of existence of the Museum-reserve, the natural department performed a lot of work; its main goal is the memoralization of the battlefield.
    Researches on the reconstruction of natural-historical landscape had the comprehensive character. Representatives of natural-scientific and humanities disciplines (historians, archeologists, geographers, biologists) from leading scientific institutions of our country and region took part in studies. They were: State Historical Museum (M. Gonyaniy, A. Zaitsev, O. dvurechensky), Institute of Geographic RAS(M. Glasko, S. Sycheva, A. Goleva, E. Novenko), MSU (M. Bogdanova), TSPU of Leo Tolstoy (E. Volkova, O. Shvez, I. Sheremeteva, A. Avralov), State Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field” (V. Danilov, O. Burova).
The following results were obtained:
-location of the battlefield was allocated by the ratio of areas of forest-steppe vegetation complexes on the relevant source of humus, forest and meadow soils of left and right bank of the Don;
- the maps of natural-historical landscape with the elements of reconstruction and the location of monuments of the Golden Horde and premongolian period (1:10 000)
- palaeogeographical conditions of the second half of the Holocene were Established.
- maps of natural and historical landscape with domestic influence on key areas (1:2000,1:10000);
-map of transformation of the Kulikovo field landscape under influence of anthropogenic factors.
- reconstruction map of natural and historical landscape of the Kulikovo field of 1380 (1: 10 000).
    Created map of the reconstruction of natural-history landscape of the Kulikovo battlefield of 1380 became the scientific basis for holding a unique experiment on the restoration of natural-history landscape of the Kulikovo battlefield of 1380.  Arrangements to restorations of natural-historical landscape are conducted in two directions: renewal of steep assemblage and restoration of forests.  
    The first experiments on the restoration of the steppe were made on the Red Hill in 1998-1999.  After the museum-reserve received the lands of the Kulikovo battle place in unlimited usage, the first experimental fields were allocated for restoration of meadow-steppe associations on primordial habitat. Nowadays the area of the forest planting occupies the historical location of “the Wood of Green oaks”, lost more than 300 years ago, and its area is about 25 hectares.   Simultaneously stipa seeds and collection area were created, they provide seeds material for restoration. Nowadays there are 10 hectares of clear stipa crops of 4 types. There are up to 90 species of steppe, meadow and forest plants gathered on the collection area. These volumes provide a complete seed reconstruction.
    Today on the territory of the museum-reserve, 10 fields with the total area of 30 hectares are busy with experiments of restoration the steep vegetation.  
    The restoration of natural-historical areas of forests is the main component of works for restoration the landscape of the battlefield.
    The knowledge about the component composition and the regularity of spatial placement of pre-existing but now almost completely lost forest-steppe landscapes, especially the vegetation and wildlife, is very important for the purpose of restoring natural-historic landscape. In this connection, department of natural history subjects engaged in conducting the research on wildlife inventory of the Kulikovo field.
The significance of work results of Museum-Reserve “The Kulikovo Field” by the study and the restoration of landscapes was appreciated by scientific figures of Russia and abroad.  On the basis of the museum-reserve, all Russian scientific conference is conducted ones in three years.  The employees of the museum-preserve are included in European Dry Grassland Group.