A Ukrainian explorer followed his grandmother’s clues and discovered a lost cave system in the middle of Kyiv. Professors are “amazed” that such a treasure was hidden in plain sight for thousands of years.
The cave system is located at Voznesenskyi Descent in Kyiv, Ukraine. Dmytro Perov, a conservationist at the Center for Urban Development in Kyiv reported on Radio Kultura that the caves were found beside a dismantled house that Kyiv housing authorities had deemed as unsafe for inhabitation.
A report in Suspline says that in August this year Perov learned that the Kyiv City Council were drawing up plans to develop this area. His attention was drawn to a particular house address: Voznesenskyi Uzviz, 25, in which his great-great-grandmother Daria Volosova used to live at the beginning of the 20th century, at which time it was a three-story family manor.
An Amazing Lost Treasure
A report in Rubryka says Perov’s Grandmother used to speak about a big stone house next to an ancient cave, but no one knew where it was located. Perov told Radio Kultura that he had examined the area several times in the past and that only the front facia of the house remained, hidden in bushes.
The conservationist told reporters that he decided to team up with his friends to go to the old house “on a small expedition to look for caves” and they identified an entrance. Last Saturday, Perov and a team of researchers from the Institute of Archaeology conducted the first archaeological explorations in the Voznesensky Caves. And having spent 3 hours inspecting the cave, Timur Bobrovskyi, a professor of archaeology at the Sofia Kyivska reserve said he was “amazed that such a treasure was found in the center of Kyiv”.
The entrance to the cave system, and one of the silted-up cave entrances within it. ( Dmytro Perov )
Pottery And Hieroglyphs From Bygone Cultures
Perov says the team explored two of the four caves, because the other two are full of silt that needs to be cleared out prior to any exploration. In the northern part of the cave the team identified fragments of pottery from the Late Kyivan Rus’ era, which was a state in Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century.
Perov wrote on Facebook that the team scoured around 40 meters (131 ft) of caves including the lower cave complex, which he said is twice as long as the upper passage and it has a series of “radial branches.” However, the most significant discovery was, in Petrov’s words: “a set of Kyivan Rus hieroglyphs and Varangian symbols from the Early Rus period” when the region was under the control of Varangian rulers.
Engravings in the cave walls appear to be Kyivan Rus hieroglyphs and Varangian. ( Dmytro Perov )
Animistic Animals And A Chicken’s Foot
Dmytro Perov said that while more research is needed to confirm it, they suspect some of the carved symbols might date all the way back to the 5th to 6th centuries BC. He says “ animistic images of animals and graffiti” from the Varyaz period were also found on the walls including the rune Algiz (“chicken’s foot”). This was an ancient Varangian charm, a symbol of protection and long life.
Between the 7th–6th centuries BC several Hellenic Greek colonies were founded on the northern coast of the Black Sea on the Crimean Peninsula and along the Sea of Azov. After a period of control by the Roman empire, during the 1st millennium BC, the steppe hinterland was occupied by the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians who traded with the Greek/Roman colonies.
Viking Bloodlines And Trade Routes
The Kyivan state was founded by the Varangian, or Viking, Prince Rurik in the late 9th century. His descendants developed and controlled an international trade route to the west until the 13th century. According to Britannia the Kyivan state comprised East Slavic, Norse, and Finnic peoples, so it will perhaps be impossible to identify who left the carved symbols on the cave walls.
For several months the Kyiv City Council has been planning to transfer the land plot to a private developer. However, Perov said that until more data is gathered from the caves the issue of transfer of the plot for development has been removed from the agenda of the Kyiv City State Administration.
Top image: The team exploring the cave system found in Kyiv. Source: Dmytro Perov
By Ashley Cowie