Digital lapidarium of the Stavropol Museum-Reserve

“The Heritage of the steppes and mountains – stelas and tombs of the Ciscaucasia from the Scythians to the Alans” is a pilot project for the establishment of the digital lapidarium in the Stavropol State Historical-Cultural and Natural-Landscape Museum-Reserve that has been carried out by the RSSDA Laboratory together with the museum staff (Olga Brileva, Project Manager) in collaboration with the Russian Historical Society since 2018. The research is aimed at developing methods for providing remote access to unique exhibits such as stone crosses, Scythian and Polovets statues, crypts, and mausoleums. The virtual lapidarium presents monuments exhibited both inside the museum and within the city of Stavropol and the Stavropol Territory.

In 2020, the RSSDA Laboratory field team documented 45 items ranging from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages. All items have one thing in common – they are made of stone. The menhir belongs to the Bronze Age, while 8 Scythian statues, one of which was later used by the Polovtsy, belong to the Iron Age. A small slab-altar and two tombs of Tatarka-Verbovka type found in the Tatarskoe gorodishche settlement dated back to the Sarmatian period. Monuments attributed to the Alani (a mausoleum, two slabs, and three statues), Polovtsy (25 Polovtsy statues), and Slavic (three crosses with epigraphs) cultures date back to the Middle Ages. 

Some items have become subjects of scientific interest for the first time. For example, some new and yet undeciphered epigraphs have been discovered on Old Russian crosses. We hope that our team’s efforts will raise awareness and make Russian history visually compelling.