A biography of a Soviet archaeologist (1900s - 1950s) by A. K. Konopatskii, translated by Richard L. Bland and Yaroslav V. Kuzmin. Paperback; 148x210mm; xxiv+410 pages; 30 black & white figures. (Print RRP: £24.99). 547 2019 Archaeological Lives . Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781789692044. Epublication ISBN 9781789692051. |
Aleksei P. Okladnikov: The Great Explorer of the Past is about the life and works of Aleksei P. Okladnikov (1908– 1981), a prominent archaeologist who spent more than 50 years studying prehistoric sites in various parts of the Soviet Union—mainly in Siberia and Central Asia as well as in Mongolia. Okladnikov made numerous fascinating discoveries in the 1930s, including the first Neanderthal remains in the USSR at Teshik Tash (Uzbekistan) and unique figurines at the Upper Palaeolithic site of Buret’ in the Angara River basin (Eastern Siberia). His research and achievements are presented on the background of ideological campaigns inspired by the Communist Party in the 1920s–1950s, a subject that is very rarely described in non-Russian sources. Particular attention is given to the debunking of the ‘Japhetic theory’ and the ‘new doctrine of language’ developed by Nikolai Y. Marr, an Oriental scholar and specialist in languages who in the 1920s–early 1930s was a formal leader of Soviet archaeology. Marr’s principles of linguistic studies were mechanically transmitted to several fields of the humanities, including archaeology, and were mandatory for every Soviet scholar. In 1950 an abrupt end to Marr’s theories was enacted by Josef Stalin. Details of these events—important for development of archaeology, ancient history, and linguistics in the USSR—were never previously described.
The book is for archaeologists, historians, and everyone who is interested in the history of scholarship (particularly the humanities) in the twentieth century.
Contributors to this volume:
Aleksander K. Konopatskii was born in 1951 in Tambovka County, Amur Province, USSR. After graduating from Suvorov’s Military Boarding School in Ussuriisk (Maritime Province), he met Aleksei P. Okladnikov in 1969. Konopatskii became a cadet at the Novosibirsk Military-Political Academy but dropped out in 1972 and joined the Institute of History, Philology and Philosophy, Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Since this time, he was closely associated with Okladnikov, assisting in fieldwork, travel and preparation of scientific reports. In 1974, Konopatskii graduated from Kemerovo State University in History (including archaeology). In the 1970s, he studied prehistoric sites on the shore of Lake Baikal in Siberia, and gained the Candidate of Sciences (PhD-equivalent) degree in 1979; in the 1980s and early 1990s, he excavated ancient sites in the lower course of the Amur River (Russian Far East). Since 1998, Konopatskii has been an Assistant Professor of the Novosibirsk General Military Academy where he teaches humanities.
Richard L. Bland studied Alaskan prehistory in the 1970s – 1990s (PhD 1996, University of Oregon). He has translated numerous books and articles on the archaeology of Northeastern Siberia and the Russian Far East, helping to bring the rich Soviet/Russian records of prehistory and early history to the international scholarly community.
Yaroslav V. Kuzmin has been studying geoarchaeology of the Russian Far East, Siberia and neighbouring Northeast Asia since 1979 (PhD 1991; DSc. 2007). He has also assisted in translating and editing books on the archaeology of eastern Russia.
'This biography of Okladnikov sheds light on both his adventurous life and Soviet archaeology in general, which is still little known in the West.'—Stephen Leach, Antiquity 2020 Vol. 94
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