On October 17-19, international joint fieldworks, participated by the University of Tartu (Partner 1), NGO Archaeological Centre (Partner 3) and Pskov Archaeological Centre (Partner 8) took place in Pskov oblast. The aim of the trip was to visit archaeological monuments in Krasnogordosk district, i.e. area that was formerly inhabited by Kraasna maarahvas – a Finnic group of southern Estonian origin. This small ethnic group was visited by Oskar Kallas in 1901 and two years later by him the book Kraasna maarahvas that reflected his fieldwork data was published. Linguistic analyses of the texts collected by Kallas has enabled to identify the language as of Seto origin.
The aim of the trip was to get a survey about the character of archaeological monuments in the area populated by the people originating from Setomaa, as well as to get information about their fate. Already during the trip of Kallas the Finnic population had greatly lost their identity, being melt among the Russians.
After crossing the border, monuments of Izborsk were visited first. On the way to the southern part of Pskov oblast we also visited Vel’e medieval stronghold. In Krasnogorodsk area, first, cemetery with possible medieval grave stones was studied in Platishino village. Next we attended the villages of Mehovo and Lukino. New information was gained about the cemeteries and grave stones of the Old Believers of the region. It appears that simple grave stones with engraved cross marks which can be found on local cemeteries are not of medieval origin, as suggested before, but that they represent the local Old Believers’ tradition. Simple gravestones were home-made by the Old Believers up to the 1930s. Close to Lukino a hill fort that was considered to be perished by gravel digging, turned out to be still existing.
In Krasnogorodsk area, in addition to the district centre, the villages of Ivantsevo/Ivatsova, Shutovo /Süllätüvä, Gorbunovo, Podsadnitsa and Poddubnaja, once inhabited by the “Chuhny” (or relatives of the Seto) were visited. It appeared that during earlier fieldwork no data about prehistoric or medieval cemeteries had been collected from the area. Also during the field trip no additional information about cemeteries at the villages of the Kraasna maarahvas (or “Seto”) population was gained. This enables to suggest that the south Estonian population of Krasnogorodsk area were rather late immigrants, and not descendants of the native Finno-Ugric substrate population. Most unexpectedly, however, information about a hill where the „Chuhny“, i.e. non-Russians used to gather and pray was gained from a local inhabitant at Rumuli. During the visit no descendants of Kraasna maarahvas were found in the formerly big villages that had become greatly or fully empty now. The household where the last descendants of the “Chuhny” had lived in Ivantsevo village had perished in fire this spring.
The third day was dedicated to the Sebezh region where the medieval stronghold, two hill forts and three groups of barrows, representing their so-called Smolensk group were visited. The famous barrows of Prihaby were heavily plundered by local grave looters. On the way back we visited the excavation site of this year where grave of a Viking Age woman was still open. The shallow grave of an 11th-century woman with a Latgallian type headband was cut into the limestone bedrock.
Thanks to a lucky chance, also the caves of the Pechory Monastery could be visited on the way back to Tartu.