In front of the Trypillian
Culture Museum near village of
Trypillia, 50 km south of Kyiv, Ukraine, stand a
very modest monument, which is dedicated to Vikenty Khvoika.
Let us start our tour of our e-Museum with a short
biography of this remarkable man - Vikenty
archaeologist, who discovered and gave the name to the
Trypillian culture approximately 100 years ago.
Khvoika was born in 1850 in a small village named Semyn,
located on the river Elbe (now in Czechia) into an old
nobleman family. In 1876 he moved to Kyiv, Ukraine,
where he began to grow millet and hops. He achieved
great success in this occupation and even wrote some
scientific works about it. He received awards and decorations
at exhibitions in Romny, Kharkiv and Paris (1889).
In 1893 V. Khvoika
developed an interest and became actively engaged in
archaeology. He conducted his first excavation in the
Kyrylivski hills of Kyiv where he discovered a Paleolithic
encampment with mammoth bones. This Neolithic settlement
of a Bronze Age later was classified as belonging to
a Trypillian culture. His following excavations (1896-99)
near the small town of Trypillia, near Kyiv, were marked
by the discovery of a new culture, which he named the
Trypillian Civilization after the town. Mr. Khvoika
reported this discovery to the 11th Congress of Archaeologists
in 1897, which is now considered the official date of
the discovery of the Trypillian culture. Initially,
scientists regarded the Trypillian culture to be part
of the autochthonous culture of ancient Aryans or Slavs,
dating back to the 4th-3rd millennium BC. Other scientists
maintain that Trypillia is a distinct culture. This
debate has continued into present with the understanding
that Aryans, Slavs and Trypillians may have common roots
or are closely connected.
Vikentiy Khvoika continued
his excavations in 1899-1900 near the villages of Romashky
and Cherniakhiv in the Kyiv region. There he discovered
burial grounds from the 3rd-4th centuries, which belonged
to another distinct and previously unknown archeological
culture. This society existed during Roman times, later
was named the Cherniakhiv culture.
During the same time
period, his excavations of burial grounds near the village
of Zarubyntsi brought about a discovery of yet another
culture, which received the name - Zarubynetska. This
culture is considered now to be an early Slavic culture.
Khvoika investigated burial mounds in and around Kyiv.
These sites date from the Bronze and Early Iron Ages.
He performed excavations in the center of Kyiv in 1907-08
and discovered ancient foundations, a pagan sanctuary,
and a mass grave of Kyivites who died during the Mongol
invasion in 1240 A.D.
During the last years
of his life, this extraordinary scientist devoted his
efforts to the archeological investigations of an ancient
Rus city around the town of Bilohorodka near Kyiv.
Vikentiy Khvoika played
an important role as a founder of the Museum of Antiquities
and Arts in Kyiv (currently the National Museum of History
of Ukraine), which opened in 1899. He was the first
curator of its archaeological department. This museum
still preserves items discovered during this scientist's
Vikentiy Khvoika was
a full member of 11 scientific societies, among which
were the: Moscow Imperial Archaeological Society, Odesa
Imperial Society of History and Antiquities, Kyiv Society
for Protection of Monuments of Antiquity and Arts. He
was also a member and employee of the Russian Archaeological
Institute in Constantinople. He published twenty works,
which constitute most of Vikentiy Khvoika's creative
heritage. He is the author of the following treatises:
The Stone Age of Middle Prydniprovia; Burial Fields
in Middle Prydniprovia; The 1901 Excavations of Trypillian
Culture; Townships of Middle Prydniprovia; The Beginning
of Arable Farming and Bronze Age in Middle Prydniprovia;
The Funeral Rite with Incineration and its Ancientness;
Ancient Residents of Middle Prydniprovia and Their Culture
in Prehistoric Times (Based on Excavations).
heritage of Vikentiy Khvoika's work is immense. His
archeological discoveries and his research have become
the foundation for further studies of Ukraine's prehistoric
past, starting with the Stone Age up to the times of