By Petr Sorokin
Published Online (2002)
Introduction: The investigations of the waterways, which were based on the interpretation of written sources, started in the 19th century. Taking as a basis the chronicles and landscape-archaeological investigations, Z. D. Hodakovsky in the article “Means of communication in ancient Russia” (1837) gave a detailed description of the north-western waterways: by the Velikaya River to the Pskovskoye and the Chudskoe lakes and to the Narva River; by the Luga; by the Volkhov, the Ladoga Lake to the Neva River. The place of these ways in the system of the ancient Russian communications is considered in the fundamental book by N. P. Zagoskin “The waterways and shipbuilding of pre-Peter Russia”, which was published in 1910. Since the 19th century, the problems of the organisation of the waterways service and control-system are discussed in the historiography. During the investigation of the documents of Novgorodian-Hanseatic league trade, M. Berezlikov concluded that the combined cargo transportations had existed on the Volkhov-Ladoga-Neva waterway: the separate parts of this way were to be passed by different types of vessels. Taking as a basis the Scandinavian sagas and archaeological finds from Staraya Ladoga, E. A. Rydzevskaya supposed this system had been formed in the Viking epoch.