Cultural Identity of the Russian North Settlers in the 10th – 13th Centuries: Archaeological Evidence and Written Sources
Slavica Helsingiensia, 27, Helsinki (2006)
One of the most critically important phenomena that determined the ethnic map of the North of Eastern Europe in the Modern time was the interaction of the Slavs and the Finns, as now perceived. Proceeding from the concepts of the ethno-cultural history of Eastern Europe, commonly approved by modern scholarship, this interaction may be supposed to have been especially intensive in the 10th – 13th centuries. This interaction was also marked by the wide-scale colonisation of northern territories, important social transformations and the establishment of new state and administrative structures. The ethno-geographic introduction to the Primary Chronicle by the time of compiling the narration calls the Finnish tribes ‘thefirst settlers’ in the towns and lands incorporated into the structure of Northern Rus’ (Polnoe sobranie russkix letopisej I: 10–11; II: 8–9). This information is accompanied by the abundant place-name data which is of Finno-Ugrian origin and which was registered in a major part of northern territories that by the 12th century had been integrated into the Novgorod and Rostov-Suzdal’ lands (Matveev 2001; Matveev 2004). Taken together, these data determine the general content of the ethno-cultural shifts that occurred in the early 2nd millennium AD, but at the same time, give scope to the different interpretations as for the real character of the phenomenon known in the nineteenth century historiography as ‘Slavic colonisation’.