12 January 2017 – 31 May 2017
Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk, ul. Mariacka 25/26
For almost a century – from the mid-19th century till the outbreak of World War II – artefacts from the area of present-day Ukraine were added to the collection of the Archaeological Museum in Krakow. Accidental finds and materials discovered during archaeological excavations were donated by Poles living in Volhynia, Red Ruthenia, Podolia, Bratslav and Kiev provinces, as well as scientists from Krakow who conducted research there. They helped to create the archaeology of Ukraine and contributed to expanding the knowledge concerning the prehistory and medieval period of the lands on the Dniester and Dnieper.
Ukraine is almost completely located on the East European Plain. There are no barriers there which would make intercultural contacts impossible, and the network of rivers criss-crossing it almost favours such relations. There are, however, visible differences connected with the climate – in the south-east of the country there stretches the Great Steppe connected by a stretch of forest-steppe with the zone of deciduous and coniferous forests situated in the north-west. Bio-diversity largely contributed to cultural diversity – in the course of history the cultures of both settled farmers and nomadic shepherds could be found in Ukraine. Traces of the past, discovered by archaeologists, reveal that all the ancient peoples were subject to mutual influences. An example of this and a particular crowning achievement of the centuries - old sequence of cultures on the Dnieper and Dniester was the "Sarmatian civilisation" of the First Polish Republic in which the West assimilated numerous elements of the Orient.
"Ukraine in the remote past" displays masterpieces made by man during the period encompassing six millennia – from the stunningly beautiful artefacts of the Trypillian proto-civilisation and Neolithic stone weapons, ornaments and weaponry from the Bronze Age, antique pottery from Panticapaeum, objects once belonging to Scythians, Sarmatians, Goths and Cumans and the wealth of items manufactured in Old Rus', to late-medieval and modern-day finds. The exhibition is complemented by almost artistic illustrations from the nineteen-century archaeological publications and short texts with plentiful quotations from the works of ancient authors: Herodotus, Jordanes, Nestor and others.
The exhibition commemorates the people who, all those years ago, became interested in the past and donated its relics to the Archaeological Museum in Krakow. It is to acquaint those living nowadays with the cultural diversity and wealth of Ukraine – the great neighbour of Poland. The multitude of artefacts reflects the tastes from a century ago when exhibitions were far from minimal. Its mono-chromatic palette alludes to century-old photographs. Thus, showing the "concrete items" from the past in a retro way, the exhibition should offer a respite from the overwhelming fashion for virtualisation.
The exhibition presents objects from the collections of the Archaeological Museum in Cracow.
Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk
ul. Mariacka 25/26