Peter the Great put together Russia's earliest archaeological
collection, largely composed of objects taken from ancient burial mounds in the early 18th
century in Western Siberia and the Altai area by tomb-robbers. Rich items of gold and
silver, the majority in the Scythian-Siberian animal style, are the pride of the
collection, particularly the famed double belt buckles with intricate scenes of animals
fighting fabulous creatures.
In 1715 Count M.P.Gagarin brought 10 objects from Tobolsk province in Siberia to
Peter I, who immediately appreciated the importance of the finds of works by ancient
goldsmiths. He issued edicts to the governors of Russian provinces that they purchase all
ancient and curious objects at the Treasury's expense and send them to his new capital,
St Petersburg. Those first 10 objects are today still the finest part of the collection. A
second group of articles from Siberia was delivered in 1716 and these pieces constitute
the majority in the present collection, over 250 items in all.
If you enjoyed this collection, you might want to also visit the other collections at the State Hermitage Museum.
The Palace of Peter I
6th-5th century BC
5th-4th century BC
Pair of Belt Buckles
4th-3th century BC