Melitopol museum of local history, Melitopol, Ukraine
Title: Valentyn Danylenko and Melitopol region: the first steps to the big science
Paper Type: Research Paper
City, Country: Melitopol, Ukraine
Authors: R. Klochko
Melitopol museum of local history
The scientist Valentyn Danylenko is the well-known person as both in Ukrainian and in the world archaeology. His monographs have been still important nowadays. But we know nothing about his activity in youth. This work highlights this period of his life and shows the relations between scientist and his native land in his further career. Valentyn Danylenko began his career in Melitopol museum of local history in 1932. Since that time he had been interested in archaeology and participated in many archaeological expeditions in Ukraine, researching many archaeological sites. After World War II he became a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the USSR, but he did not interrupt relations with his native land until his death, researching the Stone Grave – the most unique site of nature and archaeology in the world. Valentyn Danylenko made a great contribution to the study of Stone Grave and its emergence as a reserve.
1. Danylenko V.M. (1986). Stone Grave. Kyiv: Scientific thought.
2. Danilenko Valentin Nikolaevich (1983). Soviet archeology, № 2, 319-320.
3. Danylenko M.V. (2013). Valentin Nikolaevich Danilenko. Life of the archaeologist. Kyiv: The centre of textbooks.
4. Gavrylyuk N.O. (1996). Danylenko Valentyn Mykolayovych. Dictionary-reference book of archaeology, 395.
5. Kruglov S. (1934). The new burial is found. Soviet steppe, №116, 2.
6. Myhaylov B.D. (2006). Stone Grave and its surroundings. Zaporizhya: Wild field. Obolduyeva T.H. (1947). Sarmatian mounds near Melitopol. Archaeological sites of USSR, Vol.IV, 43-46.
7. The order book of Melitopol museum of local history (1941). Melitopol.
8. Timofeev V.M. (2009). Review of archaeological collection of Melitopol museum of local history. Melitopol.
9. Yurenko S.P. (2004). Danylenko Valentyn Mykolayovych. Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine, Vol.2, 287.
The scientific legacy of Valentin Danilenko has been well-known to the public. His monograph devoted to the Neolithic and Eneolithic sites of Ukraine has remain relevant nowadays. However, the first Danilenko`s steps in the archaeological science and their influence on its follow-up has almost become uninvestigated.
The information about Melitopol period of his life is pretty short. There are a very few sources about it. By the 2013 we have only one his biography compiled by his son Miroslav V.Danilenko and presented at the opening of the conference «Northern Azov in the era of the Stone Age – Chalcolithic» (Danylenko, 2013).
It expands our knowledge about his life before World War II, but contains a very few information about his scientific activity in Melitopol. Reference books contain even less information about him. For example, article in 2nd volume of the «Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine» have only laconical information such as his place of birth, years of study and work in Melitopol museum of local history (Yurenko, 2004). «Dictionary-reference book of archaeology» informs us only about his work in Institute of Archaeology (Gavrulyuk et al, 1996). Another problem is the aforementioned reference books have no reference to the source. The only reference to an article in one of the issues of the magazine «Soviet archaeology» is incorrect (Soviet archaeology, 1983).
The purpose of this publication is to highlight the first steps of V.M.Danylenka in archeology while working in Melitopol museum of local history (hereinafter – MMLH) and its future relations with the homeland.Source base of study is based on the order book of MMLH, museum inventory card-file and mentions about research of V.M.Danylenko in Melitopol region in his books and scientific works by other authors.
- The scientific activity of Valentyn Danylenko
His career began in MMLH November 10, 1932 as head of the Department of Polytechnic when he was 19 years old (The order book, 1941).Director of museum at that time was a local historian I.P.Kurylo-Krymchak, who was just over 10 years old than V. Danilenko. The founder of the institution, equally known local historian and archaeologist D.Ya.Serdyukov had also worked there as a secretary. Perhaps familiarity with such a man, though very short, contributed to his later becoming an archaeologist.
His first coming as a scientist did not stay long. For the next order at number 17 on December 16, 1932 you can find the information that he applied to be released from his duties as head of Polytechnic part (The order book, 1941). Is he retired from the museum at all – is unknown. The next mention about V.Danylenko is in order № 14 of December 5, 1933, indicating he was appointed “as assistant of the museum with the duties of guardian” since December 1, 1933 (The order book, 1941). However, he did not stay long here again. According to order № 1 on January 16, 1934 he was dismissed for “systematic absenteeism and inability to cope with his responsibilities”(The order book, 1941). It seems difficult to say how systematically he violated the labor discipline because other documents of the museum did not survive. As far as order book it shows a fairly strict style of I.Kurylo-Krymchak’s management. It is full of orders of dismissal and disciplinary sanctions imposed by director.
After release of I.Kurylo-Krymchak in December 1934 as a “bourgeois nationalist” V.Danylenko reappeared in the museum. In January 1935 he was appointed to the post of head of the department of pre-capitalist formations with the salary of 200 rubles per month (The order book, 1941). This time he worked at the museum for much longer – up to June 1936. There is only one case of violation of labor discipline recorded to the order book. In March 1936 V.M.Danylenko was put on view for “frivolous relation to his responsibilities” and inventing “various experiments with flint and other museum exhibits” (The order book, 1941). Obviously, the administration of the museum simply did not understand the motives of his experiments – it is possible that V.Danylenko engaged those research areas, which are now called experimental archeology. On the whole, records in the order book testifies that new chief treated him with more respect: this shows at least that in May and August 1935 acting director M.I . Sobol, departing on a business trip, left him as a deputy (The order book, 1941).
Direct and indirect information about V.Danylenko’s activities at this time can be found both in his own book “Kam’yana Mohyla”, the later reports of other authors and even in Melitopol press 30s.He says the following: “In 1932, this writer, then research worker of Melitopol museum of local history, found a short notice of inspection of Stone Grave by M.I.Veselovsky in the the Archaeological Commission report for 1893 and studying of this site became one of the areas of the museum.By the 1934 about ten places with traces of images and settlements to the east of Stone Grave had already known” (Danylenko, 1986).He led the fieldwork and elsewhere.At newspaper “Soviet steppe” in 1934 reported that on May 19 V.Danylenko on behalf of Local History Society at miskplan and Museum began excavations of the burial ground near the village Voznesenka (now Melitopol district).Burial was family. The previous study of skeletons gave evidence it made about 3,000 years ago (Kruglov, 1934). During 1934-1935 V.M.Danylenko held another excavation – at Novo Pylypivka village Melitopol district, near the Stone Grave.There were collective burial places, located on the bank of the Molochnaya river.Apparently, it belonged to the Sarmatian time and contained three skeletons: men, women and children also.Funerary equipment included iron arrow heads, bronze bracelets with thick wire biconical bulges at the ends, heshyr, polishes, glass beads, small bronze mirror smooth, silvered bronze cruciform fibula, dagger, four earthen vessels, including zoomorphic jug with handle and linear patterns, quern and bits.These finds persisted in Melitopol museum and died during the German occupation.1947, based on the information on these excavations provided Danilenko, the employee of the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR T.H.Obolduyeva conducted a study Sarmatian burial mounds near the Melitopol (Oboldueva, 1947).
Another researcher, B.D.Myhaylov reported about the finds of dilapidated Hun time burial at Kiziyarskiy ravine, researched in the early 1930s in one of his publications.There was found 20 large amber beads, a massive gold ring with cross shield decorated with inlays of agate and ruby, as well as fragments of brown molded receptacle, mixed with fireclay in batter, decorated by circular pockets on the rim.The remains of the vessel resembled a kitchen ceramics of late Zarubinetska culture.He also got information from V.Danylenko (B.D.Myhaylov, 2006).
Order book of MMLH also contains some information about the activities of young researcher. In May 1936 he twice went on a mission “for the study of the land.”From 4 to 12th June he was at the conference “Industrial strength of Azov region” in Dnepropetrovsk, and from 12 to 16 June he was sent to the Priazovsky district “for inspection of cemetery found during the excavations of gas parties”(The order book, 1941).
June 20, 1936 V.Danylenko left the museum on his own (The order book, 1941). Notifications of his career in the last prewar years are rather contradictory. Scientist reported that in 1938 he participated in excavations in the Stone Grave as participant of the Azov-Black Sea expedition led by O.M.Bader as an employee of MMLH. Prior to the commencement of work he was able to open a multi-layered settlement located to the south of this site (Danylenko, 1986). As mentioned already the 2nd volume of the “Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine” reported that in 1936-1939 V.Danylenko was an employee of the museum in city of Valday (modern Novgorod region, Russia) (Yurenko, 2004). His son states that V. Danylenko returned to Melitopol from Valday in 1937 and recommenced his work in MMLH. Unfortunately, there were no orders in order book of museum for this period, so his statement cannot be confirmed documentally.
After end of World War II V.Danylenko became a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology of the USSR, where he worked for the rest of his life.However, the relationships between him and the museum, and Melitopol region did not interrupt.Already in 1947, led the Azov expedition he resumed the study of Stone Grave. In 1952, he returned here as participant of Melitopol-Terpinniya expedition led by M.Rudynsky, exploring Mammoth Grotto (Danylenko, 1986).
His good memory enabled him to help his former colleagues from MMLH in the postwar years.During the German occupation of almost the entire museum collection was lost, and the museum had to be created virtually from scratch.However, reading the fund, Danilenko was able to identify some museum objects which survived the war. They were products from Melitopol rural county agricultural exhibition in 1898. These are the entries in the inventory card storage group “Things” by the numbers 551, 552, 553.It is possible that some archaeological finds, such as: stone hammer and pestle of carcass culture, quern of Sarmatian time, stone of Doukhobors, dated 1840s and the sculpture of “Khazar horse” of the 10th century were determined by V.Danylenko as things from the pre-war funds (Timofeev, 2009).
As for the Stone Grave, the study of this monument became to V.M.Danylenko the work of his life.He worked here since 1969 as a chief of Azov expedition of Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. During the work he opened new tips and a few hundred images.The outcome of the researcher was the monograph “Stone Grave” which was published in 1986, after his death (Danylenko, 1986).In this book, he not only analyzes the results of the excavations of monuments and its environs, but also makes proposals for the preservation of Stone Grave and hopes that eventually it will turn into an active reserve.Today we can confidently say that this is an outstanding scientist hopes are embodied in life.National historical-archeological reserve “Stone Grave” became a reality.
The studied sources allow us to conclude that scientific activity of V. Danilenko was associated with archaeological sites of Melitopol region since the first years of his career. He was interested in different periods of archaeology but the Stone Grave became the one of major streams of his researches just in that time. The work in Melitopol museum of local history played the important role in his becoming as a scientist.
- Danylenko V.M. (1986). Stone Grave. Kyiv: Scientific thought.
- Danilenko Valentin Nikolaevich (1983). Soviet archeology, № 2, 319-320.
- DanylenkoV. (2013). Valentin Nikolaevich Danilenko.Life of the archaeologist. Kyiv: The centre of textbooks.
- Gavrylyuk N.O. (1996). Danylenko Valentyn Mykolayovych. Dictionary-reference book of archaeology, 395.
- Kruglov S. (1934). The new burial is found. Soviet steppe, №116, 2.
- Myhaylov B.D. (2006). Stone Graveand its surroundings. Zaporizhya: Wild field. Obolduyeva T.H. (1947). Sarmatian mounds near Melitopol. Archaeological sites of USSR, Vol.IV, 43-46.
- The order book of Melitopol museum of local history (1941). Melitopol.
- Timofeev V.M. (2009). Review ofarchaeological collection of Melitopol museum of local history. Melitopol.
- Yurenko S.P. (2004). Danylenko Valentyn Mykolayovych. Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine, Vol.2, 287.