Tarkhansky Ostrog of the 17th−18th centuries: a study based on the materials of geophysical and archaeological research of 2020−2021  

Zakh V.A., Rafikova T.N.




              page 7184




The paper is aimed to introduce into scientific discourse materials of the research of 20202021 which confirm the earlier conjecture on the location of the Tarkhansky Ostrog as on the butte at the confluence of the Tobol and Tap Rivers. The results of the geophysical surveys and excavations on the area of 168 sqm provided conclusive evidence towards the correctness of the preliminary argument on the location of the Ostrog and attribution of the materials of the early modern period to one of the first fortresses of the end of the 16th beginning of the 17th centuries in the Lower Tobol River area. Uncovered remains of a palisade ditch and a wall, alongside the geomagnetic data and written sources, allow estimation of the shape and size of the burgh. Apparently, it had a subrectangular area of 1400 to 2000 sqm. The discovery of the palisade ditch provided the opportunity to render the location of the outpost and position of the turrets (the fortress with a wooden palisade and two turrets) at the western wall of the burgh which defended the less sloped, thus underprotected, as compared to the opposite, edge of the butte. The cutting by the palisade ditch of the remains of a thermal engineering structure with Russian ware in the filling and a series of bronze decorations shows that the chronology of the butte occupations and its stratigraphy, even within the Russian period, were significantly more complex than it appeared on the basis of only the written sources. A series of posts, probably belonging to the fence (wall?), with some of the associated pits disturbed by the palisade ditch and thermal engineering structure, belong to an object of an earlier period. It is not implausible that the remains of the fence-wall belong to the Tatars settlement of Tarkhan-Kala, whose location was associated by G.F. Miller with the Russian burgh positioned not far from the estuary of the Tura River, on the south-eastern side of the Tobol River. A representative pottery complex, comprising the fragments of at least 156 vessels, likely of the local produce, alongside the shards of Chinese porcelain ware, was unearthed in the excavation ditch of 2021. Some shards of glassware were found. Among the iron tools, noteworthy are a spadeiron, broken knives, a key, an arrowhead, hinges, a bracer, fishhooks, stab awls, sewing needles, and nails of various sizes. Of the bronze items, notable are a chest handle, an onlay, bronze decorations, lead bullets, and coins. Clay fishing weights and honing stones, alongside the aforementioned items, shed light on the occupations of the burgh residents. The complex of the obtained data allows conclusion on the viability of further investigation of the outpost: its layout and lifestyle, and material culture of its inhabitants during the period from the 17th to the middle of the 18th century.

Key words: Western Siberia, the Lower Tobol region, the confluence of the Tobol and Tap, the Tarkhansky Ostrog of the 17th the middle of the 18th century, written sources, geophysical and archaeological research, artifact complex.



Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 03.03.2021

Article is published: 15.06.2022


Zakh V.A., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail: viczakh@mail.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3635-5933


Rafikova T.N., Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation, E-mail: TNRafikova@yandex.ru, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6939-1180