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VITA ANTIQUA                                                                                     ISSN 2522-9419 (Online), 2519-4542 (Print)
Center for Paleoethnological Research

Serhii Telizhenko¹
The War in Ukraine: new challenges for archaeology
1Insitute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

DOI: 10.37098/VA-2023-14-24-35


As a result of the Russian aggression, which began in 2014, hundreds, if not thousands, of cultural heritage sites were destroyed or damaged to one degree or another. Against this background, the objects of archaeological heritage, which include settlements, hillforts, barrows, burial mounds (kurgans), etc., stand out. Work on collecting information on damaged archaeological sites began back in 2014. In 2016, after a monitoring mission to study the state of archaeological heritage in the war zone within the territory of Luhansk region, information began to be collected somewhat more actively. Starting from February 2022, when even more Ukrainian territory was subjected to military action, even more archaeological heritage sites were damaged or completely destroyed. Identification and analysis of cases related to the destructive impact of the war on the archaeological heritage is the main task for the near future. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop methodological recommendations. The publication proposes the allocation of three conditional groups of locations of archaeological heritage objects:

group A - objects in the zone of cessation of hostilities or in the zone of active hostilities in the unoccupied territory (controlled by Ukraine);

group B - objects in the zone close to the front line, military operations were not carried out, but archaeological objects were damaged by the military (territory controlled by Ukraine);

Group C - objects in the zone where hostilities are no longer taking place, or in the zone of active military operations in the occupied territory.

Given the existing information, a preliminary typology of the nature of damage to archaeological heritage objects was developed, which includes 6 items:

  • Mounds with partially destroyed embankments as a result of shelling (presence of ruptures from explosions);
  • Mounds damaged as a result of the arrangement of protective structures/support and observation point or firing points with the help of machinery or hand tools;
  • Settlements, hillforts, and ground necropolis, on the day surface of which there are ruptures from explosions (the integrity of the object is damaged);
  • Settlements, hillforts, and ground necropolis that were damaged or destroyed as a result of the construction of protective structures;
  • Mined areas;
  • Areas with objects of archaeological heritage allocated for large-scale construction of military infrastructure (Crimean Peninsula). The construction of civil infrastructure in the occupied territories is a topic for a separate study.

In all cases, the degree of damage is indicated separately. The possibility of supplementing or correcting the data is not excluded, since the research process is at the stage of development. It also offers 4 ways of obtaining information about the facts of the destruction of archaeological heritage sites, including private messages, monitoring of social networks and specialized forums, visual monitoring, and research of satellite images.




Cite as:

Telizhenko, S. 2023. Viina v Ukraini: novi vyklyky dlia arkheolohii (The War in Ukraine: new challenges for archaeology). VITA ANTIQUA, 14. Culture Heritage and the War : challenges and solutions.


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