Excavations reveal remarkable artefacts now on housed in Novgorod Museum
When the settlements of the Slavic nobility changed, both Scandinavians and Slavs moved to Novgorod in the late 10th century, as dated by dendrochronology.
The streets and houses were made of wood and, incredibly, survived, providing excellent dating evidence.
Two Russian chronicles date Novgorod's founding to 859 and 862, but these seem to be later insertions.
Kremlin and Cathedral
The settlement sat astride the river. The Sofia Bank, on the west side, had a kremlin in the centre and was surrounded by a rampart during the 10th and 11th centuries.
The cathedral of Sofia was built in the 11th century.
The east bank was the Merchantsi Bank which was also defended in the Viking period. Merchants from Visby, Gotland, which was the most significant trading centre in the Baltic region, established a trading post at Novgorod, which they call Gutegard.
Excavation and Artefacts
Excavation of Novgorod has uncovered spectacularly well-preserved artefacts, including wood, textiles, leather and other organic materials.
They include a collection of about 700 letters written on birch bark in the Cyrillic alphabet, which developed in Bulgaria in the 9th century and includes merchants’ notes, receipts, business letters and personal letters. Other finds included children’s toys, musical instruments and furniture.
This remarkable collection is housed in Novgorod Museum.