The Russian Collection of Antiquities in Jerusalem: A First Reconstruction

Yana Tchekhanovets, Leonid Belyaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents the current state of knowledge about the collection of antiquities gathered by Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) during his service as the Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem between the 1870s and the 1890s. Similar to other 19th century collections gathered by European institutions in the Levant, this extensive collection contained many epigraphic finds, coins, and various archeological objects dated mainly to the Roman and Byzantine periods. The jewels within the collection have long been identified and published and a few are exhibited today in Russian and Israeli museums; other objects have either disappeared or are, even now, still inaccessible for study. The collection remains a blank spot in modern research and is overgrown with rumors regarding its composition and preservation state. Notwithstanding, photographs and archival documentation of the finds make it possible to reconstruct the composition of the collection and create a kind of virtual catalog. The progress of archeological research in the Holy Land facilitates the attribution of the finds to their original historical and cultural context and the identification of forgeries. Reconstructing archaeological contexts from 19th century excavations in a broader scope is crucial for studying archaeological research in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-620
JournalLiber Annuus
StatePublished - Jan 2022


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