The Department of Archeology and Special Historical Disciplines appeared after the reorganization in 2001. It is a successor of the Department of Archeology, Ethnography and Auxiliary Historical Disciplines established on 13 October 1973. Professor Eduard Zagorulsky was the founder and the Head of the Department for 24 years. He is an Honoured Employe of Higher School of the Republic of Belarus Since 1997 Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor Aleksandr Egoreichenko has been in charge of the Department.
Professors Eduard Zagorulsky and Elena Kalechits; Associate Professors Aleksandr Egoreichenko, Alla Vaganova, Mecheslav Chernyavsky, Aleksandr Grusha, Marina Elinskaya, Irina Kolobova work at the Department.
Professor E.M. Zagorulsky and Associate Professor Alla Vaganova have worked at the Department from the moment of its foundation till the present day. Professor Mikhail Pilipenko. Associate Professors Pavel Tereshkovich, Vladimir Medyanik, Tadeush Novogrodsky and others were among the Department’s staff before the reorganization in 2001.
Doctor of Historical Sciences Valentin Ryabtsevich worked at the Department since its foundation till his death on 29 May 2008. Among the first lecturers was Alaksandr Stukanov who had taught paleography to the students from 1983 till 2005. A young talented Lecturer Viktor Obuhovsky, the specialist in the sphere of Palaeolith and Mesolite periods, worked at the Department from 2004 – 2007. He researched the site of the final Palaeolith Kovaltsy-4.
The leading specialists in the sphere of archaeology and anthropology from the National Academy of Sciences are annually invited by the Department to deliver lectures. Among them: Doctor of Sciences Lidia Tegako, Candidates of Historical Sciences Yurii Zayats, Valentina Vergey and Oleg Iov, etc.
The spectrum of scientific interests of the Department staff is extremely broad: the ethnogenesis and the early history of the Slavs, the Iron Age and the early Middle Ages on the territory of Belarus, numismatics, sphragistics, heraldry, paleography, etc. They have published a number of important scientific monographs (Eduard Zagorulsky “Ancient History of Belarus. Essays on the Ethnic History and Material Culture till 9th century”, “Origin of Minsk”, “Beginning of Formation of the Belarusian Territory”, “Vishchin Castle”, etc.; Alexandr Egoreichenko “The Oldest Settlements of the Belarusian Polesye”, “Cultures of the Hatching ceramics”; Valentin Ryabtsevich “What coins speak about”, “Numismatics of Belarus”, “Russian – Polish Monetary Emission in Peter I Epoch”; Michael Chernyavsky “Late Stone Age in the Region of the River Neman in Belarus”, “Ancient Miners upon River Ros”, etc.). The scholars of the Department actively participated in writing of the prominent generalizing works. Eduard Zagorulsky is the author of the chapters in the “History of the BSSR” and the “History of the Belarusian Peasantry”, A.A. Egoreichenko of “Archaeologies of Belarus”, Valentin Ryabtsevich of “Studies on Archaeology of Belarus”, Michael Chernyavsky “Studies on Archaeology of Belarus”, “Archaeology of Belarus”, “History of the Belarusian Art”.
Annually the scholars of the Department organize and conduct archaeological practical work of the students of the History Faculty during which both scientific and teaching methodological objectives are fulfilled. Archaeological excavations were carried out in Minsk, Kopys and Rogachev. Eduard Zagorulsky has successfully investigated the early feudal Vishchin Castle during the excavation of which the unique money and art treasure of the XII – XIII c. had been found on the territory of Belarus. Archaeological researches were conducted on the ancient settlements of the Iron Age and the early Middle Ages: Zazony, Ivan’, Kisteni, Knyaginin, Malyshki, Streshin, Strochitsy, Ratyunki, Torilovo, etc.) and also on the burial mounds of the X – XIII c. (Gadilovichi, Vetochka, Vishenki, Navry, Novoselki, Uklya, Tsagelnya, Harchichi, etc.). Since 2005 the expedition of the Department has carried out the research of the monument of the final Palaeolith Kovaltsy-4 situated in Grodno region. Archaeological excavations took place in the settlement of the Bronze Age Osovets and in the mines of Krasnoselsk. Numerous artefacts characterizing various aspects and periods of the ancient history of Belarus were found in the process of archaeological excavations.
These materials became the basis for creation of the archaeological exposition of the biggest university museum of history in our Republic. One more numismatic exposition appeared on the base of the coin collection of IV century B.C – XVIII c., which was presented to the University by Valentin Ryabtsevich. The museum expositions and treasures are widely used during the academic process. The first manuals and textbooks on archaeology, palaeography and historical study of local lore have been written by the Department scholars for the students of the higher educational establishments: Eduard Zagorulsky “Archaeology of Belarus”, “Western Russia of IX-XIII c.”, Alexandr Grusha “Belarusian Cyrillic palaeography”, a group of authors “Historical local lore of Belarus”.
The Department staff maintains close relations with colleagues from scientific research centres and higher educational establishments of Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Warsaw, Krakov, Stockholm and Kiev. Since 2005 the students of the Department specialization have participated in excavations carried out in Sweden (Gotland) within the joint project REACH-2. The Swedish students took part in the archaeological expedition of the History Faculty of the BSU at the settlement of Ratyunki in Braslav district, Vitebsk region in 2005-2006.
Obtaining a good resource base, the Department offers the holding of investigation of the zones for ground and constructing works for discovering and fixation of archaeological artifacts and when necessary their archaeological study for juridical and natural persons on the economic-contractual basis.