Archaeological summer camp near Veliky Novgorod

A full-immersion into Russian history

Liden & Denz offers an authentic and unique experience combining lessons of Russian medieval history with actual excavation work at Staraya Russa, a wealthy medieval town not far from Veliky Novgorod. Our archaeological volunteers help a team from the Novgorod University to unearth artefacts from the 11th to 15th century!

The excavation sites in and around Novgorod have huge importance for historical studies as they contain a significant number of writings on birch bark dating back to a bygone era. In general, finding written sources in the soil is extremely rare. Not so in Novgorod, where specific geological conditions helped to preserve the birch bark items in the soil for centuries.

Camp and lectures

The field work on the site is held under the supervision of professional archaeologists from the University of Novgorod, who will provide proper training, organise excursions and conduct several lectures on archaeology in the specific context of the Republic of Novgorod during and after the reign of Yaroslav the Wise.

Camp lectures focus on those subjects:

  • Archaeology as science
  • Methods and organisation of archaeological work
  • Rules and regulations at the excavation site
  • Cultural layers and their formation
  • Methods of determining the age of found objects
  • Archaeological remains in the Novgorod region and their historical significance (including excursions).

Camp duration and requirements

The archaeological camp lasts three weeks and is preceded by a two-week module consisting of a Russian language course and relevant lectures on Russian history; this module is compulsory for all volunteers whose lever of Russian is below B1 (A1, A2). The candidates who do not possess any knowledge of Russian must also attend a 6-week General Russian course at any Liden&Denz campus. On the other hand, those whose level of Russian is B1 or above will be exempted from any preparatory course and will be allowed to join the archaeological camp directly.

Your level will be determined through a phone/Skype call after the booking. All participants will receive a certificate by the University of Novgorod. The minimum age is 21.

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Dates and Prices

Dates and Stages Archaeological Summer Camp 2022
Date Duration Stage Notes
TBD 6 weeks Any Russian language course in any Liden & Denz centre. Compulsory for beginners. No high-season supplement charge on tuition.
TBD 2 weeks Russian language course + History module at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg Compulsory for all students below B1 level.
TBD 3 weeks Archaeological summer camp in Staraya Russa

Conditions at the excavation site in Staraya Russa

Archeological field work at the Piatnitska-2 excavation site in Staraya Russa can be physically and mentally demanding. Volunteers sit on makeshift benches and dig through the mud with their hands looking for artefacts made of birch bark, leather, ceramics or metal under the supervision of professional archeologists. The reward comes in artefacts, which are found on a daily basis!

Our volunteers work alongside volunteers from Russian universities, usually from the region. All meals are taken together. Conditions are basic. Sun protection is essential. No work can be conducted during rain showers (this time will be used for lectures and excursions). Work is conducted from Monday-Saturday. Some of the supervisors speak English but all lectures are held in Russian.

Archaeological Summer Camp 2022 Fees
Camp fee* if booked with Russian language course € 1300
Camp only fee* (minimal level B1) € 1650
History module** (2 weeks; 10 lessons) € 360


*Included services: Level assessment by phone/skype, transfer to and from Staraya Russa, single en-suite accommodation in a 3* hotel with breakfast during the 3-week camp stay, all camp meals, lectures and excursions in Staraya Russa.

*Not included: enrolment fee covering visa support and registration, language course fees (check options here) and history module fees (where applicable), accommodation costs in St.Petersburg (check options here).

**Compulsory for all camp volunteers below B1 level. Optional for all other students.