Name by which a region of the ancient world is known which in the course of history, as a consequence of the progressive expansion of the state formed by the Russians of Moscow in the century. XV, formerly heir to Kijev’s Russia, gradually expanded to include a large part of the European section of what would later become the Soviet Union and, in Asia, all of Siberia. In the most ancient sense, the term Russia corresponded to the Russian Empire; today the Russian Federation is identified with this term. Here, however, we prefer to give this term its own historical value. In Russian, Rossija.
The prehistoric times, since the most remote times, have left deep and numerous testimonies on the Russian territory. The remains of the oldest settlements, referable to the Paleolithic, are mostly distributed around the Black Sea and along the lower course of the Don, Dnestr, Dnieper and Volga: among them the prehistoric stations of Kostenki, Borščevo occupy a prominent place., Satani Dar, Tescik Tasc, Kiik Koba; in the latter locality, in the filling soil of a cave, human bone remains of Neanderthal individuals were also collected, associated with remains of Pleistocene fauna of cold weather. However, there are also Paleolithic deposits in the interior, including that of Sungir north of Moscow, from which an intentional burial of high scientific interest comes. Among the sites of the upper Paleolithic some present important prehistoric art manifestations, such as those of Malta in Siberia, Gagarin on the upper course of the Don and Mezin on the course of the Desna, where female ivory statuettes of ritual significance have been found; on the walls of the Kapova cave in the Urals there are expressions of rock art with colorful profiles of wildlife. If the Mesolithic remains can be said to be not very abundant, those of the Neolithic times are much more abundant; it was also possible to outline the areas of diffusion of the first facies of the fifth millennium BC. C., in Moldova and Ukraine. Starting from the fourth millennium a. C. (Chalcolithic old), the situation is different and more complicated, with the appearance of new facies regional in the northwest and the diffusion of elements of the facies of Cucuteni in Romania. In this era, in addition to metallurgy, the domestication of the horse was introduced. At the III millennium a. C., on the other hand, the introduction of the kurgany complex can be dated, also known as the ocrate tombs: native to the region north of the Caspian Sea and the Asian steppes, this culture spread to most of central Europe and the Balkans, giving rise to various local facies. In the Russian Chalcolithic, in addition to the numerous settlements in the southern areas, such as Mariupol on the Sea of Azov, Majkop in the Caucasus, Fatjanovo in the Volga valley, there are also centers far inland, such as those of Tripolje near Kijev and of Kitoj and Glazkovo in Siberia. Some Russian populations played a decisive role in the spread of metallurgy, first of copper and then of bronze, whose centers of origin can be identified among the skilled Caucasian artisans, as well as among the people of the Andronovo culture settled at the foot of the Ural mountains and in the Volga valley. Among the best-known locations that saw Bronze Age cultures flourish are those of Afanasevo in Siberia, Borodino in Ukraine, Kajakent on the Caspian Sea, where the processing of both clay and metal products reached a high degree of technical perfection and artistic.
The high burial mounds of the various Scythian populations, widespread since the century. VII to III a. C. especially in the regions of the Dnieper, in the Caucasus and in the Crimea they have given funerary objects with bronzes, goldsmiths and worked woods adorned with individually stylized zoomorphic figures. Numerous Sarmatic mounds have been excavated in the Volga, North Caucasus, Don and Dnieper region; the animalistic style of the grave goods, close to the Scythian one (but without Greek influences) in the oldest mounds of the Volga region, appears later replaced by often abstract motifs (see Sarmatians). In addition to the Scythian Sarmatic materials and the most significant archaeological finds are those of the Greek colonies of the Black Sea coast. They remember Olbia, Panticapeo (today Kerč) and Chersonese (Eraclea) in Crimea, and also Fanagoria, Kepoi, Tanais (today Azov) built in the Hellenistic period at the mouth of the Don; the finds from the Hellenistic period are particularly rich (polychrome plastic vases known as Kerč, clay statuettes, goldsmiths). On the shores of the Caucasus are the ruins of the Roman fortified city of Pizio, today Pizunda, while other Hellenistic and Roman centers are in eastern Georgia (Metechi). In Armenia the excavations of the urartean city of Karmir Blur, of Armavir (acropolis and sanctuary of Armenian gods) and of the fortress of Garni are important., summer residence of the Armenian kings. Also noteworthy are the remains of Nisa, an ancient fortified city of the Parthians, rich in monumental temples. In Asian Russia, the most important archaeological finds are those of the great tumuli of Altai, in which the perennial ice has sometimes also preserved objects of wood, leather, felt, cloth, or even the tattooed bodies of the deceased, belonging to nomadic populations or semi-nomads of various races. The exceptional objects found, decorated in animalistic style and datable above all to the sec. IV-III a. C., fall within the so-called Scythian-Siberian art. The materials are at the Ermitage, where is also the so-called Treasury of Peter the Great, probably also coming from Siberian mounds, with melted gold plates, mostly in pairs, adorned with fighting animals and even human figures. The Minusinsk basin in southern Siberia has given remains of settlements and burial mounds with many bronzes from the mid-1st millennium BC. C. about; the figures of animals are particularly realistic but poorer than those of Altai.