In the Ukrainian Forest-Steppe there is a unique archaeological phenomenon – giant settlements, the area of which reaches from several hundred to several thousand hectares. Their appearance is associated with a new page in the history of these lands – early Scythian times. One of such settlements is Nemyriv, located in the Southern Bug River region, near Nemyriv city in the modern Vinnytsia Region. It is not the largest in area – only about 123 hectares, but it is the most western of the giant settlements, and, apparently due to its geographical location, has a unique material culture, which makes it a bright reference of the syncretic Scythian Forest-Steppe and the so-called Hallstatt culture.
Its earthen fortifications are located on both banks of the Myrka River, which divides the settlement into two unequal parts: a larger northern, high-altitude one, which occupies 2/3 of the monument’s area, and a smaller southern, sloping and swampy one. Inside, on the high northern part of the settlement, there is an internal fortification – the so-called “castle”. The settlement here originated in the Eneolithic, the system of fortifications was created in the Early Iron Age, and re-settled in Roman times and in the Middle Ages.
The Nemyriv settlement has attracted the attention of a number of researchers since the beginning of archaeological science. You can get acquainted with the comprehensive history of research and their results in a recent monograph by a team of St. Petersburg authors.
And the beginnings of professional research of this archaeological pearl of Podillia are connected with the name of S.S. Hamchenko, who in 1909 was sent by the Imperial Archaeological Commission to Podilsk province to study clay areas of Trypillia culture, but was given an additional task – to inspect the settlement near Nemyriv city and to control the affairs in the fight against the treasure-hunting excavations organized by the locals. He also had to conduct prospecting excavations at the settlement, which were financed by Countess Shcherbatova, a patron, being very interested in discovering treasures on her lands. S.S. Hamchenko, in addition to the remains of the inhabitants of Trypillia culture, discovered several burials here, which allowed him to assume the presence of a mound on the central fortification, that he called “Shcherbatov settlement”, for more detailed research of which A.A. Spitsyn with their students came here in 1910 and continued the works.
Today, all materials from the excavations of S.S. Hamchenko at Nemyriv settlement are stored in the funds of the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg; there are also some archival documents, including folders with illustrations (NA of the IHMC of the RAS. Fund 1. Case No. 85 a-e. 1909). And in the library of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences there is a manuscript of his work of 1911 “Archaeological research in 1909 in Podillia on Trypillia culture” (Code 2703), a draft of which is presented to your attention in this fund. We also have diaries from excavations, notes, sketches dedicated to the settlement and some other related documents.