Moscow is an amazing city. It is a 21st century city, partly globalized, partly local. Like most major modern cities in the world. The skyline is Manhattan, the coffee is southern Europe, and the subway is London. But there are also many things that are quit unique; the art, the history, the culture, much of the architecture, and most of the food. All that is Russia. And what a Russia it is, that can present appearances like the Red Square framed by Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin, the Historical Museum, and GUM. As in most major cities with a large contingent of international visitors, there are small local souvenirs for sale. Here it is postcards of the most famous icons, chess-boards, and matryoshka-dolls. Yes, those matryoshka-dolls, which you can open and find a smaller one inside. And when that one opens there is yet a smaller one inside. And inside of that one there is yet a smaller one.
Maria, Maria, and Maja preparing for sampling
This is also applicable to the storage at the Institute of Archaeology at the Russian Academy of Science. First there is a big box, and inside this box there are several smaller boxes, and in those there are yet several smaller boxes, and in those are the materials. The materials that hopefully will contain DNA and stable isotopes and eventually bring us knowledge on what happened in this large part of the world that today is Russia. A good thing with working with material that was excavated some time ago and have been stored since is that it usually is well published. And a good thing with working with Maria Dobrovolskaya and Maria Mednikova is that they are well read up on all these publications, and wrote some of them themselves. It is a pleasure to work with experts as professional and competent as these two women. People who have the uttermost knowledge on both the cultural history and the excavational and storage history of the materials. When those two are on board, we can focus on the genomics, and rest assure that the archaeology and osteology are in good hands.
Maria, Maja, and the boxes