The Other Kind of Deep History

June 7th, 2009

STARAYA LADOGA, LENINGRAD REGION, RUSSIA–This place, known as “Old Ladoga” is where the Russian state began.  It is an important trade junction situated on the Volkhov River not far from where it enters Lake Ladoga.  The Viking roots of this country are dramatically evident in a series of eighth to tenth century burial mounds on both banks of the river.

Viking burial mounds along the Volkhov River.

Viking burial mounds along the Volkhov River.

One of these mounds, the largest, is reputed to be the grave of Oleg, the most vigorous of the earliest rulers.  I couldn’t help juxtaposing it with an image of a German World War II helmet we found nearby.  The hand of history lies heavy on this fertile land with broad rivers and no other natural defenses.

Oleg's Mound (reputedly), and a German World War II helmet found in the woods nearby.

Oleg's Mound (reputedly), and a German World War II helmet found in the woods nearby.

This site was fortified for centuries.  The current manifestation is the Ladoga Fortress from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ladoga Fortress.

Ladoga Fortress.

It protected a river crossing and controlled navigation on the lower Volkhov.  Unfortunately virtually all of the original fortress was destroyed in WWII, so what you see above is a reconstruction based on pre-war maps and photographs.

One Response to “The Other Kind of Deep History”

  1. Steve Dornboson 13 Aug 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Looks like that German soldier met a gruesome end. Cool viking burial mounds!

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply