It was the official name of the museum built by K. K. Kostsyushko-Valyuzhinich in 1892 on the shore of Karantinnaya (Russian for Quarantine) Bay on the money given by the Imperial Archaeological Commission. These plain buildings were the house of the archaeological finds and the discoverer of the “Russian Troy” himself. It was original intention to make these sheds temporary and to build a new beautiful museum house at their place soon. The Most High Order was given by the Emperor, and military engineer N. I. Tretesskiy developed the project in Byzantine style, but the state treasure did not find enough money to realize it. There are but a few documental description of the Warehouse in documents. It is known that two rooms housed the exposition of antiquities of Chersonesos and, besides, the building incorporated the office of the head of excavations with his library and his living rooms. Several sheds and awnings formed spacious courtyard with a copy of Byzantine basilica constructed of ancient stones and architectonic members and large finds. We know about this and some details of interior of the Warehouse mainly from inventories and accounting reports.

Every story of this period in the history of Chersonesos museum would necessary include complaints of the best finds were sent to St. Petersburg and Moscow thus filling the collections in the State Hermitage and History Museum. Having constantly heard about this, one may imagine that the Warehouse of Local Antiquities possessed nothing worthy of attention, its buildings were hastily constructed cabins, the exposition displayed only what was disdained by metropolitan colleagues. Such thinking would be possible if the photographs of the museum would not survived from that moment. These pictures supply evidences that the collection was rich and beautiful. We can see the abundance of first-class monuments of ancient art and daily life: carved marbles, columns and capitals, sculptures, inscriptions, frescoes, icons, ceramic ware and decorations, all these artefacts did not fit rooms and were placed outdoors, at the walls and under awnings. It is also evident that the artefacts was systematically located, they were grouped in a way that is still used in several museums and is called “the method of placing by collections”. Some photographs represent the charm of this spot: ornaments on ancient slabs and clear graphics of branches and foliage of southern plants make a pleasant combination within the shot thus giving birth to the feeling of harmony. Let us be first visitors to the Warehouse of Antiquities that did not existed since long ago; now we can view as long as we could what our predecessors called “the monuments of dear antiquity”.


Among the photographs in the archive of Chersonesos, there are pictures of the so-called working moments: people engaged in excavation process, inclined heads, bent backs; moving shovels and careful cleaning of what was uncovered. These photographs are so interesting that it would be great to publish them in the future. For now, this page houses other pictures, of man posing against the background of antiquities. The names of these persons are, with the rarest exception, unknown; it is not clear sometimes which relation to Chersonesos did they have and why did they appear in the sight of the lens. Originally we found it interesting to view these persons and to present to our site’s visitors the photos that were never published before because they were not made for scholarly reports, just at odd moments. These pictures portray workers after the excavations, leaning on spades and being proud of their labours, joyful and curious children, priests and monks of Chersonesos monastery, officers and soldiers free from their service, and others. Different people. They are united by their posing for photographer, as in that period it took more time than now. It is probably the reason why photographs appeared much more expressive: a part of human soul had time to leave its trace on silver emulsion.

Making photographs was still rather complicated task, as well as posing for photographs. Photographers unhurriedly removed a lid from the lens and unhurriedly returned it back on place. “Be quiet, I’m taking picture” or “Attention, I’m taking picture”, these words were said in photographer’s studios until the middle of the past century, that is not so far away from the point of view of history. Should we remind you about the classic “Say cheese”? Few seconds of repose and concentration required to make a good photograph supply the persons of the ancient pictures with especial significance.

As soon the photographs have been selected in accordance to the conception of our project, we understand that not we are scrutinizing these people but they are scrutinizing us. A look through a century or even longer. So let us see each other. Calmly and attentively.

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