This paper focuses on the historical narrative of Kievan Rus between 860 to 1240 and the importance of historical archaeology in order to gain a clearer understanding of its history. Very few sources written in the 9th to 13th centuries in Rus survive today. The Primary Chronicle is the most widely known and available account of the history of Rus for historians to use. However, scholars utilize the chronicle with caution because the original oldest surviving chronicle was written almost two centuries after the first dated entry. We can expect that not everything written in the chronicles was accurate and that changes would have been made. Since the Primary Chronicle is a fundamental piece of literature for historians studying the history of Kievan Rus, I will be closely examining passages from Samuel Cross’s translation of the Primary Chronicle to understand the once-official narrative and identify archaeological evidence that either supports or challenges the official narrative. I will discuss issues regarding: the so-called Norman Controversy, Khazar influence in Kiev, construction and utilization of boats, traditional Scandinavian boat graves, the organization of the city of Kiev, and literacy among non-elite townspeople.
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Open Access Thesis
Spears, Ivory M., "Historical Text and Historical Archaeology: Hunting the Narrative of Kievan Rus" (2018). Honors Theses. 503.