Black Grave

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Coordinates: 51°30′N 31°20′E / 51.500°N 31.333°E / 51.500; 31.333
Black Grave (Чорна Могила)
National Landmark (Monument of Archeology)
Black grave 19th century drawing.jpg
A 19th century drawing
Country Ukraine
Region Chernihiv Oblast
City Chernihiv
Location 4 Proletarian Street[1]
 - coordinates 51°30′N 31°20′E / 51.500°N 31.333°E / 51.500; 31.333
Height 10 m (33 ft)
Circumference 170 m (558 ft)
Volume 7,666 m3 (270,722 cu ft)
Area 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft)
Period Kievan Rus, Late Medieval Ages
Founded Burial
 - established 1 Excavations
Date 10th century
 - date 1 1873
Management Chernihiv Ancient
Description A burial of prince Chorny

The Black Grave (Ukrainian: Чорна Могила - Chorna mohyla) is the largest burial mound (kurgan) in Chernihiv, Ukraine. It is part of the National Sanctuary Chernihiv Ancient and is the Monument of Archeology of national importance.


Comparable to the barrows of Gnyozdovo near Smolensk, the Black Grave has a height of 11 metres and a circumference of 125 metres. During excavations undertaken in 1872-73, Dmitry Samokvasov uncovered two cremated bodies of Norse warriors (probably father and son), surrounded by slaves, sacrificial animals, arms, armour, and decorations. Samokvasov dated the burial to the late 10th century, when Vladimir I was the ruler of Kievan Rus. It is likely that the buried warriors were two princes (knyazes) of Chernihiv, although no local potentate is attested in the Slavonic chronicles before Vladimir's son, Mstislav of Chernihiv.

After the bodies were cremated, they were put upon a 7-metre-high mound, where a funeral feast took place. Arranged near the bodies were two helmets and knee-length chain mail (hauberks), probably extracted from the pyre, as well as a cauldron with ram bones, two sacerdotal knives, two golden Byzantine coins, an imported sabre, a miniature dark-red bronze idol of Thor, and two silver-bound aurochs horns decorated with floral motifs, fabulous animals, and figures of a man and a woman shooting at a bird. When the barrow was completed, a stele was placed at the top. All these items are now displayed at the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

At the present time the site of the burial mound along with other 34 buildings (mostly churches) are included in the Chernihiv National Architecture-Historical Sanctuary "Chernihiv Ancient". The Black Grave along with the rest of the reserve is the major tourist attraction in the Chernihiv Oblast (province) of Ukraine.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Data on the monument


  • Dmitry Samokvasov. Могилы русской земли. Moscow, 1908.
  • Boris Rybakov. Древности Чернигова. // Материалы и исследования по археологии СССР, №11, Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
  • T.A. Pushkina. Бронзовый идол из Черной могилы. // Вестник Московского университета. Серия 8. История, №3, 1984.

External links[edit]