Boris Piotrovsky

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Boris Piotrovsky
Born(1908-02-14)February 14, 1908
DiedOctober 15, 1990(1990-10-15) (aged 82)
Leningrad, Soviet Union
Occupation(s)Archaeologist, historian
Known forExcavations of Karmir Blur (Teishebaini);
studies on Urartu
Political partyCPSU (from 1945)

Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky, also Piotrovskii (Russian: Бори́с Бори́сович Пиотро́вский; February 14 [O.S. February 1] 1908 – October 15, 1990) was a Soviet Russian academician, historian-orientalist and archaeologist who studied the ancient civilizations of Urartu, Scythia, and Nubia. He is best known as a key figure in the study of the Urartian civilization of the southern Caucasus.[1] From 1964 until his death, Piotrovsky was also Director of the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg).


Piotrovsky was born in Saint Petersburg in 1908. He specialized in the history and archaeology of the Caucasus region and beginning in the 1930s, he began to acquaint himself with Urartian civilization. He was the head of 1939 excavations that uncovered the Urartian fortress of Teishebaini in Armenia (known in Armenian as Karmir Blur, or Red Hill). Evidence found there has been key in understanding the Urartian civilization. Piotrovsky lead further excavations in Armenia in the ancient settlements of Tsovinar, Redkig-lager, Kirovakan (now Vanadzor) and Aygevan until 1971.[2]

These were not Piotrovsky's sole contributions in the archaeological field, however. Piotrovsky worked elsewhere in the Caucasus, especially on the Scythian culture. In 1961, he was placed at the head of an expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union to study Nubian monuments in Egypt.[3] He also spent 26 years as Director of the Hermitage Museum, which has been run by his son Mikhail thereafter. He was also the supervisor of the renowned Armenian archaeologist Gregory Areshian. The Hermitage holds an annual conference in his honor. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Leningrad in 1990 at the age of 82.[1]

He was married to Hripsime Djanpoladjian, who was an archaeologist and epigrapher.[4]


In his lifetime, he published more than 200 works in the fields of archaeology, history and art.[1] One of Piotrovsky's most important works is The History of Urartu and its Culture, published in 1944 and which went on to receive the Stalin Prize in 1946.[2] Other notable works include:

  • Urartu: The Kingdom of Van and Its Art (1967)
  • The Ancient Civilization of Urartu (1969)
  • The Hermitage: Its History and Collections (1982)

Honours and awards[edit]

Boris Piotrovsky's plaque on 2 Zakian street, Yerevan


  1. ^ a b c Wire report from the Associated Press. "Boris B. Piotrovsky, Archeologist; Director of the Hermitage Was 82." The New York Times. October 17, 1990. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c (in Armenian) Areshyan, Gregory. «Պիոտրովսկի» (Piotrovsky). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. ix. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1983, p. 302.
  3. ^ The State Hermitage Museum. The Hermitage Readings in memory of Boris Piotrovsky (1908–1990) Archived March 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed July 22, 2008.
  4. ^ "MIKHAIL PIOTROVSKY". Aurora prize.

External links[edit]