February 6, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 32°F


Speaker to shed light on ancient city

A 1,000-year-old trading center and once the heart of Orthodox spirituality, the medieval city of Novgorod will be the topic of a discussion Wednesday by Scott Stull, a sociology and anthropology professor at SUNY-Cortland.

The lecture, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Natural Sciences Room 208, is co-sponsored by the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program at Ithaca College and by the Finger Lakes Chapter of the New York State Archaeological Association.

Located on the Volkhov River in Russia, the ancient city of Novgorod was an international medieval trading hub, connecting Northern Europe with the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. The unique location and history of Novgorod has enabled archaeologists to better preserve material from the medieval world.

Open to the public, the talk, “The Archaeology of Medieval Novgorod,” will address key archeological finds in the city. Stull said he will also give an overview of medieval history and discuss how medieval society was structured.

“This talk on medieval Novgorod is going to give examples that might differ from a lot of the classic constructions of what the medieval world is like,” Stull said.

Stull said the city’s roots are based on trade routes.

“One of the things which is quite remarkable about Novgorod is that it was founded by [Vikings] who were interested in international trade and then developed into the Rus, which is the name where we get Russia,” Stull said. “The creation of a new society from two very different social groups is something that’s an ongoing process today.”

Stull received his undergraduate degree in history and anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and received his doctoral degree at Binghamton University. He worked for a number of years in the private sector and taught at Ithaca College for three years before moving on to teach at SUNY-Cortland.

Stull said his interest in the medieval world stemmed from reading fiction as a child, where he discovered a passion for the real medieval world.

Stull said Novgorod, one of the most historic cities in the world, has contributed significantly to present-day society. He said much present-day culture stems from the middle ages, like clothes and certain foods.

Stull said there is much to learn from this ancient city.

“The middle ages is where we get our cultural roots,” Stull said. “But the construction of our ideas of the medieval world really influences how we understand our past and ourselves.”