Metal Detecting In The Pskov Region, Russia
Even though the area had had such rich history, it was impossible to gather any detailed historical information on the events that took place before 18th century. That could be simply explained: the regional Archives were destroyed by fire in 18th century and thousands of books, maps, and other documents containing valuable historical information disappeared forever.
It took us a long while to obtain just a couple of regional maps from the late 1700s. But we were absolutely frustrated after we had failed to find even a modern 1:50,000 topographical map of the area! Without maps and books, our research project simply fell through.
Another problem we had was that my Explorer was the only detector we could use. Pavel's metal detector broke down and he had to ship it to a manufacturer for the necessary repairs.
First, Pavel was given a promise that he would get his metal detector back in a week. Three days later, he was told that it would take two weeks. It was a disaster! At least, we had one machine. Pavel wanted to start metal detecting right away as he could not wait to participate in a process and did not mind just digging the holes.
The only potential metal detecting sites we had in mind were the places which Pavel remembered coming across in his childhood and those about which a few old-timers had told him. One site was located on Lake Slavui, 12 miles away from Velikie Luki and two miles away from the village of Belokozovo where Pavel's grandma still lived. Two maps from the late 1700s indicated a few settlements in the vicinity of the lake.
A Fragment Of A 1791 Map
A Fragment Of A 1797 Map
The Lovat' river used to be a major highway in the medieval times. Tons of foods and goods were transported on it for centuries. Almost each village on the river bank used to be a rest stop and sometimes even held a small market.
And of course, many gangs of armed robbers were attracted to the river, a feeding artery. They systematically attacked the unprotected caravans of boats, robbed them, and escaped with goodies into the neighboring hills. According to a local legend, Lake Slavui used to be a location of the local bandits' hide-out. That was where we chose to go to first for metal detecting.