10:05 17 Apr 2023

Eleventh-century defensive rampart discovered in Ukraine's northern city of Chernihiv

The outer line of fortification of the ancient city was discovered during water pipeline reconstruction along Liubetskа Street in Chernihiv, the city in Ukraine's north.

Archeologist Ihor Ihnatenko told the Novyi Chernihiv TV channel that historians mentioned the Chernihiv defensive rampart as early as the 18th and early 19th centuries. However, until now, no one knew precisely where the moat was located.

"There was the embankment and a ditch next to it, but later, it was silted up, or rather, people filled it in, and it disappeared. When we began to dig, we found a normal fortification level. It has a certain profile, wedge-shaped downwards, decreased, which is typical for defensive ramparts," the archaeologist said.

Liubetska Street, namely Liubetskyi Sliach (meaning "Liubech Way"), is one of the oldest in Chernihiv. Starting from the 10th century, the way connected Chernihiv with Liubech City. It was a branch of the route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" — a medieval trade route that connected Scandinavia, Ukraine-Kyivan Rus, and the Eastern Roman Empire.

"It connected the north with the south, i.e., one could get to Ukraine from the Baltic via the Dnieper River and then to Chernihiv. Then one crossed the Desna and Dnieper rivers to the Black Sea, and vice versa. One could get from Chernihiv to Liubech and then move to the Western Dvina and descend by water to the Baltic, and in this way, Chernihiv was connected to Europe," Ihnatenko noted.

In addition to the rampart, archaeologists discovered other historical monuments, namely, pagan burials of the 11th century and fragments of ceramic pots. They were found in the filling of the rampart and will help to date it more precisely.

Ihnatenko reported that two burials were found at the intersection with Mazepa Street. One of them was under a mound. That is, the moat and rampart arose after there was a cemetery on this site in the 11th century.

After studying the findings and completing the fieldwork, the objects will be transferred to the Chernihiv Historical Museum.


Chernihiv is one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, founded at the end of the 7th century at the confluence of the Stryzhen River with the Desna. During the Middle Ages, Chernihiv was one of the main cities of Ukraine-Kyivan Rus and, according to historians, one of the largest cities in Europe at that time.

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