Reviews

Behind an intentionally provocative title, this article shows strongly disappointing. Written under the supervision of the renowned Bashkir archaeologist Niiaz Mazhitov, it briefly introduces the results of excavations conducted since 2006 in the southern part of the city of Ufa. According to the authors, remnants of architectural structures and jewellery works prove that a big town called by them “Bashkort” existed since the fourth Century CE in place of the Ufa fortress founded in 1574. Doubts arise, however, when one reads paragraphs on testimonies by Ibn Kaldun and works by Rychkov, due to the systematic elimination of those ancient and mediaeval sources that do not mention the existence of the city. The lack of strong argumentation is all the more harmful to the authors’ purpose that Mazhitov has been working on Ufa since 1957, and could not ignore the critical reactions that such a hypothesis would provoke. What remains interesting is the very popularity of his thesis: Whence economic growth and reconstruction are changing the face of the present-day capital of Bashkortostan, the search for ancient roots is accelerating.

Xavier Le Torrivellec, French-Russian Centre for Human and Social Sciences, Moscow
CER: II-3.2.B-160