The Lower Volga Archaeological Expedition organized in 2005 is one of the new directions of field research activities carried out by the Institute’s specialists. The expedition represents a joint project of the Institute of Archeology under the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences (headed by A. G. Sitdikov), the Mari State University (headed by Yu. A. Zelenev) and scientific and cultural institutions of the Astrakhan region (E. M. Pigarev).
The expedition continues the tradition of the Volga Region Archaeological Expedition which began the excavation of the Lower Volga sites in 1957. The efforts of the Lower Volga Expedition are focused on systematic studies of one of the largest centers of the Golden Horde – Selitrennoe settlement (excavated by the Volga Region Archaeological Expedition since 1965) and other archaeological sites of the Astrakhan Region (Moshaik, Samosdelskoe and Krasnoyarskoe settlements, etc.). The study of these monuments will provide information required to visualize the emergence and development of urban development and functioning of administrative, trade and craft centers of the Golden Horde, and the colonization of the Volga delta area in the 9th – 13th centuries.