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About Photoarcheology

Photoarcheology is a digital archive that curates photographs from family albums of the Soviet era. Found in the trash, in the abandoned houses, as well as family homes, these images reflect the everyday life of the Soviet people and their memory of relatives and important events.


Photographic images and inscriptions on the back, if present, are the only source of the attending narratives. In certain cases, the combination of the names and other features, such as military decorations, gives the curators an opportunity to add more to the story of the photograph. 

Explore the images by tag, by geographic location, and by associated photographs in a collection.



The tags specify the decade and, if known, the date the photograph was taken, gender, family circumstances, location, and the type of inscription on the back. Tags provide an easy way to bring together photos from various collections and geographic locations.


Collections unite photographs found in the same album or a group of albums, or coming from the same source Individual collections contain photographs from a specific album, a group of albums, or other specific sources, such as a personal collection, a photographic film or a group of films found in the same location.


For each photograph, a map pin identifies a location the photograph was taken at or the location where this photograph was found. 

A note on names

The item description and images of writing on the back of the photos contain only first names, no family names or patronymics. This is done to protect the identity of the living family members, as well as to focus the reader’s attention on the image proper and the knowledge the viewers gain from the circumstances of taking and producing the image.