NGO “Th. Vovk Center of Paleoetnological Researches” PROGRAM

The current state of Ukrainian science requires new approaches in solving urgent problems facing researchers, especially due to the latest processes that take place in society.

In time when solving educational and scientific problems in terms of everyday thinking is a secondary issue, formed negative trend in reduction of studies, narrowed issues of scientific research. Such situation reflects on the general state of science and education and on reducing the level of research in specific areas.

The economic and financial crisis in the first place has a negative impact on the most “non-profit” fields – culture, education and science. This is especially true about humanities – for investment in these disciplines do not provide a rapid return of investment. This situation is found in the permanent downsizing of academic institutions, in reducing of the state order for higher education institutions, in deterioration of regional academic institutions and others. Very cynical is that these processes take place against the backdrop of the active promotion of “patriotic education”, “development of national consciousness” and so on.

Solving the problems of the humanities in modern conditions is possible, especially outside the official scientific organizations. Non-governmental scientific societies, which act as independent research centers, would unite participants not on the principles of structural dependence and accountability system, but on the principals of common research interests and collective solvation of these scientific problems.

Based on the position that the investment in the Humanities and education is an investment in the future, on the position that the neglect of the study of the history of human development and culture leads to deeper dehumanization of society, we state the need for the development of this knowledge and its popularization, especially in modern moment of crisis.

Considering the social significance of research in the humanitarian field, the need to respond to unfavorable conditions for the development of science in modern Ukraine, the initiative group of young researchers declared the establishment of the non-governmental organization “Th. Vovk center of paleoethnological researches”.

In this context term “paleoethnology” involves the study of biosocial human behavior in the long historical progression, study of the interaction of human societies and the interplay between the society and nature at different stages of historical development. So, according to Th. Vovk (Volkov) (researcher of Ukrainian origin with the worldwide reputation, who in the late 19th – early 20 century stood at the origins of national archaeological, ethnological and anthropological sciences), paleoethnology includes a wide range of anthropological disciplines: archaeology, prehistory, ethnology and social anthropology.

Principles of paleoetnology in the world of science have introduced by the French explorer Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet in the late 19th century. Being in emigration, Theodor Vovk took over Mortillet experience, and returning in the early 20th century home scientist resumed research into the history and culture of his native land on new methodological basis. While teaching in St. Petersburg University, Th. Vovk rallied around a pleiad of young scientists and, in this way, founded a school of paleoetnology. In Ukraine, after the death of scientist, by 1930th in line with paleoetnology research engaged his followers, who formed “Th. Vovk Cabinet of Anthropology and Ethnology”. Considering that paleoetnology as a special direction from its birth in the middle of the 19th century was based on the close connection of archaeological research with complex of natural science, that in the 21st century became the rule and the main principle of archaeology, it is clear that we need to involve many young professionals from different disciplines to resolve the problems of ancient history, united by the ideas and the name of national pioneer of this field – Theodor Vovk.

Therefore, the purpose of Center is to unite the efforts of the younger generation of scientists to carry out complex research of ancient human communities.

Tasks which the Center sets itself:

  1. Science.

– Overcoming discreteness in modern science, which caught in the official institutions and because of the high specialization of research is becoming increasingly isolated from society. Because of this, paleoetnology provides integrated approach to the study of historical events using the methods of natural sciences and humanities (archaeology, ethnology, geology, ecology, etc.).

– Carry out complex studies of ancient societies to demonstrate relationships between human communities themselves and with the environment at different stages of historical development. The main source of such research is the analysis of the remains of ancient vital activity in societies with the relation to ethnographic observations and study of ancient ecosystems.

– Following the principles of research ethics in studies, which provides a complete rejection of dogmatism, indoctrination, authoritarianism and falsification of facts. Instead, in priority are the principles of teamwork, universalism, unselfishness and verification of the findings.

– Development of new ideas and views on modern society through the study of the history of its formation.

– Organization of print and online publications to coverage scientific achievements.

  1. Social Action:

According to beliefs of the members of our Centre, any ethnic group represents itself through its own cultural heritage, reflected not only in the form of oral and written monuments of previous generations, but also by materialized remains of vital activity:

– Preservation of cultural heritage is one of the main requirements of the modern civilized world, because without social memory there is no social life. Promotion of the cultural heritage is a powerful factor which forms a consciousness of independent and complete European nation.

From the position of the unity of theory and practice, the Center aims to:

– Promote the knowledge regarding the research object, through the organization of scientific conferences, exhibitions, public seminars and publications.

– Provide free access to the results of the Center activity via the Internet.

– Be actively involved in the process of protection of cultural and natural heritage in the territory of Ukraine through direct participation (production of primary heritage and environmental protection documentation, etc.) and in cooperation with state administration, scientific and other non-governmental organizations.

Due to the spread of pseudoscientific and frankly “paid for” concepts, the falling of moral authority of science among the society Center determines popularizing scientific approach as an important field of our activity. Growing interest in ancient history among modern Ukrainian and world society is planned to achieve by increasing the professional level of the members of Centre, through the organization of complex studies and collaboration with other scientific societies.

In contrast to the narrow politicized nationalism that operates mythological events and personalities, we stand for the true patriotism, which is based on respect for our own natural and cultural heritage.

An objective study of ancient history with the protection of cultural and natural environment is the main vectors of Center activity.

III. International cooperation

This direction of the Centre involves establishing productive cooperation and dialogue with institutions and organizations to:

– Exchange the experience in field and laboratory research, organize the exhibitions, perform at conferences, work with collections in Ukraine with colleagues from abroad, as well as members of the Centre in the countries with which agreement will be reached;

– The use of modern methods in the study of archaeological sites, which is especially concerns testing the methods of natural sciences;

– Incorporation of materials from Ukrainian prehistoric monuments to European databases;

– Unification of archaeological description and methods of interpretation of archaeological sites;

– Use international experience in the field of protection of cultural heritage;

– Organizational joining the European and world organizations, the purpose of which is the study and protection of monuments of prehistoric culture and environment.