Generous donations from the public are helping to bring Ukrainian history to Bournemouth and Winchester.
Last year, Bournemouth University’s Department of Archaeology & Anthropology teamed up with Dr Sergiy Taranenko and his team of archaeologists, who are feverishly working to protect and record Kyiv’s cultural heritage while the war in Ukraine rages around them.
The university has supported Sergiy’s work through a GoFundMe page, which has raised nearly £1500 to date.
Amongst the projects brought to life through the donations, are an illustrated adventure book for readers aged 11 to 14, which Sergiy originally wrote for his son, Marko.
“The Adventures of Marko in Princely Kyiv” tells the adventures of 12-year-old Marko who finds a magic ring which transports him back to 12th century Kyiv.
Dr Taranenko uses his extensive knowledge of the layout and architecture of the medieval town to set the scenes which Marko explores with his new friend Senko. The two of them have many narrow escapes as they try to find a way home for Marko.
Copies of the book in Ukrainian and English have now arrived in the UK, on the supply trucks from Ukraine Relief team in Bournemouth as they return to the UK. Over 50 copies have been sent free of charge to Ukrainian refugee families in the Bournemouth and Winchester areas.
Further donations will allow the team to distribute more copies to families as well as supporting Dr Taranenko’s continuing work to protect the city’s artifacts under the most difficult conditions.
As well as the adventure book, Dr Taranenko has donated a selection of his academic publications to the Bournemouth University library, so students and staff can find out more about his archaeological discoveries from the underground remains of the medieval town.
The public donations have also helped him to produce a series of videos about the historic monuments of the World Heritage Site of the Pechersk-Lavra Monastery in Kyiv. These are publicly available, with English subtitles, on his YouTube channel to help people around the world learn more about the historic city, currently under threat of war.
Dr Taranenko said, "I would like to thank my Bournemouth colleagues in the Department of Archaeology & Anthropology and everyone who has donated to support my work. This has helped me to edit and fund the publication of the book about time-travelling Marko and his adventures in the historic town of Kyiv about 800 years ago.
“I wrote it for my son, but also as a guide to help our children, who are the future of an independent Ukraine with its own unique history."