Field School in Dagestan

The school in Dagestan is organized by the center "Sefer" with the support of Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Russian Jewish Congress (as a specila project) and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.


The school is part of a long-term project for study the history and culture of mountain Jews. Mountain Jews – Jewish ethno-linguistic group (community) on the territory of the Caucasus, living mainly in Azerbaijan and Dagestan (large Jewish communities existed in Baku, Quba, Derbent, Makhachkala, Buinaksk, in some of the foothill villages of southern Dagestan). Later mountain Jews began to settle in other regions of Russia (Grozny, Nalchik, Pyatigorsk). The term "mountain Jews" originated in the first half of the XIX century., the self-name of this group juhur. According to linguistic and indirect historical data, it can be assumed that this community was formed as a result of the immigration of Jews from Northern Iran, as well as, possibly, the immigration of Jews from the nearby areas of the Byzantine Empire to Transcaucasian Azerbaijan.


In 2018 the Centre "Sefer" has already madean expedition to Dagestan, during which it was documented more than 480 monuments preserved on the territory of the necropolis in Arag, Mamrach, Abasov and Handzal-kale.
The purpose of the upcoming expedition is to study the cultural and historical heritage of mountain Jews, description and cataloging of Jewish cemeteries, recording interviews with the oldest members of the community.
The work of the school will be held in two directions: epigraphic and ethnographic.
Participants of the epigraphic flow will be engaged in cataloguing of Jewish cemeteries of southern Dagestan (scientific supervisors of the direction: N. Kashovskaya; heads of field work A. Fishel and M. Vasiliev). The surviving ancient Jewish cemeteries of Dagestan give a broad idea of the geography of settlement of the Jewish Diaspora in the territory of Dagestan.


The participants of the ethnographic flowwill collect interviews from representatives of the mountain Jewish community of Derbent (supervisors of the direction: B. Kapustina and S. Amosova).

The main result of the expedition will be the fixation of material and cultural heritage and the completion of ournew electronic archive of field research a database for the collection, storage and systematization of materials of field schools and expeditions, which our Center has been conducting for more than 10 years.

We invite first of all students and young scientists with experience in field research, as well as those engaged in the study of the history, culture and material heritage of Jews in the region.

For members of the ethnographic group, the use of private equipment (voice recorders, laptops)is mandatory, video camera is preferable.
For epigraphic unit, preference is given to participants with knowledge of Hebrew and experience of field work in the field of epigraphy. To process the collected materials, epigraphists are requested to bring a laptop, and preferably the camera.

In order to take part in the school, please complete theapplication formbefore May 15. The selection of participants will be made until May 25.