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Examples of medieval ceramics have been found on the floor of the Volkhov River
Examples of medieval ceramics have been found on the floor of the Volkhov River, near the northwestern Russian town of Veliky Novgorod.

Local culture officials told RIA Novosti today that the earliest of the items were believed to date back to as early as the 15th century. An 1813 coin was also among the finds recovered from the Volkhov's floor.

Diver archeologists uncovered these artifacts while they were searching for the remains of a Great Bridge built in Veliky Novgorod at the turn of the 11th century to link the local kremlin, a fortress, and Prince Yaroslav's Lodge. The bridge was demolished in the 17th century, and a new one, supported with masonry buttresses, was erected to replace it at the turn of the 18th century.

Excavations at the site are expected to continue through August. "The search is likely to become even more challenging with time as underwater visibility will be hampered by a large amount of weed," specialists said.

The divers will clear their way into the river floor with the help of a "sucking sleeve." This device will suck in all objects sitting on the bottom of the river so that archeologists could subsequently examine them on land.

Diver archeologists are working in Veliky Novgorod as part of a project launched by the international research foundation INTAS, headquartered in Brussels. This project, with a total cost of 100,000 euros, also involves underwater excavations in Venice, Paris, and Armenia.