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Pyotr Kuzmich

(16.10.1863 — 26.09.1935)
Born 16.10.1863 in the town of Dukhovshchina, Smolensk region to the family of a craftsman.

After the 4-year school P.Kozlov was hired to work in a brewery. His dreams about journeys came true when he happened to meet the famous explorer of Central Asia N.M.Przhevalsky in the Summer of 1882. He took the young man to his house and began to oversee his studies. In 1883 P.K.Kozlov was admitted to the military service and after three months could join Przhevalsky's expedition.

P.K.Kozlov made six journeys to the Central Asia where he explored Mongolia, the Gobi Desert and the Eastern part of the Tibetan highland (Khams). The first three expeditions were under command of N.M.Przhevalsky, M.V.Pevtsov and V.I.Roborovsky respectively.

In Autumn of 1888 his second expedition began. At first it was headed by N.M.Przhevalsky but as he died on the way it was interrupted and continued only in Autumn of 1889 under the command of the general-major M.V.Pevtsov.

The third expedition (1893-1895) was headed by the senior assistant of Przhevalsky - V.I.Roborovsky. Its goal was to explore the region of Nanshan and the Southern-Eastern border of Tibet. But V.Roborovsky got ill and the command was passed to P.K.Kozlov. After the successful completion of the expedition he presented the full report about it titled “The Report of the Assistant of the Head of the Expedition P.K.Kozlov”.

In 1899 P.K.Kozlov made his first independent journey as the head of the Mongol-Tibetan expedition. He maid detailed descriptions of many lakes (particularly Kukunor), the sources of the Mekong and Yalunjiang (a significant affluent of the Yangtze) as well as a number of the highest peaks. Moreover, P.K.Kozlov gave excellent sketches on economics and ethnography of the population of Central Asia and brought a large collection of fauna and flora. The Mongol-Tibetan expedition was described by P.K.Kozlov in two big volumes titled “Mongolia and Khams” and “Khams and the way back”. For this work he was awarded the golden medal of the Russian Geographic Society an honorary member of which he became later.

Kozlov's fifth journey (Mongol-Sichuan expedition) occurred in 1907-1909. It began in Kyakhta and covered Urga (now Ulan-Bator) and the deeper parts of the Central Asia. It resulted in the discovery of the dead city of Khara-Khoto where the explorer found 2000 books in the Tangut language and a great number of artifacts which depicted vividly many sides of culture and common life of the ancient Tangut State Xie-Xia, among them a collection of paper money, cultic statues and more than 300 Buddhist paintings on wood, silk, cloth and paper. The results of this expedition were presented in a big volume titled “Mongolia and Amdo and the dead city of Khara-Khoto”.

Kozlov's sixth and last expedition took part in 1923-1926. In spite of the comparatively small scale (a part of the Northern Mongolia) it produced important results, such as in the Noyn-Ul mountains, where 212 burial sites belonging to the Hunnu period (about 2000 years old) were discovered and which turned out to be one of the greatest archeological discoveries of the 20th century. Various objects which allowed the reconstructiuon of economics and life of the Hunnus (2nd century B.C. - 1st century A.D.) were found in these burials. The most unique among them is a collection of excellent cloths and rugs of the Greek-Baktrian Kingdom.

P.K.Kozlov spent the last years of his life in Strechno village, near to Staraya Russa in the Novgorod region. He died in a sanatorium near to Leningrad on 26, September, 1935.


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