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In Memoriam of Yurii Kovalenko, Ph. D.

Mar 23, 2023 | News, Ukraine, Life, Community, Featured, Arts & Culture, In Memoriam

Yurii Kovalenko: As a volunteer in the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Volodymyr Mezentsev, Ph. D.

It is with great sorrow and grief that the participants of the Baturyn Archaeological Project at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, the Chernihiv National University and the Hetman Capital Historical and Cultural Preserve in Baturyn inform about the premature death of our dear colleague and friend, the renowned Ukrainian archaeologist Yurii Kovalenko, Ph. D.

He was the head of the Department of Scholarly Research at the Hlukhiv National Preserve, Sumy Oblast. Dr. Kovalenko was the highly reputable leading specialist in the history and archaeology of the hetman capital of Hlukhiv and the medieval and early modern Siverian Land and taught the archaeology of Ukraine at the Hlukhiv National Pedagogical University.

Yurii Kovalenko: During the excavations in Baturyn (right)

For 17 years, Dr. Kovalenko collaborated with the CIUS Baturyn Archaeological Project founded in 2001 by Prof. Zenon Kohut, the former director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Yurii regularly participated in the excavations of Baturyn of the Cossack era as the leader of student group from the Hlukhiv National University and the local military lyceum. An experienced field researcher and explorer he had the exceptional ability for discovering and unearthing of the structure remnants, metal artefacts, and graves using a powerful American metal detector. In 2006, Dr. Kovalenko located the foundations of the Holy Trinity Cathedral funded by Hetman Ivan Mazepa in ca. 1692 and destroyed during the ravaging of Baturyn by Russian forces in 1708. In 2007-09, its foundations were completely excavated by our Canada-Ukraine archaeological team. Dr. Kovalenko is the co-author of many of our articles reporting about the archaeological findings in Baturyn in Ukrainian and English.

From 2020, he joined the Ukrainian Army as a volunteer. In mid-March 2023, Dr. Kovalenko lost his life in the battle with Russian invaders near the town of Bakhmut, Donets’k Oblast. Rest in peace dear colleague and friend. Vichna Pam’iat’ Heroiam Ukrainy!

Many historians and archaeologists from Hlukhiv, Baturyn, and Chernihiv plan to attend the memorial service and funeral of Dr. Yurii Kovalenko on March 18th in Hlukhiv.

Volodymyr Mezentsev, Ph. D.
Executive Director
Baturyn Project at the Peter Jacyk Centre
for Ukrainian Historical Research
CIUS Toronto Office

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