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Sekretiki No. 31

Despite the popular myth about the closed character of Soviet society with its strictly regulated leisure and everyday life, in the later period there were numerous ways of spending free time. People organized communities around hobbies—such as amateur radio, travel, collecting stamps or records—and related to professions, within which expeditions occupied a special place. As the Soviet state saw no ideological reasons to forbid its citizens to explore the ancient past, at a certain point archaeology became an important part of life for a large number of thinking people. In the 1950s and early 1960s, when Vyacheslav Akhunov was a teenager, he assisted his father during an archaeological expedition to southern Kirghizia. The artist recalls: “I dreamt and even raved about becoming an archaeologist, and my games matched my dream. Imagining myself a seeker of antiquities, I rummaged through every old scrapyard in the vicinity of the barrack on Stalin Street where we lived. That’s how obsessed I was with the idea.” This childhood hobby is manifested in the book and series of drawings Art- Chaeology of the USSR, depicting the Soviet Union as a vanished civilization. Some of the drawings and texts accompanying them were included in The Book of the Path.

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