A monument of writing, unique for these places, was discovered during excavations in the Kremlin of Pereyaslavl Ryazan.
Usually birch bark letters are associated with the history of Novgorod the Great, which is quite understandable: more than a thousand of them were found there, while in other places - about a hundred. It is believed that in Novgorod there were and remain the most favorable natural conditions for the preservation of birch bark, in particular the soil layer. The first letter was discovered there in 1951. However, in the same 1950s, similar finds were made in Vitebsk, Pskov and Smolensk. A little later - in Staraya Russa. In the late 1980s, a birch bark letter was found in Moscow, in 2007 - two more.
This is the first find on the territory of Ryazan. The size of birch bark is typical for such an object: eight centimeters long and two and a half or three centimeters wide. Preliminary paleographic dating - the turn of the XIV-XV centuries or the XV century. Palaeographic dating is called one that uses the features of the shape of the letters (or language) characteristic of a particular period. The phrases are read: "BYSHA ty …" (approximate translation from Old Russian - "you were") and "..I.. RUN" (translated - "run").
In general, the discovery of a birch bark letter in Ryazan was an expected event, since archaeologists have repeatedly found various evidence of the use of birch bark, including writing-special pointed rods for applying inscriptions or drawings on soft surfaces. In addition, back in 1978, a fragment of a birch bark tues with the image of a horseman was found - this suggests that the technique of applying an inscription on a birch bark was completely mastered and widespread. At the same time, the preservation of the birch bark itself in some parts of ancient Russia was not the same. In the soil of the Novgorod region, it decomposes somewhat worse than in the drier soils of the Ryazan region and even more southern and eastern regions. Perhaps that is why the first discovery of a birch bark letter here happened only now.
Birch bark was used for a variety of recordings. Prayers were recorded on it (a find in Novgorod the Great), conspiracies, IOUs and an inventory of property were drawn up. Birch bark letters were used to convey orders or requests. In Mstislavl (Belarus) they found a letter with a princely sign. In general, letters were used so widely and by such different strata of the population that some scientists even suggest the existence of a kind of courier service for the delivery of birch bark letters.
One of the distinctive features of birch bark letters is that they use the national language, including expressive vocabulary, which is almost impossible to establish from other sources. For Western Europe of the Middle Ages, there are no such sources, since a small literate part of the population of that era wrote almost exclusively in Latin, which was far from the popular language of European countries at that time.