Old Russian slang term discovered

On June 22, 2016 researchers found this season's first birch bark manuscript at the Troitsky-XV site, in a layer from the first half of the 14th century.

On June 22, 2016 researchers found this season's first birch bark manuscript at the Troitsky-XV site, in a layer from the first half of the 14th century.

novgorodmuseum.ru
Still unclear if the term is fit for modern usage.

On June 22, 2016 researchers found this season's first birch bark manuscript at the Troitsky-XV site, in a layer from the first half of the 14th century. Source: novgorodmuseum.ru

Researchers encountered a previously unknown Russian word for thieves and crooks, "posak," in a birch bark manuscript that was recently unearthed during excavations in Novgorod. The finding was first reported on the Novgorod State United Museum-Reserve's website.

Excavations are being carried out at the Troitsky site of medieval Novgorod. On June 22, 2016 researchers found this season's first birch bark manuscript at the Troitsky-XV site, in a layer from the first half of the 14th century.

The document contains only one line: "UO ORTIMIYE UO POSAKA TRI BEREKOVESEKE." This is a record of dues or debts. "Berkovets" is a measure of the weight of grain or honey, which is equal to 10 poods (an old Slavic measurement). The exact meaning of the message is still unclear. The word "posak" has never been seen by contemporary linguists. Researcher Andrei Zaliznyak, Russia's leading expert on birch-bark manuscripts, interpreted it as a "thief" or a "crook," based on the Pskov and Tver dialects.

In 2015, Russian archaeologists found their first birch bark manuscript in Vologda. Despite difficulties with decoding, linguists managed to understand most of the first text from Vologda: entrepreneur Yakov, who lived in the first quarter of the 14th century, was trying to figure out if he was deceived by the messenger Ostap, who had promised to pass money to a certain man named Samoil.

First published in Russian in Lenta.ru

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