Russian archaeologist who developed a chronology for the Bronze Age of Russia. A retired infantry officer, he began excavating in the 1890s with financial support from the Countess Uvarova. In the early 1900s he became director of the Moscow Historical Museum and one of the founders of the Moscow Archaeological Institute. Gorodtsov excavated at a number of Palaeolithic sites, including Gontsy, Il'skaya I, and Timonovka, and published several syntheses of Russian prehistory. He trained many professional archaeologists and was an exponent of a formalist approach to archaeology, studying the morphology of artefacts and seeking to arrange them into chronological sequences.
L. Klejn, 1999, Vasily Alekseevich Gorodcov. In T. Murray (ed.), Encyclopedia of archaeology, I: The great archaeologists. Oxford: ABC‐Clio, 247–62