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Church and burial mounds among medieval archaeological finds in Poland

The remains of a 13th-century church and burial mounds dating back to the ninth-century are among the archaeological finds announced this month by Polish researchers.

Photo of an archaeological site in Poland. Photo by I. Miechowicz /  Science and Scholarship in Poland

In West Pomerania, an archaeological team announced they uncovered the remains of a brick church built by the Dominican order in the 13th century. Henryk Kustosz of the National Museum in Szczecin explained “When it comes to the history of architecture, it is an absolutely unusual find, of great importance, because we have discovered the church, which many scientists have tried to describe and recreate, but all they were doing was pure hypothesis with no basis in reality, which has now been exposed.”

The church was built as part of monastic complex that survived until the 16th century. Kustosz adds, “The monastery it was not just the church, but the whole building complex, as it turns out, including cloisters. Further studies are needed, but even now we know the scale of the monastery, the affiliation of the church, and we can search for links.”

The archaeologists also found hundreds of graves on the site dating from the late Middle Ages to the early 17th century.

Much earlier graves were discovered near the village of Chodlik in southeastern Poland -archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology and the Warsaw branch of the Polish Association of Scientific Archaeologists studied a hill that contained the barrow mounds with the cremated remains of men and horses. The site includes items dating back to the 9th and 10th centuries, including an iron knife inlaid with silver, an iron spur and fragments of pottery.

Łukasz Miechowicz, the head of the dig, added, “it turns out that early medieval graves lie on much older layers from the Bronze Age – this is confirmed by the discovery of many fragments of pottery and flint flakes and tools of the so-called Trzciniec culture.”

Finally, an archaeological study of six early medieval fortifications made use of aerial laser scanning, GPS positioning and other non-invasive techniques to reveal new details about these sites, such as the existence previously unknown walls and moats.

Jerzy Sikora of the University of Łódź explained, “New information concerns primarily not the strongholds themselves, but their surroundings. We have identified parts of impossible to identify with the naked eye in the field or previously unknown fortifications, roads, dikes, and even the extent of surrounding settlements.”

The research shows that the fortress at Chełm had seven lines of walls and moats, some of which ran full circuit, and that the stronghold was 11 hectares in size. Dr. Sikora added, “After the initial stage of research, it turned out that we were dealing with the largest, in terms of area, stronghold of the Central Poland, and one of the largest in the country”

You can learn more about this research project at http://snap.uni.lodz.pl/grody/

Source: Science and Scholarship in Poland/Ministry of Science and Higher Education



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