BOG IRON ORE EXTRACTION SITES IN BIALOWIEZA PRIMEVAL FOREST IN THE 17-18TH CENTURIES (Rudnie w Puszczy Bialowieskiej w XVII-XVIII wieku)
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Among the variety of traditional ways of utilization of Bialowieza Primeval Forest in the times of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the exploitation of bog iron ore is one of the lesser known human activities. Historical sources analysed in this paper contain information about 4 bog iron ore extraction sites: on the Niemierza, Narewka, Tuszemla, and Biala (today: Lesna) rivers, active most probably in years 1639-1747. Those places were located on the outer borders of Bialowieza Primeval Forest. The sources document also the process of taking over the bog iron ore exploitation by the Polikowski family (Wydra coat of arms). In BPF, which enjoyed a status of the royal property protected by kings' services, the exploitation of bog iron ore was restricted to extraction (digging), drying, and transportation of the ore, whereas the production of iron took place outside the Forest. Such way of utilization of the renewable resource did not cause significant impact on the Forest's environment.
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