Badania archeologiczne na stanowisku Stare Kolnie 4, pow. opolski
INVESTIGATING THE CASTLE AT STARE KOLNIE (SITE 4) DISTR. OPOLE
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Castrum Kolno was erected most probably by Duke Henry V the Fat of Wrocław at the end of the 13th century. Until 1317 the castle guarded a ducal custom house established nearby. At this date, its owner, Duke Bolesław III, decided to move the custom house from Kolno (Callen) to Brzeg, to one of the bridges on the Odra River. Lacking the former economical value the castle consequently lost its significance in the Silesian administrative system. Eventually it passed into private hands. Nevertheless, lying on the border of the Duchies of Opole and Brzeg, the castle remained an important stronghold. This is confirmed by written accounts, e.g., a ducal document issued in 1395 obliging Witko of Smogorzewo to provide his overlord with accommodation at Castle Kolno whenever he wished to visit it. The lords of Blankenstein, later owners of the castle, were reminded by the duke that it is “strictly prohibited to sell castrum Callen to those of a more humble descent”. The castle was set on fire and destroyed on Saint Catherine’s day (13 July) 1443, in a conflict during the Bohemian interregnum. At the end of the 15th c. the custom house was revived on a small scale by its new owners from the Bies family but the castle never regained its position from before the siege of 1443. A document from 1601 referring to the estate reads: “a place where once a castle stood”. In 1726-1727 the ruins were used as a stone quarry and dismantled almost entirely. The stones were reused in the 18th century cloth manufacture building in Brzeg. Amateur excavations at the site were made before WW II. They brought to light several bolt-heads and a pair of medieval stirrups. Professional investigations were conducted at Stare Kolnie by archaeologists in 1978. A trench was excavated in the northern part of the keep. The more notable finds included a set of weapons and riding gear, e.g., a nut from a crossbow trigger mechanism, medieval spurs, and several bolt heads. The site was investigated first by surface survey made with metal detectors, electronic total station and gradiometer. Input obtained went into making a 3D surface model of the site, mapping all the finds and recording the measurements of the magnetic field. During the next season two excavation trenches were opened, one next to the wall of the keep, the other next to the possible bailey rampart. Arms and armor finds, predominantly from the 15th c. were recovered during both seasons. Apart from evidence that the castle was set on fire when besieged in the 15th c., as we know from existing written records there were also relics of the medieval stone keep or tower house. Most probably this structure was raised in mid-14th century. The castle is a classical motte-and-bailey, with a stone keep added later. The distribution of the recorded small finds, their quality and quantity provides us with an invaluable insight into the 15th century art of siege warfare.
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