2002-2003 | 56 | 381-392
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In late 1930s construction work on an orthodox church carried out at Góra Zamkowa – the castle mount – at Davyd-Haradok on the Haryn’ (former Dawidgródek nad Horyniem) (Fig. 1), revealed the remains of an early medieval stronghold (Fig. 2). Special soil conditions (R. Jakimowicz 1939, p. 14) helped to preserve timber structures and objects made of organic material in fine condition (Fig. 3). Archives of the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw (Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne – PMA) contain a rich correspondence concerning the research at the site in question. A ban placed on all construction work in the area of the earthwork and the decision to declare Góra Zamkowa a national monument resulted in protests of the local population and appeals filed with the Minister of Religious Beliefs and Public Education and the President of the Polish Republic by Orthodox Church authorities of the province of Polesie and the priest of the local Orthodox Parish. Dismissal of these appeals made it possible to carry out excavations in 1937–38, headed by the then Director of State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, Assistant Professor R. Jakimowicz and assistant J. Marciniak MA (Fig. 5). Public opinion was widely informed on the progress of research by numerous press notices. R. Jakimowicz read a number of lectures on the subject of Góra Zamkowa, reported on results of the 1937 season at a session of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia Umiejętności) in Kraków and prepared a brochure promoting the archaeology of Dawidgródek (R. Jakimowicz 1937; 1939). In the light of the substantial rank of the discovery and planned several seasons of research, projects were made late in 1937 to purchase Góra Zamkowa and turn the excavation area into an area of protected archaeology. Lack of financial resources made the purchase of Góra Zamkowa unfeasible and made it necessary to limit the scope of fieldwork in 1938. In this situation, a permission was given to continue the construction of the church stipulating many conditions to make continuation of research possible. Unfortunately, for lack of resources and volunteers, excavations planned for the summer of 1939 never took place; the outbreak of World War II and the change of state boundaries after the war barred Polish archaeologists from continuing the research. Archaeological material obtained during the 1930s was studied only in piecemeal fashion (J. Marciniak 1969; L. Łoźny 1985). Successive excavations carried out at Davyd-Haradok during the 1960s by a team from the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian Soviet Republic under P. F. Lysenko recovered similar archaeological material (P. F. Lysenko 1969). The site at Davyd-Haradok is situated on the “Castle Mount” (Fig. 2), its foot washed by the river Haryn’. The oval earthwork was surrounded by a rampart and originally, by a moat. The 1930s research involved the area between the foundations of the orthodox church and a small area adjacent to it on the north side (Fig. 4). Additionally also a trial trench was laid out cutting across the earthwork. Under the surface layers of dirt some 1.5 m in thickness (R. Jakimowicz 1937, p. 277), archaeologists came upon the upper level of timber structures, at the depth of about 2.4 m from the natural. Within the culture layer, sandwiched between the natural and the surviving foundations of the highest lying structures, seven layers were distinguished corresponding to successive stages of occupation of the settlement. Four older layers (I – directly overlying the natural, layers II, III and IV – having the thickness respectively of 20, 25 and 35 cm) were separated from each other by a thin layer of ashes and charcoal. Younger layers (V – 50 cm, VI – 63 cm, VII – 48 cm) contained the remains of timber buildings. In layer I archaeologists uncovered the bottom sections of five frame buildings (XI–XV) and small wattle structures. Occupation layer II contained fence-like structures (Fig. 6). The plan and nature of build-up in layers II through V was not detected. The layout of the oldest buildings was basically different from the one observed in younger layers (V–VII). The latter produced the remains of six huts, most of them three-phase (I, III, IV, VI, VII and X) (Fig. 9), a feature interpreted as a well (V) (Fig. 10) and a street (Fig. 11) (R. Jakimowicz 1937, p. 273; 1939, p. 12; J. Marciniak 1969, p. 3–4). Foundation trenches of the orthodox church had separated a sacral building from the studied section of the stronghold – a two-chamber structure repeatedly destroyed by fire, rebuilt each time on the same site after dismantling older foundations and scattering the area with a layer of sand. Underneath the temple and in its vicinity 12 wooden coffins were uncovered (Fig. 7), 13 others had suffered destruction when the foundation trenches were being dug for the 20th century church. The coffins contained the bones of men, women and children, were not accompanied by grave goods producing only fragments of clothing and leather shoes (R. Jakimowicz 1937, p. 275–276; 1939, p. 17; J. Marciniak 1969, p. 5–6). The earthwork at Davyd-Haradok produced a substantial amount of pottery (Fig. 12) and animal bone, as well as metal, glass, leather (Fig. 11), antler and bone, stone and clay finds typical for fortified Ruthenian settlements of the 12–14th century (L. Łoźny 1985 p. 186–187; C. Earwood, S. Małachowska 1993, p. 538–544). Polish researchers dated the earthwork at Góra Zamkowa from the close of the 11th/early 12th until the 14th century (R. Jakimowicz 1937, p. 276; J. Marciniak 1969, p. 6). This dating was subsequently confirmed by P. F. Lysenko (1969, p. 356).
Physical description
  • Earwood, C., Małachowska, S., The medieval town of David-gorod, Belarus, Antiquity 67 (256), 1993, s. 534–547.
  • Jakimowicz, R., Tymczasowe sprawozdanie z wykopalisk w Dawidgródku, Sprawozdania z czynności i posiedzeń Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności XLII, listopad 1937, nr 9, 1937, s. 272–278.
  • Jakimowicz, R., Dawidgródek, Pińsk, 1939.
  • Kuza, A. V., Drevnerusske poselenija. Zaključenie, (w:) Drevnaja Rus’. Gorod, zamok, selo, Moskva, 1985, s. 104.
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  • Lysenko, P. F., Kiev i Turovskaja zemlja, (w:) Kiev i zapadnye zemli Rusi v IX––XIII vv., Minsk, 1982, s. 81–108.
  • Łoźny, L., Ducal Seat at Davidgrodek on the Horyn against the background of fortified settlements in western Byelorussia and Mazovian frontier (based on Polish research in 1937–1938), (w:) Tezisy dokladov pol’skoj delegacii na V Meždunarodnom Kongresse Slavjanskoj Archeologii, Kiev 1985, Warszawa, 1985, s. 183–191.
  • Marciniak, J., Dawidgródek, wczesnośredniowieczne grodzisko nad Horyniem, Sprawozdania z posiedzeń Komisji Naukowych PAN, Oddział w Krakowie XII/1, styczeń-czerwiec 1968, Kraków, 1969, s. 3–6.
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  • Zagorul’skij, E. M., Vozniknovenie Minska, Minsk, 1982.
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