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Białystok / Archaeological work on the square of Branicki Palace is nearing completion

Białystok / Archaeological work on the square of Branicki Palace is nearing completion

Part of a stone floor from the 15th to the 16th centuries, as well as dishes and tiles of different eras, a camp from the Mesolithic period – these are some of the finds made during the archaeological work carried out in the parade ground of the Branicki Palace in Białystok that is nearing completion.

Archaeological work began in the exhibition grounds of the Branicki Palace nearly two weeks ago. It is the result of an agreement between three universities in Białystok: Białystok Medical University (UMB), located in the palace, Białystok University of Technology and Białystok University (UW).

As archaeologists have emphasized from the beginning, this is an important research, because it was not conducted in the exhibition grounds. They counted on discovering the hitherto unknown history of the city.

“It worked. It was worth starting the survey work here: we have answers to a number of questions, such as verification of previous GPR surveys, we have a large collection of episodes in history and confirmed archaeological history” – told PAP archaeologist Dr. Maciej Karczewski of Bialystok University, summarizing the work done. The search for the excavations has ended, and the documentation process is still in progress; Drilling is scheduled for early next week.

The search was conducted over an area of ​​5 by 5 meters. After removing the paving stones, archaeologists discovered successive layers. Karczewski previously told PAP that the fossils will continue until no human activity appears in the layers. The researchers descended to a depth of about 85 cm. “The geological layers are already lower,” Karczewski noted.

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As he explained, in man-made strata, so-called anthropogenic history from the 20th century to the Mesolithic, is recorded intermittently. “Not every period is equally well lit. The first interruption is the lack of stratification of the 19th century, from the days of Jan Clemens Branicki, i.e. the 18th century and the times of Pyotr Vyszewski, i.e. the 17th century. Several hundred years older ”- Karczewski reported.

He explained that this was due to the fact that in the period between the two world wars or during the Russian occupation, the courtyard area was cleared, removing the soil turned into clay, which may have contained the remains of earlier eras. Karczewski said the resulting shortage was covered in mud to level the area, and thus “the lower layers were sealed off”. He emphasized that thanks to this, the layers of the fifteenth, sixteenth and earlier centuries were preserved.

Archaeologists consider the greatest find to be a fragment of the floor, which was initially estimated in the XV-XVI centuries, probably from the times of the first owners of Bialystok properties – the family of Rashik Taputovich (Razkovich). Karczewski admitted that it was known that the manor house of this family was located on this place, but its design is unknown.

Previous GPR research indicated that the remains could be found at this location. Karczewski said the defects turned out to be a “too hard” ground made of clay and field stones. Fragments of ancient pot tiles have been found there – the oldest type of stove tile, from the 15th-16th centuries. That is why – as the archaeologist said – the piece unearthed from the floor can be dated to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and is linked to the oldest manor complex in this place, ie Raczkowicz Palace.

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Karczewski revealed that at the bottom of the stratum referring to this family, traces of earlier eras were found. “This is related to the fact that we have sandy and loose land here, people were walking and throwing garbage and mixing these layers, which means that the monuments of the early Middle Ages, and then prehistoric monuments, were somehow added to this layer from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ”- he pointed out researcher.

In his opinion, historical times end with the discovery of pottery pieces from the early Middle Ages. “Later we have many episodes confirmed by transmitted monuments, mainly fragments of pots from the past centuries BC and the first centuries of our era, a group of people who used pottery in the style of the so-called culture, pots with a characteristic outer surface covered with inclined hatching “. Research shows that under this layer there was a “leap several thousand years back”, to the so-called rope-ware culture of the late Neolithic period. “The oldest settlement event is the Mesolithic camp,” said the archaeologist. The oldest found remains is the Mesolithic flint pen, which dates back to 5-7 thousand. years BC

Although no layers survive from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, researchers have found single fragments of antiquities from that period, including. Ceramic tiles from the time of the court of Piotr Wiesiołowski, glassware or copper szeląg by Jan Kazimierz, the so-called poratine.

Karczewski announced that analyzes that will enrich the history of the city will now be carried out. “We have sampled these man-made strata. We will look for plant remains in them; we will know what plants people used, or plants that may have grown in the area. Animal bones have also been found, so archeology tells us what animals, from which Parts of the corpses come from these bones, how old they are. This will show us how these farm animals were used. (…) All this should give us a clear picture of the past ”- added the researcher.

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He said that the results of the recent archaeological work will be compared with the results of previous works carried out in different parts of the gardens of the Branicki Palace, in the entrance courtyard and in the palace itself.

The Branicki Palace and Garden in Białystok are among the most representative places in the city and the region. The beginnings of the palace and garden complex date back to the 16th century, but enjoyed their splendor in the 18th century, during the reign of Hetman Jan Clemens Branicki. It is estimated that at that time Bialystok was one of the most beautiful Baroque gardens in Poland, and even in Europe.

PAP – Science in Poland, Sylwia Wieczeryńska

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