Wyroby z żelaza i obróbka tego metalu na terenie grodu w Dawidgródku nad Horyniem (Białoruś)
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Data publikacji: 31-12-2003
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2003;LVI(56):431–450
The article discusses iron finds from the early medieval settlement centre at Davyd-Garadok: weapons (spear point – fig. 1d, arrowhead – fig. 1b, fragments of plate armour), elements of riding gear and horse trappings (spur – fig. 2, crampon – fig. 1a, small hoop, possibly an element of a horse-bit – fig. 1c, buckle for securing the saddle-belt – fig. 3c), dress fittings (buckles – fig. 3a.b), tools (knives – fig. 4c–h, axe head – fig. 6, chisel – fig. 4b, awl (?) – fig. 4a, gouge –fig. 5a, fragments of half-scythes – fig. 5b), objects of daily use (cylindrical locks – fig. 7c.d, a key – fig. 7a, staples – fig. 7b, fittings, nails, obscure objects) and iron working half-products (two lumps of slag). Wood-working tools (axe, chisel, knives) and the profusion of wooden objects3 testify to the popularity of this material in all walks of life. Knives were also used in local production of fine objects of antler and bone. A large iron implement discovered at Davyd-Garadok, presumably an usually large type of awl, points to the importance of leather working and making of leather footwear. Local shoemaking is evidenced by a wooden shoemaker’s last discovered in 1967, the impressive quantity of leather scraps, fragments of shoe wear as well as complete shoes found on the remains of individuals buried in oak wood coffins. Neither the studies made by R. Jakimowicz and J. Marciniak or the 1967 excavations of P. F. Lysenko produced evidence that iron was smelted within the settlement itself. The pre war investigation produced some pieces of cake iron, the 1967 study, an implement used in working this raw material (two pairs of iron tongs from a layer dated to the 1st half of the 13th century, an iron blacksmith’s punch from an early 13th century), indicating the existence on the Castle Mount at Davyd-Garadok of a blacksmith’s workshop (P. F. Lysenko 1969, p. 372, 374, fig. 12; 1974, p. 131, fig. 37:3). Iron objects discovered at Davyd-Garadok were produced using the prevailing technique of plastic working in which iron was forged using also a variety of operations such as stretching, expanding, offsetting or cutting. Some of the iron pieces have punched openings (eg knives with a band-like handle – fig. 4e.f, the fitting – cat. 32, awl – fig. 4a), the crafting of others involved bending (eg lock – fig. 7c.d, staple – fig. 7b, chain link – cat. 47, hoop – fig. 1c) and twisting of iron rods (eg knife – fig. 4h). The technique, popular in Ruthenia, of making tools with a cutting edge in which two layers of iron and a layer of steel in between were welded, in the period in question (12th century onwards) was slowly on its way out, replaced by blades fitted with a steel bit on their cutting edge (B. A. Kolčin 1985, p. 253). This latter method may have been used in making the cutting tools discovered at Davyd-Garadok (knives, half- -scythes, chisel, the gouge, axe-head, points). Some of the iron items may have been additionally subjected to heat treatment. Simple objects such as nails, buckles, staples, etc, were presumably fashioned from uniform raw iron but the smiths of Davyd-Garadok were also acquainted with the method of joining iron using copper-based solder. This is evidenced by the cylindrical locks (Fig. 7c.d), which were produced using this technology (B. A. Kolčin 1957, p. 243). Individual elements of iron objects were also joined with rivets (armour, knives with a band--like handle – fig. 4e.f). Next to basic operations associated with finishing the surface of the produced objects, such as grinding, smoothing or polishing, the surface of some iron objects was coated with non-ferrous metal – lead-tin alloy (Fig. 4a), copper (Fig. 7c.d), tin (cat. 32), or silver (cat. 33), which enhanced the decorative value of the object and equally importantly, protected it against corrosion. The pre-war research at Davyd-Garadok uncovered iron semi-finished products in the form of two cakes of iron, which contained – as subsequently confirmed by spectrographic analysis – a substantial amount of metal. Later the material was probably forged at Davyd-Garadok to obtain pure iron. L. Koziorowska suggests7 that it may have been used in producing the plates of the armour, one of the locks (Fig. 7c) and a fitting (cat. 33). Perhaps the iron semi-finished product in question had come from iron smelting workshops in the area of Davyd-Garadok, supplied in this form, for further treatment at the settlement center. Evidence obtained from excavating medieval settlement centers found in the Turaů province is insufficient to establish whether iron was smelted within these strongholds. Probably smelted iron in the form of cakes (bloom, rus. kritsa/крица) was supplied to the regional center by iron smelters from the surrounding villages in exchange for objects produced by craftsmen operating in that settlement (P. F. Lysenko 1974, p. 191; 1991, p. 111; B. A. Kolčin 1985, p. 245). Such commercial forms of raw iron have been recorded at Pěnsk, Turaů, Brest, Slutsk), and areas adjacent to Turaů province – Minsk or Vaúkavysk (L. V. Koledinskij 1988, p. 366; P. F. Lysenko 1991, p. 111). They are also known from ia Novgorod, Ruthenia (ca 2 kg) and from sites in Latvia and Lithuania (F. D. Gurin 1987, p. 17). Rich deposits of bog and meadow iron ore found in the drainage basin of the Pripyat’ river were until the 18th century the basis of local iron metallurgy (P. F. Lysenko 1991, p. 111). It cannot be excluded that a part of the high quality raw iron entered the region through long-distance trade from northern Europe, as was the case in the region of Polatsk (F. D. Gurin 1987, p. 105, 112). Starting from the 12th century the function of the iron smelter and blacksmith previously performed by a single craftsman was gradually becoming separate (F. D. Gurin 1987, p. 108). Activity of blacksmiths in the settlement centers of Turaů province is evidenced further by finds of iron working tools and by the large number of iron products themselves. Widespread presence of not only simple pieces but also of items requiring more sophisticated methods of production suggests that iron working in the region had achieved the status of an independent and specialized craft (P. F. Lysenko 1974, p. 188–189; 1991, p. 111). The blacksmith working the smithy at Davyd-Garadok presumably supplied his wares not only to the residents of his own settlement but also to the local rural population, who exchanged their products for those made by the craftsmen of their regional settlement center. Although the site at Davyd-Garadok produced just a few elements of weaponry (a spear point and arrow head), discovery of a the fragment of plate armour and a spur, along with a buckle, possibly the fastening of a saddle belt, testify to the presence of horse riders within that settlement center. The presence of horses at Davyd-Garadok is evidenced not only by their bone remains but also by the find of a crampon – an iron fastened to the horse’s hooves to facilitate walking over ice. Winter fishing under the ice is suggested by the iron gouge used for making holes in the ice. Animal husbandry is evidenced by finds of iron half-scythes used to cut hay for animal fodder. Iron sickles discovered after World War II indicate that inhabitants of Davyd-Garadok engaged in farming. Daily life of the settlement centre is reflected by finds of numerous nails, fittings or knives. The latter were probably an all-purpose implement, used at home and in the workshop, although one of these specimens (cat. 19) may be suspected of having been used for surgical purposes. Staples, rings for fastening doors, and particularly, iron locks and keys discovered at Davyd-Garadok cast some light on the social situation in the stronghold. The residents of the settlement must have been wealthy enough to care for their property by locking their houses with locks.
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