Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Villa VI Aratorum. The Archeopark at the Salt Mines.

Fortification: Ploughmen Village
Location: Bochnia, Poland
Built: First written mention of the village is in 1234.

I was very excited to find another archaeopark, this time in Poland, during my trip. Unfortunately, I was only there briefly. A kind security guard allowed my group in after hours and gave us a very brief tour. There's always next time!

The village is a reconstruction of a typical 13th century settlement found in the Małopolska region of Poland.

Entering through the main gate, we have the first courtyard, where brine was removed from the well and heated to vaporize the water and leave the salt:

Unfortunately, I lost my photos that showed a close up of the 'table' where they made the salt.

Continuing on to the main area of the acropolis, we have numerous houses that demonstrate that cottages and the like don't have to be shoddy little shacks:

This is the blacksmith's house, and just behind it you can see the carpenter's. I should note that I am not clear if these houses were actually particular to the trades of the time, particular to the trades of this village, or simply a mix used to show off all the different styles of houses at the time. The archeopark regularly has reenactment days, where craftsmen and woman show visitors their trade.

Blacksmiths were some of the earliest craftsmen to develop guilds. Over time the profession branched off to create locksmiths, nailsmiths, knifesmiths, and so on. A carpenter or woodworker was well versed in making buildings, windows, doors, and furniture. Many would even build carts and barrels when work on buildings was slow.

The next photos show a design common among some Slavic people before the 13th century:

A close up of the roof:

Here is a photo of a roof from the inside:

And here is a short (12 second) video that highlights the layout of a dugout:


This next house is rather nice, but I can not remember what the leveled structure to the left was for. I believe it was for sorting/processing grains or clay for pottery, but don't hold me to that. Hopefully I can return next year and get a proper tour of the village.

Looking back the way we came:

The herbalist's/healer's homestead:

Another interesting design:

For more information on the archaeological park at Bochnia, click here. Lots of pictures, and more information about different medieval trades. (I highly recommend this site. You might be interested in reading about the salt mine as well, which is the oldest in Poland. It's origins can be traced back to 1248.)