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 MaƂopolska 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.)


  1. I love the slavic people before 13th century design. I think it's the roof. Would it be very smoky in a house like do you think?

  2. Hello.

    At the first Archeopark I visited, in Czech, they mentioned the smoke in the houses. There are vents at the top that allow the smoke to escape, and it can also work its way through the thatch. If you look at the outside shots of the buildings in this post, you can see the vents in most of the photos. You can also go to the other Archeopark post (part III) and see the vents on the outside and inside of the first two pictures. http://polskizamki.blogspot.com/2010/07/day-at-archeopark-part-iii.html

    Thanks for reading :)

  3. I will definitely do that. Thanks!

  4. Lovely pictures, a pleasure to see this. Thank you!

  5. Thanks, and I'm glad you enjoyed!

  6. Way back in the late 70's, I worked at the American embassy in Vienna. I had close friends in the Austrian Ministry of Defense and they invited me to a celebration at their Kasserne outside of Rust, Burgenland. It contained a very authentic recreation of a Magyr village.
    It was strikingly similar to the one you show above. It was very enjoyable to walk through history. They also served food and drink - although I doubt it was like the original.

  7. That sounds really neat. Do you have any photos or do they have a website?

    I was able to reture to both archeoparks this summer and I have a great deal of info to add for this village, and photos for the trades and their tools. My aunt and I got a private tour. Unfortunately, I need to set aside time to work on the blog and that won't be too soon.

  8. Fantastic blog and a post.
    I am really impressed by your website.
    I actually added it to my blog list.I would be honoured if you could do the same for me.
    Thanks and till my next comment

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you for the compliment and adding me to your blog list. I will definitely do the same as your blog is wonderful. I learned a fair bit about Nowy Wisnicz and those old images were lovely.

      In other news, I really have to update this archeopark post before winter is over. Hopefully I can start work on it next week...

  9. What a fantastic post.Congratulation on that.
    I actually used to live in the neighouring village and have never heard the story told in such a good way .
    Really fascinating story

  10. this website is very useful. do you think that you could please tell me a bit more about the inside of the blacksmiths house? this will help alot!!!

  11. Beautiful ideas, Thank to you for sharing this.

  12. Love this post for so many reasons. It is so real and vulnerable, it is pure beauty. I must appreciate you, A huge thumbs up for your work.

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