Material Culture of the Rural Suburb Population of the Medieval Kyiv

  • Ihor Hotun National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Institute of Archaeology, Department of Old Rus and Medieval Archaeology, PhD in History, Research Fellow https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9285-5107
  • Oleksandr Kazymir National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Institute of Archaeology, Department of Old Rus and Medieval Archaeology, Junior Research Fellow https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8671-7077
Keywords: Middle ages, unfortified settlements, Kyiv suburbs, constructions, agricultural tools, tools of trades and crafts, household tools and items, jewelry, weapon items, cult items

Abstract

As a result of large-scale excavations of a few unfortified settlements next to the capital city along with the previously received materials from studying the same category of archaeological sites, quite a huge amount of data has been collected that is fully sufficient in order to provide characteristic of material and some elements of spiritual culture of the population of the mentioned socio-economic formations.

Most of the researched settlements were bound to sources of water supply. In the area where it was possible to trace whithin configuration of the excavations (Sofiivska Borshchahivka), there were traced streets planning and formation of the farmstead constructions. At some places certain traditions of inside constructions’ layout and general features of housebuilding are noticed. The studied houses are deepened in the ground, in some cases on basements; to the living quarter sometimes was adjacent a lobby-entrance. At Sofiivska Borshchahivka village, two-chamber dwelling with floor in the living part was investigated; at Teremky settlement — a single-chamber dwelling with floor laid on the pegs pounded into the ground. The stove was placed by the entrance and directed towards it. In addition to the dwellings household constructions were found. The livestock farming is marked by the construction for fattening pigs at Khodosivka-Roslavske, the agriculture — by pits for grains at Sofiivska Borshchahivka. The main production facilities of ironmakers (Kremenyshche, Hodosivka-Kozakiv Yar), amber processing specialists (Khodosivka-Roslavske), specialists in pyrolysis of wood as well as subsidiary production facilities — woodworkers (Khodosivka-Roslavske), stoneworkers (Sofiivska Borshchahivka) and etc. were excavated.

Tools of soil cultivation, harvesting and processing of the crop testify the developed agriculture, while spit and fetters clasps — developed livestock; special arrowheads — hunting; awn, fishing nets sinkers, hooks — fishing; hazel nutshells — gathering. The population was also engaged in gathering spice plants, dyes, fibers, fruits, mushrooms, berries, and, based on the natural conditions and modern documents — probably also in wild-honey farming. Tools and various facilities indicate spinning, weaving, manufacturing and repairing of shoes and clothing, while some tools, and unfinished items, production waste indicate metalworking. Artifacts of bones carving, woodworking tools, and findings indicating development of other industries are also recorded.

In the collection we have a wide representation of household items, jewelry and details of a costume, amulets of pagan cults and those items of special piety of Christians with items of the temple service. Many elements of weapons, military equipment and equipment of a rider and a battle horse were collected. In addition to ceramic tableware, among which are products with glaze, sophisticated tableware, etc., fragments of glass tableware and metal pan were recorded. Some of jewelry items and insignia of the Orthodox worship not only reflect trade and cultural ties, but also characterize the perception of space by the population.

The results of the excavations not only show that the information resource of rural sites is not yet exhausted, they not only emphasize the extraordinary nature of the material culture of the settlement Khodosivka-Roslavske even in comparison with neighboring locations, but also serve as an additional argument in favor of considering the sites of the capital suburbs as a separate social-economic and cultural formation.

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