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Archaeological Explorations in 2003

Exploratory and advance rescue explorations were associated with the intention of the reconstruction of the early Middle Ages fortification strip. Another objective of the explorations was to ascertain the character of the layers of the oldest fortifications at the very edge of the rocky body. This edge (slope) is constantly eroding. The location of the probes (excavations) built upon the explorations carried out in 2000. In two cases, probes 1 and 2 were further worked on and in a significant manner were dug to the very edge of the steep rocky slope.

Methodology of the exploration

The areal probes 3/2003 and 4/2003 were demarcated in the area between probes 1/2000 and 2/2000, and probe 5/03 southeast of probe 2/2000. The placement of probes was freely made in the attempt to uncover the continuation of the stone aggregation identified during explorations in 2000, which was interpreted to be the remains of an “early Middle Ages fortification wall”. Individual natural layers were removed in the areal probes. Only recent layers were completely removed in probes 3/2003 and 4/2003. The uncovering of areas ended at the surface of the early Middle Ages group of strata. The early Middle Ages stratigraphy was studied only in a 70 cm wide excavation along the northwest edge of probe 3/2003. The exploratory excavation was dug down to the bedrock. The historic group of strata in probe 5/2003 was completely removed down to the bedrock.

Description of the situation in the field

Probe 1/2003 (1/2000)

In this probe, in which explorations were carried out in 2000, a short cross section of the northwest wall was documented in places along the terrain’s edge where the probe was not covered back up. Supplementary documentation was carried out in an attempt to revise the interpretation of the findings during explorations in 2000. In 2000, along the southwest border of the probe, a linear accumulation of stones was plotted. This accumulation combines two chronologically different components. Part of the stones belong to the base of the early Middle Ages group of strata, however, a significant amount is associated with a modern even recent digging in the early Middle Ages group of strata. This stratigraphical relationship was not recorded during the explorations in 2000. The boundary between early Middle Ages layers 4 and 5 and layers 3 and 2 was recorded on newly created drawings. The boundary clearly indicates subsequent digging into the Middle Ages group of strata. The stones from both stratigraphical contexts were differentiated in the cross section drawings of the probe.

Probe 2/2000

In this probe, in which explorations were carried out in 2000, cross sections of the northwest and southeast walls, in places along the terrain’s edge where the probe was not covered back up, were documented. Supplementary documentation was carried out in an attempt to revise the interpretation of the findings during explorations in 2000. In 2000, along the southwest border of the probe, a linear accumulation of stones was revealed. After referring to the then drawn up documentation of the stratigraphy on the wall of the probe, new drawings were created. In places above the above-mentioned accumulation of stones, a marked border between the early Middle Ages group of strata and later diggings was discerned, which was not documented in 2000. New evaluation of the stratigraphy proved the connection of the accumulation of stones with the modern diggings and falsified the classification of this context into the early Middle Ages.

Probe 3/2003

When removing the upper soil layers, containing besides early Middle Ages ceramics also porcelain and factory faience, about in the middle of the probe a linear accumulation of stones appeared that was oriented in the northeast – southeast direction and roughly 0.5–1 m wide that obviously was connected with a similar structure identified in probes 1/2000 and 2/2000. The soil layers were on top of a huge layer of yellow-grey sand having a large amount of rocks. Dating the layers to be from the early Middle Ages was supported by the findings in probes 1/2000 and 2/2000, where among other things an early Middle Ages graveyard was found at that stratigraphical level. When cleaning off the surface of layer 6 the stratigraphic relationship to the above-mentioned accumulation of stones was identified, which proved to be newer and the filling in of the early Middle Ages level, which is probably connected with modern or even recent landscaping. The gaps between stones were filled in with grey-yellow sand mixed with soil. The excavations in the probe were stopped at the surface of the early Middle Ages layer of grey-yellow sand. After the documentation of the entire stratigraphy, digging continued down to bedrock of the excavation along the northwest wall of the probe. Here, the early Middle Ages layer of grey-yellow sand was located on top of a layer created from weathered granite.

Probe 4/2003

The same situation as in probe 3/2003 was documented in this probe.

Probe 5/2003

Under the soil layers, which contained recent findings, a similar situation as in probes 1/2000, 2/2000, 3/2003 and 4/2003 was documented in the northwest section of the stratigraphy. A layer of grey-yellow sand having an early Middle Ages age, datable to the Middle Ages, was located on top of the layer of weathered rocks (see above). However, the recent diggings documented in the other probes were not evidenced here. The stratigraphic situation was different in the eastern section of the probe. Here, under recent layers of building rubble, a compact layer of soil containing early and peak Middle Ages ceramics was found. Determining its stratigraphic relationship to the grey-yellow sand was prevented by recent landscaping and evident erosion of the ravine.

Conclusion

During the explorations in 2003 the existing interpretation of the uncovered stratigraphy was re-evaluated. On the basis of the newly set differentiation of individual stratigraphical contexts, the linear accumulation of stones, previously considered to be the remains of an “early Middle Ages front wall of a graveyard”, belongs to modern landscaping when the terraced walls were being built. The oldest stratigraphical situation was documented in probe 2/2003. The linear accumulation of stones here clearly is related to significant digging into the early Middle Ages group of strata. The remains of the early Middle Ages fortification were markedly destroyed during the extraction of stones. The only context that is related to the early Middle Ages fortification is the thick layer of relocated weathered granite that was identified in all areal probes. This layer can be considered part of the terrestrial body of the early Middle Ages fortifications. During the explorations, no remains of interior wooden structures reinforcing the terrestrial body were found. The front section of the fortification line was destroyed during the extraction of stones in the locations of the explorations.Archaeological Explorations in 2003

Exploratory and advance rescue explorations were associated with the intention of the reconstruction of the early Middle Ages fortification strip. Another objective of the explorations was to ascertain the character of the layers of the oldest fortifications at the very edge of the rocky body. This edge (slope) is constantly eroding. The location of the probes (excavations) built upon the explorations carried out in 2000. In two cases, probes 1 and 2 were further worked on and in a significant manner were dug to the very edge of the steep rocky slope.

Methodology of the exploration

The areal probes 3/2003 and 4/2003 were demarcated in the area between probes 1/2000 and 2/2000, and probe 5/03 southeast of probe 2/2000. The placement of probes was freely made in the attempt to uncover the continuation of the stone aggregation identified during explorations in 2000, which was interpreted to be the remains of an “early Middle Ages fortification wall”. Individual natural layers were removed in the areal probes. Only recent layers were completely removed in probes 3/2003 and 4/2003. The uncovering of areas ended at the surface of the early Middle Ages group of strata. The early Middle Ages stratigraphy was studied only in a 70 cm wide excavation along the northwest edge of probe 3/2003. The exploratory excavation was dug down to the bedrock. The historic group of strata in probe 5/2003 was completely removed down to the bedrock.

Description of the situation in the field

Probe 1/2003 (1/2000)

In this probe, in which explorations were carried out in 2000, a short cross section of the northwest wall was documented in places along the terrain’s edge where the probe was not covered back up. Supplementary documentation was carried out in an attempt to revise the interpretation of the findings during explorations in 2000. In 2000, along the southwest border of the probe, a linear accumulation of stones was plotted. This accumulation combines two chronologically different components. Part of the stones belong to the base of the early Middle Ages group of strata, however, a significant amount is associated with a modern even recent digging in the early Middle Ages group of strata. This stratigraphical relationship was not recorded during the explorations in 2000. The boundary between early Middle Ages layers 4 and 5 and layers 3 and 2 was recorded on newly created drawings. The boundary clearly indicates subsequent digging into the Middle Ages group of strata. The stones from both stratigraphical contexts were differentiated in the cross section drawings of the probe.

Probe 2/2000

In this probe, in which explorations were carried out in 2000, cross sections of the northwest and southeast walls, in places along the terrain’s edge where the probe was not covered back up, were documented. Supplementary documentation was carried out in an attempt to revise the interpretation of the findings during explorations in 2000. In 2000, along the southwest border of the probe, a linear accumulation of stones was revealed. After referring to the then drawn up documentation of the stratigraphy on the wall of the probe, new drawings were created. In places above the above-mentioned accumulation of stones, a marked border between the early Middle Ages group of strata and later diggings was discerned, which was not documented in 2000. New evaluation of the stratigraphy proved the connection of the accumulation of stones with the modern diggings and falsified the classification of this context into the early Middle Ages.

Probe 3/2003

When removing the upper soil layers, containing besides early Middle Ages ceramics also porcelain and factory faience, about in the middle of the probe a linear accumulation of stones appeared that was oriented in the northeast – southeast direction and roughly 0.5–1 m wide that obviously was connected with a similar structure identified in probes 1/2000 and 2/2000. The soil layers were on top of a huge layer of yellow-grey sand having a large amount of rocks. Dating the layers to be from the early Middle Ages was supported by the findings in probes 1/2000 and 2/2000, where among other things an early Middle Ages graveyard was found at that stratigraphical level. When cleaning off the surface of layer 6 the stratigraphic relationship to the above-mentioned accumulation of stones was identified, which proved to be newer and the filling in of the early Middle Ages level, which is probably connected with modern or even recent landscaping. The gaps between stones were filled in with grey-yellow sand mixed with soil. The excavations in the probe were stopped at the surface of the early Middle Ages layer of grey-yellow sand. After the documentation of the entire stratigraphy, digging continued down to bedrock of the excavation along the northwest wall of the probe. Here, the early Middle Ages layer of grey-yellow sand was located on top of a layer created from weathered granite.

Probe 4/2003

The same situation as in probe 3/2003 was documented in this probe.

Probe 5/2003

Under the soil layers, which contained recent findings, a similar situation as in probes 1/2000, 2/2000, 3/2003 and 4/2003 was documented in the northwest section of the stratigraphy. A layer of grey-yellow sand having an early Middle Ages age, datable to the Middle Ages, was located on top of the layer of weathered rocks (see above). However, the recent diggings documented in the other probes were not evidenced here. The stratigraphic situation was different in the eastern section of the probe. Here, under recent layers of building rubble, a compact layer of soil containing early and peak Middle Ages ceramics was found. Determining its stratigraphic relationship to the grey-yellow sand was prevented by recent landscaping and evident erosion of the ravine.

Conclusion

During the explorations in 2003 the existing interpretation of the uncovered stratigraphy was re-evaluated. On the basis of the newly set differentiation of individual stratigraphical contexts, the linear accumulation of stones, previously considered to be the remains of an “early Middle Ages front wall of a graveyard”, belongs to modern landscaping when the terraced walls were being built. The oldest stratigraphical situation was documented in probe 2/2003. The linear accumulation of stones here clearly is related to significant digging into the early Middle Ages group of strata. The remains of the early Middle Ages fortification were markedly destroyed during the extraction of stones. The only context that is related to the early Middle Ages fortification is the thick layer of relocated weathered granite that was identified in all areal probes. This layer can be considered part of the terrestrial body of the early Middle Ages fortifications. During the explorations, no remains of interior wooden structures reinforcing the terrestrial body were found. The front section of the fortification line was destroyed during the extraction of stones in the locations of the explorations.

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