Warunki osadnictwa i użytkowanie roślin w rejonie jatek rzeźniczych (XIV-XVII w.) - przesłanki archeobotaniczne

Monika Badura , Małgorzata Latałowa

Abstract

Archaeobotanical material (23 samples) from the site of the historic meat stalls in Gdansk’s Main Town was recovered from a wide range of contexts of various origin, dating from the 14th to 16th century; one sample dates from the 17th century. The list of species encompasses 177 taxa, of which 128 were identified to species representing local flora, plants used in animal fodder and plants which featured in the diet of residents living at the property on Św. Ducha Street in the 14th–16th centuries. The botanical composition of the material also provides evidence of the environmental conditions at this site in the late medieval period. The content of samples taken from the site’s natural horizon clearly points to the existence of a wetland environment at this location prior to its settlement, hence, according to archaeological dating (Krzywdziński 2008), up until the first half of the 14th century. Depressions in the ground may still have been filled with shallow eutrophic bodies of water. The composition of samples taken from occupation layers which accumulated in the passage between the meat stalls and the residential plot, and in the yard of a 14th-century house, suggests the presence of live animals within this area; pigs were probably kept in the yard. Plant species that may have been used as ingredients for animal fodder and bedding predominate in these samples. By-products of the brewing process and of oil production, as well as acorns, were probably added to fodder. The contents of a cooking pot recovered at this site, and found to contain mostly oat remains, may have been used as feed for horses or poultry. The area occupied by the meat stalls was periodically cleaned. Sand or woodchips were used to line the ground; this is evidenced by samples containing sea sand (Cardium shells), a significant proportion of fine wood fragments and a small number of diaspores. Samples recovered from cesspits proved to be of particular interest, providing new data on the historic use of certain plant species in Gdańsk. The early appearance (first half of the 14th century) of redcurrant (Ribes rubrum) was noted, whilst the abundant presence of fig seeds (Ficus carica), both in samples of the 14th century and those dated to the 15th–16th century, confirms that this species was commonly used in local cuisine. Overall, spices were relatively poorly represented in the cesspit samples. In particular, the more expensive species noted at other sites in Gdańsk are missing, possibly pointing to the limited wealth of the residents living at the excavated property. It should, however, be emphasized that the material under discussion is not sufficiently representative to allow for this type of comparison. The archaeobotanical study carried out on samples from this site is in keeping with the current trend of incorporating palaeoenvironmental analysis into archaeological assessment and excavation of urban sites, which is becoming increasingly common in Europe, including Poland. This study has yielded a series of interesting insights into local environmental conditions and past land use in this part of the city.
Author Monika Badura (FB / DPE)
Monika Badura,,
- Department of Plant Ecolog
, Małgorzata Latałowa (FB / DPE)
Małgorzata Latałowa,,
- Department of Plant Ecolog
Other language title versionsArchaeobotanical evidence of settlement conditions and plant use in and around the site of the former meat stalls in Gdańsk’s Main Town (14th-17th century)
Pages565-588
Publication size in sheets0.9
Book Pudło Aleksandra, Ossowski Waldemar, Trawicka Ewa (eds.): Jatki mięsne w Gdańsku od XIV do XX wieku, Res Gedanenses, no. 16, 2018, Muzeum Gdańska : Muzeum Archeologiczne w Gdańsku, ISBN 978-83-61077-62-6, [978-83-85824-91-6], 674 p.
Keywords in EnglishGdańsk, archaeobotany, meat stalls, settlement condition, useful plants
Languagepl polski
Score (nominal)5
Score sourcepublisherList
ScoreMinisterial score = 5.0, 28-10-2019, MonographChapterAuthor
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