14th Century Foundations Discovered at Camerimage Film Center Construction Site in Toruń

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    During the construction of the European Center of Film Camerimage (ECFC) in Toruń, foundations of a 14th-century building, possibly a warehouse, have been unearthed. The relics are likely to be dismantled, with some parts potentially relocated and showcased within the ECFC building.

    Archaeologist Mariusz Ciszak, leading the excavation, shared, “We are approximately 4.2 meters below the project’s initial level, in a layer dating back to the 14th-15th century. Behind me are the foundation walls of structures and buildings that we discovered here.” The bricks exhibit the Wendish bond, the oldest Slavic bricklaying pattern, confirming the historical timeframe.

    The discovered ceramics further support this dating, with three large hearths found nearby, possibly linked to a burned-down tavern indicated on historical maps. One of the buildings unearthed might have served as a goods warehouse, evidenced by intact trade seals suggesting extensive trade connections with Hanseatic cities and Lower Silesia.

    Steel structure outlines, potentially related to a former blacksmith’s forge, were also found. The ongoing archaeological research spans layers corresponding to different historical periods, meticulously documenting artifacts, including bone and wooden items, and a rich collection of medieval coins.

    Wooden and leather artifacts are undergoing conservation, and initial analyses suggest the possibility of the discovered building being a lightweight structure, potentially used for goods storage. The historical significance of the findings includes the potential identification of a field kitchen or slaughterhouse, shedding light on a lesser-documented part of Toruń’s history.

    Marek Żydowicz, the director and founder of the Camerimage Film Festival, emphasized the importance of the discoveries, stating that the lower layer of the walls is Wendish, possibly dating back to the late 13th century. He highlighted the economic significance of this medieval suburb, contributing over 60% of Toruń’s external income during the Middle Ages.

    Plans include the publication of a comprehensive research document and the organization of a conference to delve into the history of Toruń’s fortifications and life in that part of the city. Żydowicz acknowledged the challenge of incorporating the archaeological findings into the film center, but discussions are ongoing regarding possible exhibitions or displays within the facility.

    Sambor Gawiński, the regional conservator of monuments, emphasized that ongoing archaeological research adds valuable fragments to Toruń’s history. While a full exhibition may not be possible due to the dispersed nature of the discoveries, artifacts like trade seals could be showcased in the developing ECFC. The excavations, initiated in December, mark the beginning of a journey to uncover and preserve Toruń’s rich historical legacy.

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