Regia archaeological and architectural reserve, Wiślica
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Regia archaeological and architectural reserve

Wiślica

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The reserve includes an early medieval hill fort, complex of relics of the Romanesque representative ducal seat, unique because of its double layout (two palas buildings and two accompanying rotundas) and the remains of Gothic town walls dating from the times of Casimir the Great.

Location and description

The reserve is located in the north-western part of Wiślica, at a short distance from the Market Square. It is a dry and relative flat area, elevated high above the river valley and the remaining part of the town island. The area serves both defensive and representative purposes. The name “regia” was used by Długosz to refer to the highest area of land in the town, which is royal property.

The oldest component of the site are the relics of the fortified settlement in the form of two successive phases of wooden and earthen fortifications and a moat. The older rampart was erected as an earthen sconce, while the younger one was built using the sandwich structure, reinforced by a palisade on the outside. Surveys revealed traces of scarce buildings located within the fortified settlement in the form of traces of six buildings. Furthermore, a treasure was found consisting of five decorative raspberry ear cuffs.

Remnants of the Romanesque architecture including two palas buildings and two adjacent rotundas are, however, of the greatest importance.

Building no. 1 (Palas I) was a rectangular bipartite building with a smaller room to the western and a larger one to the east, erected using the opus emplectum technique (two-sided face of the wall of dimension stone, the space between them filled with crushed stone mixed with mortar). The building probably adjoined two rooms to the south: at the eastern corner and perhaps at the western corner. Results of older surveys show that the building was also fitted with arcades supported by pillars and piers. Verification works have not proved their existence.

Building no. 2 (Conch Rotunda) was located 2.5 m east of Palas I. It was most probably a seven-conch rotunda, which consisted perhaps of two storeys, with conches in the crypt. The foundation walls were built in a narrow excavation, of crushed rock gravel and limestone, bonded with a large amount of lime mortar. Initially, scientists divided the occupancy period into two phases, which were not confirmed by verification surveys. The existence of a western gallery was also ruled out.

Building no. 3 (Palas II) was a longitudinal bipartite building set at an angle with the northern wing of the complex (Palas I and conch rotunda). The floor plan of the building did not have the shape of an ideal rectangle, but it was bent at the height of the partition wall indicating the larger southern room and smaller northern room. The foundation walls were made of marlstone bonded with gypsum mortar.

Building no. 4 (Rotunda with apse) was a central structure with a polygonal apse, oriented north-east, adjoining to Palas II to the south. The foundations of the northern part of the nave were built of crushed rock gravel in the herringbone pattern, and the layer of stone separate individual rectangles. Perhaps it was a double-phase structure.

History

Initially, there was a fortified settlement in the area of Regia. The first ramparts were built at the turn of the 10th/11th centuries, and the ones in the 12th century. The latest findings revealed that the construction of Romanesque buildings goes back to the second half of the 12th century and should be associated with the activities of Casimir the Just. Later history of this area is not fully known. The problem of cemeteries in this area is not clear. It seems that the most recent graves probably from the 13th century were built in the relics of Romanesque buildings; therefore, they mark the moment in which the buildings no longer existed. It is unknown when they were destroyed, under what circumstances and why a cemetery was located in their remains. Wiślica suffered during the Tatar invasion in 1241 and perhaps during successive periods in 1259-1260 and 1287. During the reign of Casimir the Great, the town was surrounded by walls, a network of streets underwent alterations, a market square was established, and a collegiate church and perhaps a castle, traces of which have not yet been discovered during archaeological surveys, were erected. At that time, the old fortified settlement in regia was located within the town walls; however, it has no relics from the 14th century. Construction activity began there again in the 16th century and partially destroyed the remnants of the Romanesque architecture. At present, the relics of the fortified settlement are completely invisible under modern private properties.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Archaeological surveys were conducted in 1961-1968 under the direction of Z. Wartołowska from the Team for Research on Polish Middle Ages established by the University of Warsaw and the Warsaw University of Technology; and then in 1994-1998 under the supervision of W. Gliński within the framework of the research programme “1,000th anniversary of the Congress of Gniezno”.

The historic material obtained from the research is in the collections of the Institute of Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, and of the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments in Kielce. Raspberry ear cuffs can be viewed at the Museum of the History of Kielce.

compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 11-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Rozpędowski J., Ze studiów nad palatiami w Polsce, “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki”, 1962, vol. 24, issue 3-4, pp. 244-250
  • Tomaszewski A., Kolegiata wiślicka. Konferencja zamykająca badania wykopaliskowe, Kielce 1965, pp. 49-50
  • Żaki A., Archeologia Małopolski wczesnośredniowiecznej, Wrocław 1974, p. 155
  • Świechowski Z., Architektura romańska w Polsce, Warsaw 1982, p. 11
  • Żurowska K., Z problematyki genezy układu palatiów wczesnopiastowskich [in:] Studia nad architekturą wczesnopiastowską, “Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego”, vol. DCXLII, “Prace z Historii Sztuki”, vol. 17 Warsaw - Cracow, 1983, pp. 107-164
  • Wartołowska Z., Dzieje Wiślicy [in:] S.K. Kozłowski i J. Kolendo (ed.), Dzieje archeologii na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim, Warsaw, 1993, pp. 273-288
  • Żurowska K., Dom biskupi [in:] Żurowska K. (ed.) U progu chrześcijaństwa w Polsce. Ostrów Lednicki, Cracow, 1993, pp. 168-192
  • Pianowski Z., Sedes regniprincipales. Wawel i inne rezydencje piastowskie do połowy XIII wieku na tle europejskim, Cracow 1994
  • Kajzer L., Wstęp do archeologii historycznej w Polsce, Łódź, 1996, p. 119
  • Gliński W., Wiślica plemienna czy wczesnopaństwowa? [in:]CivitatesPrincipales. Wybrane ośrodki władzy w Plscewczesnośrednowiecznej. Katalog wystawy., Gniezno 1998, pp. 77-81
  • Gliński W., Koj J., Z nowszych badań nad wczesnośredniowieczną Wiślicą, “Slavia Antiqua”, vol. 40, 1998, pp. 119-149
  • Rodzińska-Chorąży T., Zespół architektoniczny na regii w Wiślicy. Próba analizy dostępnych danych [in:] Kóčka-Krenz H., Łoziński W. (ed.) Kraje słowiańskie w wiekach średnich. Profanum i sacrum, Poznań 1998, pp. 561-572
  • Gliński W., Zespół palatialny w Wiślicy w świetle badań archeologicznych [in:] A. Buko, Z. Świechowski (ed.), Osadnictwo i architektura ziem polskich w dobie zjazdu gnieźnieńskiego, Warsaw, 2000, pp. 257-267
  • Rodzińska-Chorąży T., Zespoły rezydencjonalne i kościoły centralne na ziemiach polskich do połowy XII w., Cracow 2009

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: X/XI - poł. XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wiślica
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district buski, commune Wiślica
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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