Archaeologists Discover a Medieval Well in the Courtyard of the Faculty of Arts

Press Release Achievements Science

Archaeologists of the Faculty of Arts discovered unique finds directly under the windows of their Department in Sedláčkova Street 15. The survey, which took place last year and this summer, revealed parts of a medieval house and a medieval well.

"The discovery of the historic well in the Pilsen conservation area is an important source of knowledge of the history of the city of Pilsen. The unique collection of finds, which were unearthed during two stages of the archaeological survey carried out in the courtyard of the Faculty of Arts in Sedláčková Street 15, gives evidence of the life in Pilsen in the period from the 16th to 20th century," says head of the research Lenka Starková from the Department of Archaeology of the Faculty of Arts of the University of West Bohemia.

The first stage of the field excavation, an archaeological survey, took place in the summer of 2020. Archaeologists discovered parts of a medieval house, which was demolished in 1954, and an extensive collection of ceramic fragments from the 16th-18th centuries, which were used to fill a lime pit.

The first stage of the research was followed by the second one, which was carried out in June 2021. This time, scientists focused on detailed research of a circular sunken construction in the south-eastern part of the courtyard in Sedláčkova Street. The archaeological research, carried out due to the serious disrepair of the object, showed that it was a medieval well, which was dug at the time of the founding of Pilsen at the end of the 13th century. "The research took place under the windows of the Department of Archaeology, and students had a unique opportunity to study archaeological field methods in the premises of the University," explains Lenka Starková. Excavation work, carried out by the certified company BK-Investis, were completed in the penultimate week of July. The total depth of the historic well is almost 17 metres. An extensive and uniquely preserved collection of artifacts from the 16th-20th centuries was recovered from the lower part of the well. The collection includes various types of dishes, cut glass objects and fragments of glass figures. "Some of the objects were probably imported. We will verify their origin," adds Starková.

"As the environment is very specific and was not accessed by air, researchers found abundant remains of organic materials, including two drilled wooden tubes of a vertical pumping pipe. Due to its instability, its upper part (including a metal suction valve) was lifted and will be installed as an exhibit within the sightseeing route of the Pilsen underground," reveals Starková. The public will thus have the opportunity to become acquainted with these parts of water pumping and distribution, which were used in the Pilsen water supply network in the modern age.

"The research revealed extremely rich collections of artifacts that allow an insight into the households of Pilsen citizens in the time of the National Revival and the Industrial Revolution, periods that are usually out of the focus of archaeologists. Moreover, the finds perfectly complete one of our Department's specializations in the archaeology of the modern age", explains the Head of the Department of Archaeology, Pavel Vařeka.

The archaeological research also revealed remnants of a period that is still vividly remembered in the consciousness of witnesses, thus providing an opportunity to supplement the archaeological findings with knowledge of oral history and anthropology.

In September, the general public will have the opportunity to see the selected collections of finds as part of the event Pilsen Courtyards 2021.

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