A well-preserved kitchen thought to date to the early fifteenth century has been found near the historic town walls of Nový Jičín, which is located in the Moravian-Silesian region of the eastern Czech Republic.
Based on this location, Pavel Stabrava of the Novojičín Museum suggests the site may have been the home of a burgher family, although wealthier members of the same class were likely to have lived around the town square.
The kitchen was part of a house built of logs on a stone foundation, he added and was equipped with a brick oven and a hearth. Archaeologists also uncovered intact ceramic pots with their lids and a wooden cooking spoon.
Burn marks suggest the house’s inhabitants may have been forced to leave, perhaps during an attack by the Hussites in 1427.
“Since the house was located near the town walls, this would have been a less wealthy burgher family. The richest burghers would have lived in so-called ‘beer court’ houses around the town square.”
Most likely founded in the 1300s by the Lords of Kravaře, Nový Jičín seems to have gradually evolved from an earlier settlement around the castle of Starý Jičín which protected the nearby Amber Road that ran from Poland.
František Kolář from the National Heritage Institute, which took part in the dig, says that the town would probably have been largely made up of wooden houses, but admits that not much is known about the medieval settlement.
“This is because there haven’t been many archaeological excavations in the historical centre of the city. This is one of the first that have been made and we hope that we will be able to continue with excavations as the historic houses in the city get renovated.”
The medieval kitchenware inside the house was found in perfect condition, with the unbroken ceramic pots still containing their original lids. It seems that the items had just been washed and left to dry on the stone hearth.
The artifacts are now in the process of conservation, after which they will be stored in the depositories of the Novojičín Museum.
Mr. Stabrava hopes that further planned excavations around the exterior of the house will reveal more about the medieval town and its inhabitants.