• Polski
  • English
  • AA+A++
The northern part of the ducal residential complex on the Cathedral Hill in Chełm

Project information


Project title: The northern part of the ducal residential complex on the Cathedral Hill in Chełm

Project No: 2014/13/B/HS3/04930

Project lead: prof. dr hab. corresponding member PAS Andrzej Buko

Project lead, institutional: Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Project financing:National Science Center, 2014-2016


e-mail: abuko@uw.edu.pl
phone (22) 620-28-81 do 86

Project implementation:

prof. dr hab. corresponding member PAS Andrzej Buko – Project lead
dr Marcin Wołoszyn - Principal investigator
dr hab. Radosław Henryk Dobrowolski - Principal investigator





1. Research project objectives/ Research hypothesis


The Early Medieval Chełm – informal capital of the Halych-Volhynian Duchy - belongs to the key centres of the Polish-Ruthenian border but is still poorly examined in archaeological sense. Interdisciplinary research realized in the years 2010-2012 for the MNiSW (Ministry of Science and Higher Education) Project resulted in uncovering the remnants of Duke Daniel Romanovitch’s (from 1253 the King of Ruthenia) multiphase residence in the southern part of the High Hill. Identified relics of monumental architecture were described as innovative, unique and not having any analogies on Polish territory and even in this part of Europe. In 2013, after the grant ended, archaeological excavations were held in the northern part of the High Hill, a part which was not examined within the frames of the grant. In accepted opinions this was to be an undeveloped courtyard in front of the residence. But the research brought discoveries which to a large degree change the former concepts of the hill’s topography.

Within the trench area uncovered were relics of another monumental building of stone-and-brick, originating from the Daniel Romanovitch times, and the accompanying many meters of stratifications. Unknown is the function of this mysterious and burned building (St. John’s temple? Holy Trinity temple? St. Kosmas and Damian temple? secular building?), while its existence constitutes a great scientific surprise (particularly in the face of the discoveries made in the years 2010-2012). In this context new questions arose: How was the space of the supposed courtyard situated outside of the residential buildings organized?


2. Research project methodology


Our objective is to examine the northern part of the High Hill. Research will be performed by applying scientific methods from several disciplines. Most important shall be the archaeological excavations, allowing to investigate and determine the plan, chronology and functions of the recently discovered building and its stratifications. Indispensable for this purpose is an open-airtrench of several meters depth (4-5 m) and accompanying additional test trenches. Complementary to the archaeological excavations will be the detailed study of the geological context of this hill part, based on taking soil cores and architectonic expertise. For the purpose of dating we plan at least 20 analysis made by following methods: (1) radiocarbon (dating of charcoal) and (2) luminescence dating (of mortar and archaeological finds). Subject to this type of dating shall be the small finds.


3. Expected impact of the research project on the development of science, civilization and society


The complex of architecture relics discovered during realization of the last Project deserves special attention, since in the unanimous opinion of historians and archaeologists the oldest part of the residence building identified at the Cathedral Hill in Chełm presents a unique in this part of Europe constructional solution. This regards the concept of the palace building in form of an aula, as well as the alterative hypothesis, assuming the presence of a residence divided in many parts, built on an embankment made for this purpose and closed within a regular quadrangle of walls. If the hypothesis that the monumental architecture was spread over the whole hill area shall be confirmed, then all previous assumptions on the original architectonic form of the residential complex should be modified. At present stage of research the closest reference to buildings in Chełm seem to be the royal residences in Hungary or the palaces of Byzantine origin. Complex examination of the Halych Dukes residence shall fill the scientific blank in research on architecture of this period in East-Central Europe and east of Vistula in particular. The end product of research results shall be a published monograph in Polish.