Museum Reserve

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A Catalogue “Wooden and Metal Vessels and Cutlery at Turaida Castle in the 13-18th centuries”

This spring, the Turaida Museum Reserve has issued a new catalogue “Wooden and Metal Vessels and Cutlery at Turaida Castle in the 13-18th centuries”, compiled by the  author of this information. The 160-pages thick and richly illustrated work in Latvian with parallel text in English is editorially prepared by publishing house “Zinātne”.  The publication summarises information about more than 120 antiquities found during  archaeological excavations at Turaida Castle ruins from 1976 to 2000 under supervision of professor Jānis Graudonis. It is a small part of the objects that have been used over the centuries by upper class and servants in the Turaida Stone Castle for transportation and storage of  various foods,  cooking of meals and eating at the dining-table.

The catalogue consists of two parts. The first part contains a description of the types of wooden and metal vessels of medieval and early modern period, their manufacturing process and date. It provides information on  barrels and small stave-built bowls, carved and lathe-turned vessels from one piece of wood, cast non-ferrous metal cauldrons and forged sheet metal cauldrons as well as spoons and knives.  Some interesting facts about single objects were found in the written sources – in the letters written by landlords, inventories  of the castles as well as in the trade regulations of the Riga woodworking masters and metalsmiths. However, the main information is provided by archaeological excavations.

The second part is a catalogue containing 121 pictures of the objects found in the Turaida Castle ruins, their short description and dating. It is a selection of the whole finds and larger fragments which show the appearance of artefacts of different shapes. There is a particular diversity of knives because they are represented by a large number of finds. It testifies about the use of these tools not only when eating at the table, but also for different daily needs and as household utensils. It should be emphasized that the numerical distribution of artefacts included in the catalogue – few wooden and plenty of metal objects – does not meet the diversity of the vessels used in the household of the Turaida Castle. In ancient times mostly wooden vessels were used in the household, but they survive  in the ground only in rare cases.

The new catalogue continues the series of publications on archaeological antiquities stored in the Turaida Museum Reserve’s repository. In 2012, the first catalogue “The Krimulda Raganas Hoard: Silver Ornaments and Coins of the Gauja Livs, 10th-13th centuries “. In less than ten years, the series is supplemented with seven publications. The list of previously published catalogues by the Turaida Museum Reserve is added in the conclusion  of  the new edition. All catalogues can be purchased  at the Turaida Museum Reserve’s Ticket Office. Their digital version is available at the museum’s website under Publications – E-books:https://www.turaida-muzejs.lv/e-book/select-the-mobile-or-pc-version/

Ieva Ose
Chief specialist
Turaida Museum Reserve

All texts of the Catalogue are translated in English.


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