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Rescue archaeological research on the Dominican Square in Cracow in the light of interdisciplinary studies.

Monika Łyczak

Vol. 40, no. 2 (2014), s. 207-218

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The rescue excavations associated with the renovation of surfaces surrounding the Dominican Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Cracow were conducted in 2011-2012 in front of the church. This research confirmed the presence of a churchyard cemetery whose origins date back to the 12th century and led to the discovery of previously unknown relics of medieval architecture in the form of two pieces of the masonry foundation of the Gothic chapels and presumably pre-Dominican (or early-Dominican) church of the Holy Trinity as well as undisturbed culture layers from early mediaeval times. The research was carried out in close collaboration with researchers in architecture and art history; it enabled preliminary reconstruction of the plans of the discovered buildings. Petrographic analysis of building material and samples of mortars used provided information on mediaeval construction techniques. Human bone material was analyzed by anthropologists. As a result, the gender, age and health status of members of the mediaeval and modern populations of Cracow buried in the cemetery were determined. Geochemical studies also helped to assess the degree of land contamination related to the presence of the cemetery. A detailed analysis of the cultural layer representing the residue of the open settlement along with its coeval economical structures was carried out. Layer dating was based on a formal analysis of the ceramic material. Osteological research of the animal bone material and palaeobotanical studies of soil samples taken from settlement layers allowed clarification of the nature of the settlement.