LATE MEDIEVAL VOLHYNIAN CASTLES (Researh of 14th—16th Centuries Sites in the Horyn River Basin)


Keywords: castle, town, late Middle Ages, Volhynia

Abstract

The article analyzes the topography, planning and defense systems of late medieval castles of the Horyn River basin. Literary sources mention 43 castles which is about half of the total number of Volhynian castles of the sixteenth century. Most of them concentrate in the upper reaches of the Horyn River, within the limits of the North Podillia Upland (18) and in the middle reaches of the Horyn in the Volhynian Highland (23). Most of the castles (10) were in the estates of Ostrozki princes. The remains of 16 fortifications were excavated. All of them were the parts of privately owned cities. According to the topographic conditions of the site most of them had the fortifications built on the capes. As for the planning scheme the castles are classified into two groups: the simple (having one fortified site) and multiple (with two fortified sites). Archeological excavations took place in the territory of 5 castles with two fortified sites (Ostroh, Taikury, Dorohobuzh, Rivne, Korets). The fact of the construction of castles in Slavic settlements were studied at 10 sites. The examples of the use of early settlements for the construction of late medieval castles allow conclude that their complex planning (fortified center and suburb) derived from the practice of the period of Kyiv Rus. Concerning the size of the fortified sites, the castles of Pohorynnia (Horyn River basin) are quite diverse. The smallest ones had an area of 0.1—0.2 ha (Krupa, Verkhiv, Marenyn), the largest — 3.2 ha (Ostroh). There is certain dependence between the area of the castles and their administrative and economic importance, primarily the size of subordinated land holdings, estates or parishes. The centers of large land holdings of princely families were Ostroh, Zaslav, Olyka, Korets. Rivne, Klevan and Stepan also were the centers of large territories while Zhukov and Dorohobuzh were the centers of smaller estates. The number of castles in the region significantly increased in the sixteenth century, during the time when the military threat from the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire increased. Most of the castles had wooden and earth fortifications and only some, in the sixteenth century, were reinforced with stone and brick defense objects — towers, gates, walls.

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Published
2020-06-30
How to Cite
PryshchepaB. A. (2020). LATE MEDIEVAL VOLHYNIAN CASTLES (Researh of 14th—16th Centuries Sites in the Horyn River Basin). Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 35(2), 194-200. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.02.13