Excavation finds unique collection of fabrics and shoes from the 16th-17th century

Archaeologists excavating in Toruń, Poland, have uncovered unique collection of fabrics and shoes from the 16th-17th century.

The discovery was made during the construction of a new film studio in Toruń, revealing well preserved shoes, silk fabrics, fragments of pleated dresses, and lacewings with floral ornaments.

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According to the archaeologists, this is the largest collection of found fabrics and footwear ever discovered in Europe from the 16th to 17th century.

Previous studies have mainly found silk fabrics in church crypts and tombs, however, these have been found in small fragments and rarely survive. According to the researchers, the volume of objects found in a well-preserved state suggest that a shoemakers or tailors (or both) was in proximity to the excavation site.

Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland with its roots tracing back to the 8th century AD. For centuries the city was home to people of diverse backgrounds and religious faiths, emerging as a trading hub in the Hanseatic League.

The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive network of merchant guilds and market towns in Central and Northern Europe. During its peak, the Hanseatic League dominated maritime trade in the North and Baltic Seas, with outposts in numerous towns and cities across Europe.

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Archaeologist Mariusz Ciszak, said: “Toruń had extensive contacts throughout Europe. Various types of horn products, metal products, ceramics, fabrics and leather confirm the high-class production of Toruń craftsmen and extensive trade contacts. This city connected the East with the West, it was the centre of the economic and political life of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at that time”.

Ciszak emphasised that the fabrics and shoes demonstrate that Toruń was one of the most important Hanseatic cities.

Header Image Credit : Tytus Żmijewski

Sources : PAP

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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