Archaeologists are continuing the work started three years ago next to the medieval tower in Stołpie (Lublin Province). There, at an unknown source, a stone and brick structure was discovered, which was called the “chapel”. It is probably older than the tower itself. The aim of this year’s work is, among other things, to complete the study of the “chapel” and to decide whether it will be possible to draw water from the discovered spring, as it was done years ago.
This history dates back to the 13th-12th centuries. According to historical sources, around 1240, the ruler of one of the principalities created at the time of the district breakdown of Kievan Rus, the Duke of Halych-Volhynia, Daniel I Romanowicz (also known as Daniel Halicki) moved the capital of the state from Halicz to Chełm and began to build his residence here.
It is assumed that it was in this period that the tower was built in the nearby village of Stołpie, right next to today’s national road number 12. Historians believe that the building had a representative and religious character.
There was a chapel on the last floor of the tower
– On the last, fifth floor, the remains of an Orthodox chapel have been discovered. There are niches for the Blessed Sacrament in the walls, and on the floor, which no longer exists, the remains of ceramic tiles that lay here centuries ago were discovered. Besides – the only window in this room – facing east. And it is from the east that the Savior is to come again – says Paweł Wira, head of the Chełm branch of the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Lublin.
The chapel was to be used by the mother of Prince Daniel, who lived in the tower, i.e. the Greek princess Anna (she lived in the years 1185-1253).
At an unknown source, they discovered a stone and brick structure
– Everything indicates that the construction of the tower in this particular place was not a coincidence. The point was that there are springs in this area, the water from which was worshiped – explains the manager.
Archaeologists have been interested in both the tower and the surrounding areas for over a hundred years. They were last here in 2018.
– At a distance of about 50 meters from the tower, we discovered a stone and brick structure, which we tentatively referred to as the “chapel”. It was located near an unknown buried spring – says Dr. Stanisław Gołub, the archaeologist in charge of the research.
One of the elements of the structure of the “chapel” was an oak gutter. Dendrochronological studies have shown that the wood dates back to the end of the 12th century.
– This could mean that the “shrine” is older than the tower. Unless we accept the thesis presented that the latter was erected not in the times of Daniel Romanowicz, but during the reign of his father – Prince Roman Mścisławowicz – explains Gołub.
It is planned to mark out alleys and create an access point for water intake
This year, the archaeological work continues. – We are examining the western part of the structure. Thanks to this, we will know what happened to the “chapel” and how the spring was later used. In addition, in cooperation with hydrologists and geologists, we will decide whether it is possible to make the low-lying source available – says the archaeologist.
The results of the research will be reflected in the spatial development design documentation for the entire vicinity of the tower, which is to be built this year.
– The authorities of the Chełm commune want, among other things, to mark out walking paths or create access routes for taking water from other sources. An important element of the project is to be the aforementioned “chapel” above the newly discovered spring. It would be good to show her relics, but it is rather impossible, because the remains of the destroyed walls are located at a considerable depth in the marshy surface. Probably at this point a board with a description and photos from the tests will be placed – explains S. Gołub.
The land development will be a continuation of the works that were initiated by the commune in 2020. It was then that the historic tower was roofed. This year it will also be highlighted.
Prince Daniel tried to connect East with West
– Certainly, this place has a huge tourist potential. Not only when it comes to the spring, but also the figure of Anna and her son – emphasizes Paweł Wira.
According to him, Prince Daniel tried to create a state that could be treated as a kind of link between East and West.
– Certainly such a ruler was seen in him by Pope Innocent IV, who offered him the royal crown. Some sources say that the prince accepted her and in 1253 a solemn coronation took place in Drohiczyn. Even if it did not happen, and those historians are right who claim that Prince Daniel refused because he did not want to convert to Catholicism, it shows that in our territory the East has met the West for centuries – he emphasizes.
The tower is located in the village of Stołpie in the Chełm commune
Main photo source: WUOZ in Lublin, branch office in Chełm