An Archaeological Complex of annalistic city Nizhatyn

Dating: 10th-19th century
Protection # : 3718
Address: the central part of the city
Epoch: the Cossack Age; the Imperial epoch; the Old Rus epoch; the Lithuanian-Polish Age;
Personalities: Shafonsky O.F.; Kovalenko V.P.; Sytyi Yu.M.;
Categories: archeology monument;


In this place the Old Rus site of the ancient settlement, which researchers identify with annalistic Nizhatyn , mentioned in chronicle in 1135 and in 1147, was situated. The archaeological complex consists of dytynets, the suburb, the outskits of the town «Fortetsia» and the settlement «Nove misto». The archaeological complex is situated on both banks of the Oster river.

a. Settlement -Dytynets. The castle, 10th-19th century.

b. Outskirts town «Fortetsia» («Fortress»), 10th–19th century.

c. The settlement «Nove misto» («New City»).

d. The suburb.

According to O.F Shafonsky`s version, the Old Rus site of an ancient settlement, which researches identify with annalistic Nizhatyn, mentioned in chronicle in 1135 and in 1147, existed in the central part of the city on the left bank of the Oster river on the territory of the former fortress of the 17th – 18th century (further Zamok). Exactly on the territory of the former site of the ancient settlement the present day town Nizhyn appeared. This theory was supported by M. V. Herbel, M. Ye. Markov, S. M. Soloviov, V. H. Liaskoronsky and others. In 1989-1990 during the archaeological research under the leadership of V.P Kovalenko and Yu.M. Sytyi the presence of ancient and late medieval layers was established.

a) Settlemente-Dytynets. The castle of 10th-19th century (Zamok) is situated on the left bank of the Oster river. In 17th-18th c. the Nizhyn Fortess was situated there (Nizhyn Castle). Exactly O.F Shafonsky confirmed that Nizhyn Fortess was built on the ruins of the older settlement.

The settlement is an area of a round form, 3-4 meters lifted over the floodplain of the Oster river. From the west, south and east this area is surrounded by the cavity – which is covered with ditches, where Pokrovska Street is situated. From the west it is traced by Moskovska Street and Mariia Zankovetska Square. In the north it is cut down by the Oster river.

During the archeological research, the presence of the cultural layer of the 17th-18th century, traces of significant reconstructions and the remains of cellars of 18th-19th century were discovered. In 2004-2005 the remains of wooden structures, which may refer to the former building of the fortress, were found at 10 and 12 Moskovska Street. In 2010 during excavations not far from Bohoyavlenska Zamkova Church the remains of a cemetery of the 19th-20th century were discovered.

There wasn`t discovered any Old Rus object on the territory which is allotted to the Old Rus settlement. There was not big amount of ceramics of the 12th-13th century there (unlike the findings of the 17th-18th century, which are found very often). That`s why the question about the existence of the fortified settlement of the Old Rus Age on the territory of Zamok remains disputable.

b) The Suburban town «Fortetsia», 10th-19th century is attached from the south and the east (Chervona Hreblia Street, B. Khmelnytsky Street) and from the west (T. H. Shevchenko Park, I. Franko Square) to the dytynets. During the research in the 1980s and at the beginning of the 21st century the similar situation was stated concerning Zamok. The Old Rus layer was practically destroyed during the construction in the 17th-19th c., only some fragments were partially fixed of Vasylivska and B. Khmelnytsky Streets).

c) The settlement «Nove misto» («New City»). Nove misto is attached from the north to the suburb of the settlement in the tract Zamok. It is situated in the central part of Nizhyn, on the right bank of the Oster, its square is 25 ha. The investigation of the monument was conducted by Yu.M. Sytyi and I. S. Kedun in 2004-2012. According to the plans and descriptions of Nizhyn there was an old forshtadt (the suburb) inhabited not later than in the 16th century (the sources point at its antiquity). Forshtadt was surrounded by a shalow ditch. The ditch was destroyed in the 19th century during the general land surveying; in the modern relief it is almost not traced. It was found out that the time of prosperity of the settlement was in the 16thy-19th c.; in addition to that, the cultural layer is extremely saturated with some materials (fragments of circular dishes, glazed tiles, pipes and so on); there are numerous archaeological complexes there [Kedun, 2013, p.14]. During an archeological research on Lypovrihska and Lomonosov streets the presence of an Old Rus layer was found, which was partly preserved. The difficulty of further research lies in the fact, that the settlement is situated in a private building.

d) The territory of the suburb of the 10th-13th c. It borders in the east, south and west on the site of an ancient settlement. The area is over 30 ha. The research on the territory of the suburb made it possible to determine that the cultural layer of the Old Rus Age was destroyed during the building in the 17th-18th c.

Author(-s): Kedun I.S, Parkhomenko O.H.