MEDIEVAL PILGRIMAGES OF THE INHABITANTS OF SILESIA
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Recent archaeological excavations have yielded new evidence of pilgrim signs from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. In Silesia, the most popular images were those of pilgrims from the Legend of St. Hedwig. The earliest scallop shell, which is to some extent a natural sign of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was discovered at several sites in central Poland and the coastal region. Metal pilgrim signs originated mainly from Wroclaw: a plaques from Rome and Cologne. Signs of St. Stanislaus also occurred in Kraków, in Bohemia and Moravia. Small plaques incorporated into vessels of the 'Hansekanne' type, made of tin, are considered as pilgrim signs. In the pilgrimage movement monasteries were engaged in the manufacture of a variety of devotional items and utensils. A mass find of clay pilgrim bottles was made at Trzebnica. Clay and metal pilgrim bottles and a clay horn were discovered in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Wrocław was also the site of a mass find of clay figurines. Czestochowa has been an extremely important pilgrimage center in Polish consciousness ever since the beginning of the Modern Age. Medieval Silesia appears as a distant periphery of the western and central European'pilgrimage civilization'. The picture revealed in the archaeological record alone is somewhat biased, especially in view of insufficient investigation of river beds, which occasionally yield a rich trove of pilgrim signs. Inhabitants of Wroclaw, were making pilgrimages to Rome, Compostela and Cologne, already in the first half of the 13th century. In the 14th century, the center of gravity of the pilgrimage movement moved to Upper Silesia: pilgrims proceeded from Opava to Aquisgrán (Aachen) and from Racibórz to Compostela. The number of written sources rises considerably in the 15th century, being the effect of as much greater literacy as intensified pilgrimaging though archaeological finds are quite modest. The plaque from Trzebnica, found in Wroclaw is of exceptional interest, considering that the sign represents a local Silesian place of worship, which could not have had much reach in the 15th century, especially as it concerned not just St. Hedwig, but also the earlier worshipped St. Bartholomew. 6 Figures.
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