Kamienie i znaki apotropaiczne w murach romańskich kościołów w Siewierzu i Mokrsku Dolnym

Jan Bromowicz, Janusz Magiera


Stones and apotropaic marks in the walls of the Romanesque churches in Siewierz and Mokrsko Dolne (S Poland).
A b s t r a c t. Sacral edifices, in particular churches, no matter an epoch, were created of the most imposing and durable building material, mostly stone, available in the area or imported. Identification of the stone is crucial for conservation and reconstruction. However, in many cases, it is not done properly. Thorough mineral and geological studies on the stones and their provenance are thus strongly advisable. Romanesque churches in Siewierz and Mokrsko have recently been subject to such studies. They are located in different geological regions, which obviously reflected in different stones used for their construction. Church in Siewierz (founded probably at the beginning of the twelfth century) was constructed mainly of well-shaped regular blocks of local “Diplopora” dolomite (Middle Triassic). Only a few (out of a few hundred)
blocks represent sandstone. Their provenance is unclear (Carboniferous or Lower Triassic sandstones that occur SW of Siewierz?). Church in Mokrsko (erected probably in the first quarter of the thirteenth century) was originally built of also well-shaped regular blocks of limestone and sandstone. They are: very typical for the area Pińczów (“Lithotamnium”), limestone (Neogene), and Upper Triassic sandstone. The former shows up on the surface a few km E of Mokrsko, the latter occurs ca 10 NE of the site. The distribution of the stones and sizes of the blocks shows some regularity. Bigger and of more uniform size blocks were used in the parts of the buildings located closer to the high altar, it is in the apse of the church in Siewierz and the presbytery in Mokrsko. It seems clearly connected with special attention paid to those parts of the temples. Moreover, resistant sandstone was used more frequently than soft limestone in lower parts of the walls in Mokrsko, more exposed to the action of water raised from the ground. Numerous caverns, holes, and crevices have been spotted on external surfaces of the dolomitic and sandstone blocks. Caverns in the dolomites (in Siewierz) developed naturally, while those in the sandstones (in Mokrsko) have obvious anthropogenic provenance. They are interpreted widely in the literature as apotropaic marks. Here it seems that excavation of stone sand and dust for magic consumption by humans or livestock or (and) ignition of holy fire could be reasons for the scratching and drilling.

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