In 2004, archaeologist Ruslan Orlov discovered production furnace-burning of the second half of the XI century on the territory of the Museum of Old Russian Pottery (Mezhygirsky Spas street, 11).
The following year, the research of a valuable object was continued by a group of scientists, resulting in its museification and transformation into an important tourist point.
This is almost the only ancient potter's kiln in Ukraine, which is exhibited directly on the site of the finds, and not moved to the Museum from another place.
Located in the heart of the Vyshgorod “posad” (city outskirt), the construction was only one of two or three hundred kilns, which functioned here during the era of Kyivan Rus.
Today, the outskirt of Vyshhorod is the most researched pottery center of Old Russian time on the territory of Ukraine, which makes it possible to make certain generalizations about medieval pottery crafts in general.
Walking along the steep slopes of the Vyshgorod mountains, you can see the output of high-quality clay. The presence of these deposits, which are still used by local residents for the extraction of clay, led to the emergence of such a large pottery cell.
As a rule, Vyshgorod potters used a mixture of two or more types of clay for the manufacture of dishes. After extraction, the raw materials were placed in a special storage (the so-called "glinnic" (clay container)- mostly a regular pit or enclosed ground floor), in which it was kept and cooked for some time - watered and shoved.
The body of the receptacles was formed by a spiral-wicker method and only then it was corrected on the potter's wheel. The characteristic technical imprints on the Vyshgorod dishes allow us to trace the transition from the slow (manual) to the fast (foot) potter's circle, which took place in the XII century. The home of the potter, where the products were formed, served as the workshop.
The last stage of the manufacture of ceramic products - firing – is the most complicated and most responsible. It was associated with the construction of a special type of industrial buildings - potter kilns. From the root of the word “horn”, which meant a primitive stove, the word "honchar" (potter) actually came to pass.
All Vyshgorod pottery furnaces belong to the most common type of Old Russian kiln - a bunk structure with a vertical movement of warm air. Similar structures are quite effective for the firing of large batches of dishes: the principle of gas propagation allowed to reach a fairly high temperature without the use of artificial bubbles. They were built of clay on a frame made of wooden rods and formwork.
The bottom - firebox - camera was immersed in the ground and served to heat the device. Fuel (wood) was loaded through a small mouth, which went out to the working platform (the so-called " pit in front of the stove"), also deepened. From the upper - burning - chamber the furnace was separated by a horizontal partition with openings, through which the hot air got into the first one.
This element of the structure was the most loaded: it is its fault most often captured during the study of Vyshgorod furnaces. The firing chamber repeated the size of the firebox, but it was ground-based. After placing dishes into it through a special hole, this hole was plastered with clay or closed to prevent cold air get inside the chamber.
Kilns of the first half of the XI century had a small working volume and a fairly simple design. Subsequently, Vishgorod potters began to build more and more heat engineering facilities.
Professional artisans, who during the time of Kyivan Rus worked on a Vyshgorod outskirt, lived here, next to the workplace. Usually the typical mansion of a local potter consisted of dwellings, buildings and pits of economic purpose and potter's furnace.
In the first half of the XI century the dominant type of dwellings was square structures of log construction recessed into the ground up to 1-2 square meters. Their sizes ranged from 3.5 × 3.5 to 5.5 × 5.5 m. The furnace of round shape, about 1 m in diameter, was most often erected in the northern, colder parts of the house. Starting from the middle of the XI century, the so-called frame-pile structure of buildings was specific, when the panels were erected from the boards of the wall using vertical pillars. In addition, housing began to be considerably smaller (0.35-0.6 m) deepened in the ground. In the end, in the first half of the XII century the prevailing type of residential buildings were ground-based buildings with a so-called underground (basement).
One of the dwellings of the beginning of the XII century was accidentally discovered in 2012 right next to the Museum of Old Russian Pottery during the laying of communications.
Like the rest of the dwellings of this period, it had a two-tier structure. Partially preserved only the lower tier - underground. In the center, it had an oval hollow and served as a household barn. The walls of the upper tier went beyond this hollow, they were fixed with the help of powerful supporting pillars. From these pillars there were small, but deep, fossils located evenly. The upper tier was dwelling, as evidenced by the remains of the oven, which fell down after the destruction of the building.
Many coals and ashes indicate that the building perished in fire. The same can be explained by a fairly large number of archaeological finds discovered during excavations. Among them - a stone murky cross of Byzantine production, a fragment of the church chandelier, a fragment of an iron key, fragments of glass cups, a buckle with incrustation, etc. We can speak about the fact that the whole family lived in the home. For items of a man's use, you can consider the buckle and the parts of the horse's equipment. Numerous decorations (glass bracelets and rings) and household items (iron needles for sewing, stone spindles - from spindles) belonged to the women. Children's things are clay, covered with watering, a horse-riding toy and another glass bracelet, but of a small size . In the dwelling, the buildings do not raise doubts about the finds of millstones and rubbish, associated with agricultural crafts - grinding grain to flour. Numerous cases of fixation of animal bones, fish scales and grains also testify to the diet of inhabitants of the building.
Thus, with every new excavation on the territory of the Vyshgorod outskirt, people who inhabited it a thousand years ago, as if come alive with their daily pleasures and troubles.