A scraper, baratinki and namitka

These are just some of those historical values, which were found in Soligorsk region
These are just some of those historical values, which were found in Soligorsk region.

In spite of the fact, that Soligorsk is one of the youngest cities in Belarus, in its outskirts you can find the evidence of events, which took place hundreds of millions years ago. For example, petrified shells or seaweed, imprinted in stone. There are also newer findings. Sometimes a stone hatchet, sometimes a handful of mediaeval coins becomes the property of a local regional museum. Some artifacts remind the times, when on the south of Belarus the vast sea stretched, the others stress the coloring of the ancestors’ traditions and the inhabitants of the present day Soligorsk region.

Unique archaeological findings are often the consequence of mining. Just imagine — the work is being carried out on striking of trunks of a future minery, and all of a sudden in the massive material on the depth, exceeding 200 meters, occurs some “animal”, which lived in the Cretaceous period, it means 150 million years ago. For example, a hog. Oh yes, don’t be surprised — this is a reliable fact: during the construction of the Fifth mine group of “Belaruskaliy” the miners banged against a round item of a golden color. It turned out to be a hog, it is true, a sea hog. Recently two of these ancient inhabitants of the sea bottom have been found. However, even more unique and ancient finding is a merostomes. This representative of prehistoric time lived in the outskirts of the present day Soligorsk in the Devonian Period of Paleozoic — from 410 to 360 million years ago! Recently it has occurred one more time. First of all, the miners were puzzled by the finding — whether it’s a cancer, or a scorpion, but later it turned out to be that this is a merostomes.

Considerably later, nearly 11 thousand years ago, after the last glacier, a man came to the present day Soligorsk region. He came, routinely, in a coat with a stone hatchet. On the right bank of the river Sluch Belarusian archaeologists found the evidence of settlements of ancient men of Mesolithic times (the middle of the Stone Age). There was a silicic scraper, used for the manufacture of skins, among numerous findings, dated by that time. There were also other items out of silicium, which, besides, are rare in this region.

More often these or those instruments were made of other stones — boulders, “lost” by a glacier. So, Soligorsk regional ethnographers can’t be surprised by notorious stone hatchets — there are several tens of these ancient instruments of labor and hunt in their arsenal. But more valuable item is a stone hack. Nearly ten of them were found in Belarus, one of them was found near the settlement Pogost in Soligorsk area. The village with such a name is situated rather remarkably — by both banks of the river Sluch. River waters wash away different curious things from burial mounds over and over again, which are situated in those places. A big group of ancient burial mounds is situated near the city — starting from the so-called Yustikova hill, which presented the archaeologists variety of interesting artifacts in 1929, to the village of Tychina. Many citizens don’t even guess, that the hills, taken fancy by them for active rest, for skiing and sledging, embosom the traces of life activity of the ancient man. On the whole, there are more than 500 showpieces in the archeological collection of Soligorsk regional museum.

But these are the matters of the days gone, let’s look into the recent past. For example, in 1665 ends the reign of a Polish king Jan II Kazimir Vaza. In 3 years he will vail a crown, but a reminder about him will remain in the form of portraits, replicated by hundreds of millions, and sometimes by billions on copper coins solidy. The most mass coins in our land, which circulated during almost one hundred years, were called baratinki, in honor of their first chiseller Titus Levius Baratini. The coins baratinki were of two types of mintage: Polish and Lithuanian. They had the same tails, and the emblems differed: on different clods were depicted the “pursuit”, an eagle and, of course, the king’s profile. It is possible to view all this, if to look closely, on the coins, found not long ago on the bank of Soligorsk reservoir near the village of Metiavichi. For some reason the king’s profile is seen best of all, and also the inscription “solid”. The year is not visual, but the scientists defined a firm date of the mintage — 1661 and 1665. The children brought a finding to the regional museum. It was found out, that copper coins will not be precious treasure, and they decided to make a good cause. Surely, a finding was a cushion of somebody — 120 baratinki-solids lay in one parcel. Yes, now you can’t pay with their help. However, you can use them for other purposes. The matter is, that in the Middle Ages people threw baratinki over a back, proposing good weather. And on Easter the peasants, reading a prayer, scattered small money and kutja with pieces of an Easter egg in the southern part of the field — to a big harvest.

A member of Soligorsk regional museum Zinaida Romanovich told me with special pride about one of the latest findings. The matter is an item of female clothes with a beautiful and melodic name — namitochka. This is, perhaps, the most characteristic and ancient of the female headdresses of Belarusian women. Namitka was bound over a cap and reminded a towel out of the finest huckaback, which intricately winded over a head, and its ends came down to the shoulders and breast, giving grandeur and beauty to the women’s poise.

At that Soligorsk namitka isn’t simple, it’s with unique pertussis hand-made lace. This item preserved perfectly, and, according to local regional ethnographers, is unique to Belarus. There is one similar namitka in the museum’s exposition. The picture’s nature and the manner of decoration afford ground to believe, that both headdresses are made by the same hands, or, at least, belong to one school of weaving and plaiting.

Yuri Akulov
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