Excavation of the Vodiškarjeva Hiša farmhouse in the village of Nevlje near Kamnik

© Katarina Katja Predovnik, Department of archaeology, Faculty of arts, University of Ljubljana

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Nevlje, Vodiškarjeva hiša, the western facade during excavation of the sector F (June 2006, photo M. Gregorič).

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Excavation plan (drawn by N. Spudič).

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Plan of the excavated features in the sector E (drawn by N. Spudič).

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Sector E during excavation (photo M. Gregorič).

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Section no. 7 in the sector E (drawn by N. Spudič).

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Section no. 1 in the sector F (photo M. Gregorič, N. Spudič).

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Postmedieval pottery from the sector E.

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Medieval pottery from the sector F.

In 2006, from June 19th till July 15th the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana undertook an excavation of a farmhouse in the village of Nevlje. The work was carried by the archaeology students as part of their compulsory field training programme and was directed by Dr Katarina Predovnik.

The Vodiškarjeva Hiša farmhouse stands at the edge of a terrace of the brook Nevljica. The oldest part of the building, the so-called Hiša (house), was built of wooden logs and is dendrochronologically dated to the period from 1580 till 1600. The wooden construction stands on top of a stone-built cellar which was cut into the slope of the terrace. In the 18th or the 19th century, a lobby with a black kitchen and a room (Štiblc) built of stone were added to the house on the eastern side. The entire, now tripartite building was then plastered. The building originally had a thatched roof but it was removed in the 1970-ies and replaced by a new roofing construction, which had to be supported by free-standing posts made of concrete due to the poor carrying capacity of the walls.

In 2004 the owners began renovation work on the building by digging out the draining ditches all along the walls on the outer side. They also removed the outside plaster from the wooden part of the house. In front of the western facade, a large construction pit of irregular shape was dug in order to build a retaining wall and secure the foundations of the house. The pit reached beneath the level of the foundations. It had cut through at least one layer containing numerous fragments of medieval pottery, animal bones and charcoal. Everywhere, large quantities of post-medieval pottery and glass sherds and iron objects were found.

Before continuing the building activities, archaeological excavations were carried out. However, due to the extent of damage to the stratification and considering the static weekness of the construction, the excavations were limited to several chosen and rather small areas.

The southern part of the Štiblc was excavated in part. The owners had already removed the rotten wooden flooring. Underneath the two layers containing finds from the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century, an up to 6 centimeters thick flooring made of sand, soil and lime was uncovered. It showed clear signs of wear and had been smeared by mud and soot from the black kitchen. It was layed directly on top of the sterile ground consisting of thick sediments of gravel and sand. Into this sediments, the foundations of the Štibelc stone walls had been cut to a rather small depth of about 10 centimeters. The small finds date the building of the Štiblc to the 18th or the early 19th century. The trial trench in the yard next to the eastern wall of the Štiblc has shown that before its construction, the farmyard had been levelled and all of the older stratification completely destroyed.

The area in front of the wooden door in the northern wall of the Hiša, the supposed original entrance into the building, was also excavated. On building the new roofing in the 1970-ies, the area between the house wall and the roof-supports was filled in and partly levelled with large stones, sand, building materials and household refuse. Underneath, some earthen layers were found connected to the building of the extension with the black-kitchen and the tiled-stove/bake-oven. The foundations of the stone wall behind the stove that had been inserted into the original wooden construction were dug into a deep layer of ruins to the depth of about 50 centimeters. The ruins belonged to an 80 centimeters thick dry wall which used to run parallel to the northern wall of the cellar at 1,40 meters distance. This wall might have been part of a closed addition next to the house or it might only have been supporting and levelling the ground in front of the entrance to the house. On the northern side, two post holes were documented next to this wall which might have belonged to the wooden posts that once supported the jutting roof. That such a roof had indeed existed is attested by three cuts for the carrying beams in the northern wall of the Hiša. The excavated wall and the stone cellar wall were laid into the sterile ground. North of the dry wall several layers of earthen deposits were excavated containig numerous post-medieval objects. In the far western part of the trench some layers containing medieval pottery were found.

Due to the static weakness of the building, the great construction pit in front of the entrance to the cellar was merely cleaned and levelled. On the western side, the section was documented. Among others, three layers containing medieval objects were found. The pottery is identical to the one found at the nearby so-called Mali grad in Kamnik (Burg Stein). The pottery dates from the 11th or 12th centuries, the time when the village of Nevlje with its ancient parish church came into existence.

Excavation report [PDF]

References

T. CEVC, Vodiškarjeva kmečka hiša v Nevljah s konca 16. stoletja. – Kamniški zbornik 18, 2006, str. 47–58.

T. LEVANIČ, Dendrokronološka analiza stare kmečke hiše v Nevljah pri Kamniku. – Kamniški zbornik 18, 2006, str. 255–261.

K. PREDOVNIK, Nevlje – Hiša Nevlje 29 (EŠD 9196). – Varstvo spomenikov 2007 (v tisku).