Archaeologists discover remains of a port market in Zaryadye Park

Archaeologists discover remains of a port market in Zaryadye Park
From the 12th century, what is now Zaryadye Park was home to a port market for selling goods brought to Moscow by river.

Moscow archaeologists discovered the remains of a port market square in Zaryadye. Eighteenth century English trade seals were found in the park’s eastern part near Moskvoretskaya Embankment, alongside Russian lead trade seals and 18th and 19th century copper coins, a brass figurine of a European horseback rider donning a 17th or 18th century uniform, and multiple fragments of leather goods and straps that date back 400 years. All these artefacts were discovered during the renovation work at the park.

“For several centuries, Zaryadye Park served as a market place for selling foreign goods brought to Moscow by river. A large berth operated on what is now Moskvoretskaya Embankment for ships and boats. Sources mention it starting as of the 12th century, and now we found artefacts that help us understand what the merchants brought to the city and how long this place was used as a market,” Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage Alexei Yemelyanov said.

According to Mr Yemelyanov, archaeologists were most interested in the discovery of two well-preserved lead fragments on English trade seals dating back to the 18th century.

The two seals were originally two-folded with the front part connected to the back by special clips. When the seal was removed from the product, it had to be broken in two parts. On one of the preserved fragments researchers found English wording: IN WAKEFIELD MILNES HEY… OD&C. On the other fragment there were numbers 23789 and 18. The seals could have been affixed to the goods in the city of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England, a major textile centre.

The brass figurine of a European horseback rider was another important discovery. It dates back to the 17th or 18th century. What makes this brass rider unique is its arms and munition that replicate the real arms and munitions of that time. It could have been a collectible piece.

In addition to all this, 22 Russian copper coins and 15 Russian lead trade seals were found on the site

“The large number of trade seals and coins that were discovered here can be explained by the fact that there was a lot of trade going on here. In 18th and 19th century, a great number of lean-to structures and stores were built near the Kitay-Gorod Wall along the embankment. They were demolished only in the 1920s, while a trade berth continued to work on the river,” Yemelyanov pointed out.

Archaeologists believe that this was not just a market for imported goods, but also for local craftsmen who made leather clothes and shoes, since more than 300 fragments of leather goods and straps were found here.

Mr Yemelyanov went on to say that the artefacts will be displayed in temporary exhibitions on Moscow’s archaeology, once they are studied and indexed. They could then be transferred to Moscow museums.

Archaeological monitoring is a mandatory requirement for all renovation and construction works in Moscow. This year, thousands of artefacts were found as part of Zaryadye Park construction and My Street renovation project. There are various options for storing and transferring the artefacts to museums, including the idea to set up open-air archaeological museums across the city.

In early June, archaeologists found bronze-age flintrock axes, also known as Fatyanovo Axes, that are one of the oldest artefacts discovered recently.