Zaslavel Castle

Fluxgate gradiometer
Lost bore well location
April 29, 2016
Research performed with gradiometer MG400 in Aksakovschina area, Belarus.
June 14, 2016

Zaslavel Castle

Picture 1. Site 1. Map of electric resistance.

Picture 1. Site 1. Map of electric resistance.

Surveying territory of Zaslavel Castle (Belarus) with gradiometer MG-400

Zaslavel Castle is located on the territory of the town of Zaslavel (30 km from Minsk). The site presently looks like an even, covered with grass circle of approximately 100 meter diameter. It is surrounded by 2-3 meter high earth wall. During earlier excavations at the edges of the site, elements of buildings and archaeological artifacts dating to XII-XVI centuries were found. The middle of the site was never studied since, according to archives, during World War 2 German anti-aircraft battery was located on the territory of the castle and it was assumed that cultural layer was destroyed. It was decided to explore the territory with geophysics and subsequent archaeological excavations since plans to build a tourist resort on the territory were underway. Magnetic survey with Gradiometer MG-400 and electric survey with Electro-probe (resistance method) were chosen to get a detailed picture of the site. Two square areas were surveyed – each 20x20 meters. Magnetic survey was done on a 1x0.25 meter grid and electric survey – on a 1x1 meter grid. Collected data was processed with «Radius» software, designed specifically for MG-400 and Electro-probe. As seen in picture 1, the map of resistances shows part of a rectangular profile, which consists of material with high resistance.
Taking into account size of the anomaly, reaching 10-12 meters, visible parts of the structure, and archive data, it was concluded that located profile belongs to the remains of the defensive structures of World War 2, when German anti-aircraft battery was located there. High resistance of the profile can be explained with type of material used – most probably sand. After the end of military actions structures were destroyed and sand spread out over the territory, which explains greater width of the anomaly. Magnetic prospecting confirmed this by showing multiple massive iron objects inside the located profile – see picture 2.
Most objects are grouped together which might mean it is either a pile of iron wrecks or a storage of iron objects. Visible part of this storage is 8 by 10 meters and the rest of it is located outside the surveyed site. Approximate depth to these objects is 1-2 meters. A narrow magnetic anomaly along vertical line 9 in picture 2 precisely coincides with the axe of high resistance in picture 1. There is no explanation for this anomaly since metal objects usually have low resistance. There is also no explanation for high resistance anomaly along vertical line 9 in picture 1. One of possible explanations might be presence of burned clay along this line or a wall made from burned brick. Map of electric resistance on site 2 (picture 3) shows a similar structure but of round rather than rectangular shape.
Rectangular profiles located to the left from the round structure might be earlier and deeper located objects. All structures are crossed from right to left by two straight narrow anomalies which could be pathways.
Site 2 has fewer magnetic anomalies and since anomalies are smaller, they must be caused by less massive objects. Round structure is not clearly visible since the field is distorted by a multitude of small iron objects. Considering all of the above, following conclusions can be made:
  • Large part of the Zaslavel castle cultural layer was destroyed during World War 2
  • Unknown iron objects buried on small depth can present danger during construction work.
Presently archaeological research on the territory of Zaslavel castle is suspended until the nature of iron objects is found out.

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