Excavations at Żyglinek, near Miasteczko Śląskie, South Poland, led to the discovery of a 1000-year-old furnace used for processing lead ore, and a large number of other even older Prehistoric artefacts.
The furnace was an underground structure for thermal processing of lead ore. It was constructed with layers of clay, brown and white sugar, as well as stones. The structure is filled in with oxidised lead ore. Samples of carbonised wood were found at its bottom which allowed to date the feature – it is believed that it might be around 1000-years old. According to lead archaeologist Eugeniusz Foltyn, the furnace was used at the initial phase of ore processing. The ore was heated up so that it would become more brittle.
A number of 127 artefacts were also discovered at the site. These other findings include pottery fragments and stone tools, of which the oldest might be even 4000 years old. According to the researchers these artefacts attest to existence of different phases of settlement and use of the site throughout history.
(after Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Ziemi Tarnogórskiej & Onet)