Celts, Romans and Maintaining Vernacular Village Architecture
in Southern Slovakia
25th May 2018 – 1st June 2018
By Annie-Leigh Campbell, Senior Outreach and Education Officer, Historic Environment Scotland
At the end of May I travelled to Lisov, Slovakia with colleagues from natural and cultural heritage organisations from across Scotland as part of the European Union funded Erasmus+ NET ARCH 4 programme.
During this programme I was based at Lisov Museum and learnt about the vernacular architecture of the area and the traditional skills and materials used in its construction and conservation.
Lisov is a village in Central Sothern Slovakia. The modern heart of the village is in a valley; this, in traditional village buildings, is where Lisov Museum is. The Museum was founded in 2009 and in 2015 its research objectives were set. One of these research objectives was “training locals and visitors in traditional skills”. At the museum this is done through the conservation of its traditional village buildings. During my time on the programme I helped conserve one of these.
The first stage of this was clearing one of the rooms in the building. In doing this we found artefacts from the buildings distant and recent history which ranged from metal working tools to children’s toys. We then lifted the stone floor to be levelled later and set to work getting the materials required to plaster the walls of the room.
We dug clay from a pit a few hundred meters away, gathered sand from a wine cellar and shovelled horse manure from a local estate! These materials were mixed with lime collected the walls of the room, chaff and water to create the plaster we then applied to the walls of the room.
Gathering clay, sand and horse manure for plaster.
Much of the history of Lisov is in the surrounding hills. In these hills over 55 Troglodyte’s (cave houses) have been constructed and lived in from the early medieval period through to the 1960’s. These buildings were constructed out of Tufa (soft rock) and range in size from two rooms to up to a dozen. Since the 1960’s the condition of these buildings has deteriorated rapidly for this reason one of the museums research objectives is to research and reconstruct one of them.
Exterior of one of the Troglodyte’s.
Interior of one of the Troglodyte’s.
During my time in Lisov I truly learnt what is meant by vernacular architecture. The two building traditions in the valleys and hills of the area have come to be because of the areas geology.
*::: Tufa is a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water.