It was not until ten years after their discovery that the remains of a ceramic, or faience, plate dating from the mid-19th century were gathered together after being found during the construction of a family house in the village of Košolná near Trnava.
It was the finder's son who correctly assessed that they could be an archaeological find and, together with other objects, handed the pottery shards over to the Regional Monuments Office (KPÚ) in Trnava, archaeologist Matúš Sládok explained.
"It was a precise procedure," stated Sládok, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He said that if a person believes that he has come across an archaeological find, either while out walking, while digging in the garden or while building on a plot of land, it is most important to consult with KPÚ staff as soon as possible. The only legal owner of an archaeological find is the state, self-governing regions and municipalities (through the museums established by them), or the National Bank of Slovakia.
The shards of the plate from Košolná were cleaned and glued together. The find will go to the museum, where they will reconstruct the small broken parts. It belongs to a type of representative ceramics called faience or majolica, which represents one of the characteristic elements of the traditional material culture of western Slovakia. The knowledge of its production was brought by the Habans (a religious community of Anabaptists who originated in Moravia) in the 16th century.
In terms of time, we can place the plate in the period of the third quarter of the 19th century, when workshops producing faience products reached their peak. The simple, even austere, execution of the paintwork and the dominance of a single shade of blue are the result of efforts by local potters to speed up the production process, increase production and compete against cheaper, factory-made porcelain, earthenware and enamelware.
Sládok added that not all inherited ceramic vessels or old coins meet the criteria of an archaeological find. "In order for an object to become such a find, it must go through so-called archaeology. This is a process where the object is removed from the normal life of a person by being thrown away, lost, abandoned or hidden, and usually ends up in the soil. There it usually degrades, for example by disintegration or corrosion. Owners of objects that have not undergone archeology do not have to worry that they are committing an illegal act by owning them," Sládok told TASR.