Hall 10. Trade

Exhibit 4

Biarescie imported a large number of spindle whorls, and they were carved out of pink and red stone – slate (pyrophyllite shale) that in the X–XIII centuries was mined in what is now Ukraine, near the town of Ovruč. It is the only source of this stone in Europe. Spindle whorls weighed an average of about 16 g, had a length of 4 to 12 mm, an external diameter of 10 to 25 mm, and a spindle hole diameter of 6–10 mm. If a spindle was too narrow, it was wrapped with a thread so that it did not slip at rotation.
Spindle whorls came in different shapes: some looked like barrels (barrel-like), some like two miniature trapeziums connected at the basis (biconical), and others as part of a circle (spherical). Two hundred slate spindle whorls found by archaeologists in Biarescie in the layers of the XI–XIII centuries have two forms: biconical and barrel-like.
The slate spindle whorls found during the excavations helped archaeologists to establish the date of the archaeological site. Slate spindle whorls existed since the X century, and in the XI century, they were already widespread. Slate spindle whorl production reached its peak in the XII century. By the end of the XII century, their manufacturing decreased, and it stopped entirely in the XIII century. During the Mongol invasion, Ovruč was destroyed, manufactories were ruined, and many masters of stone sawing were killed. Instead of spindle whorls, clay ones were used again.