Numerous publications devoted to Cēsis Castle acknowledge that the large-scale archaeological excavations (1927, 1960, 1974–2008) resulted in the castle being the most studied and richest in finds of any medieval castle in Latvia. But what actually are the artefacts retrieved from the former residency of the Livonian Master of the Teutonic Order and the site of one of the largest mass suicides in early modern Europe? Latvia’s museums exhibit a small part of the archaeological findings from Cēsis Castle. A considerably larger amount of the 13 000 artefacts is found at the collection storage facilities of the National History Museum of Latvia (Rīga), and the Cēsis History and Art Museum (Cēsis).
In order to consolidate the collection of artefacts stored across two museums, and make them publicly accessible, we have started to develop an open resource – a database of archaeological objects from Cēsis Castle. The initiative goes hand in hand with the publishing of the monographic series Cēsu pils raksti (Research Papers of Cēsis Castle). Database users can see the artefacts published in Cēsu pils raksti, as well as access all research papers published in the first three volumes.
The archaeological excavations at Cēsis Castle resulted not just in a sizable amount of artefacts, but also a remarkable number of stone architectural fragments: corbels, vault ribs, parts of columns and other elements, which wound up in the archaeological layers with the collapse of the castle’s buildings. This is one of the most extensive and valuable collections of medieval architectural fragments in Latvia. To ensure as many people as possible have access to these significant relics, the database has a new section, to which photos and drawings of the stone architectural fragments found at the castle are being added.
Cēsis Culture and Tourism Centre
Head of Medieval Castle Department