Museum complex

Casting mould

Kiev (?), Kaluga Oblast.
XII – the first half of the XIII centuries
On the side facet in two-lines an inscription is scratched with the name of a craftsman: “МАКО СНМО” (“the mould of Maxim”)
White limestone, stone carving
13,5 х 4 х 1,7 cm
From: given from the Institute of Archeology
Showcase 12

A two-sided casting mould, one end is broken.
One side of the mould was used for casting plate bracelet ornamented by relief rectangles with drawn in them false-granulated sidelong crosses, on another side a wire (?) was casted. Some researchers assume that the second side was used for casting plate head wreathes, decorated with four oblong relief belts.
The mould is made of two glued pieces. On the side facet in two-lines an inscription is scratched with the name of a craftsman: “МАКО СНМО” (“the mould of Maxim”). It is interesting that in 1967 during the work on the excavation site was found a fragment of that casting mould with two letters “КО” on the side facet and in 1969 another piece was found that had the beginning and the ending of the inscription “МА….СИМО”. The way letters are inscribed and the inscription is placed in two lines is remarkably close to the way of making a completely remained inscription on the casting mould for the three-beaded temple ring found in a hiding near the Church of the Tithes in Kiev. The inscription on the Kiev’s mould can be read as “МАКОСИМОВ” that means “the mould of Maxim”. Maxim is the name of the craftsman that made the casting mould. Researchers assume that found in such far cities of the Ancient Rus’ casting moulds were made by the hand of one craftsman and were made in Kiev.

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The collection of casting moulds gained in the Serensk hillfort is excel all known collections from old Russian cities, excepting Kiev, in number (more than 50 items) and variety. The majority of casting moulds was found in so-called “burned” layer that is considered to be connected to the destruction and burning of Serensk by Mongols and Tatars (around 1238).
Besides casting moulds in the hillfort were found numerous finished items of colored metals, raw materials for making them, instruments of jewelers, and even several workshops of moulders – all of these witnesses the extremely high level of development of the jewelry production in old Serensk.
Serensk is a village in a Meshchevsky district in the Kaluga Oblast. On the northern outskirt of the village is placed the hillfort “Serensk”– an archeological site of the federal importance.
From the beginning of the first millennium AD on the place of the hillfort a well defended settlement of the Moshchino culture existed. In the XI century Viatichi (East-Slavic tribal confederation) settled in here, increasing the area of the defended settlement. From the XII century the suburbs of the city belonged to the Principality of Chernigov. For the first time the city is mentioned in the “Pereslavl-Suzdalian chronograph” under the year 1208. In 1238 the city was sacked by Batu. The cultural layer on the hillfort can be traced till the XVII century.
The first excavations on the hillfort were made in 1898. In 1965-1985 on the hillfort worked the Upper Oka expedition of the institute of archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR leaded by T.N. Nicolskaya, in 1986–1989, 1997–1998 – the Kaluga Oblast local history museum’s archeological expedition led by T.M. Hohlova.
The area of the hillfort is about 4 hectare. It includes the citadel and the surrounding city fortified with strong ramparts and ditches. A trading quarter was placed around the fortified city (the total area of settlements is more than 25 hectare) and slobodas (large villages) were placed on the opposite bank of the Serena river (on the territory of the modern village Nikolskoye).
During the archeological research were found iron-melting furnaces, a hearth, casting moulds with Cyrillic inscriptions for making hollow accessories (kolts, beads, temple rings), workshops for making jewelry, glass bracelets and rings – glass accessories were made in purple color. A rich material was gathered: household items made of iron (knives, locks, keys, tinderboxes, scissors), jewelry made of bronze, copper and silver (temple rings, rings, bracelets, torcs), weapons (tips of spears and arrowheads, maces, fragments of plate armor, battle axes, mask from the helmet), etc.