800-year-old toy horse found among trove of ancient Polish artifacts

An 800-year-old toy house was found during the demolition of a firehouse in Torun, Poland, according to a social media post by the Provincial Headquarters of the State Fire Service in Toruń last month. 

Torun, a Medieval town recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, had been undergoing excavation efforts since December 2023 and concluded with last month’s find. 

During the last day of excavations, archaeologists found the glazed clay figure of a horse, which had likely once been propped up with a stick and used as a toy.

The horse is  “several centimetres long,” and “maybe dates back to the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries,” the fire department said in a post.

While little is known about the area’s history, UNESCO claimed that a castle had once been located near the excavation site. The mid-13th-century castle had been built by the Teutonic Order, a religious institution and was surrounded by two towns. 

One of the archaeological finds from an excavation site in Torun, Poland. (credit: Małgorzata Jarovka-Krzemkowska)

“In the Old and New Town, the many imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries are striking evidence of Torun’s importance,” UNESCO states.

Other artefacts found under the firehouse

In addition to the toy horse, archaeologists uncovered the foundations of a Medieval tower alongside clay vessel fragments, a tsar’s buckle, a knife sheath made of bone and an amber ring. 

Several pieces of broken and burnt jewellery were also found.

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