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Europe’s prehistoric mega-settlements were almost exclusively vegetarian

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A study by researchers from the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1266 at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), has revealed that Europe’s prehistoric mega-settlements relied on fertiliser and plant protein.

Mega-settlements of the Trypillia societies arose around 6,000 years ago in the territory of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Starting around 4,150 BC, these societies constructed large planned settlements covering areas of up to 790 acres, which many researchers argue were the earliest cities in Europe.

It was previously assumed that these large communities relied on subsistence farming, however, according to Kiel paleoecologist Doctor Frank Schlütz: “The supply of the residents of the mega-settlements was based on extremely sophisticated food and pasture management.”

But how could such large groups of people ensure their nutrition with Neolithic technology? “In order to answer this question, we have determined the carbon and nitrogen isotope composition of hundreds of samples over the last 10 years,” says Johannes Müller.

The isotopes can be used to determine how domestic animals were raised, whether crops were grown with fertiliser, and the role plants and animals played in human nutrition.

“We came to the conclusion that a large proportion of the cattle and sheep were kept in fenced pastures. And the animal dung produced there was used by people to intensively fertilise peas,” says Frank Schlütz.

This is supported by studies by the University of Kiel, which determined that Trypillia farmers relied primarily on a diet of grain and peas, in what is now Ukraine and Moldova 7,000-years-ago.

Peas and grains provide nutritional value to the human diet, but are also a balance in essential amino acids. Furthermore, the resulting pea straw likely served as feed for the livestock grazing in the pastures.

According to the study: “Because of this close connection between crop production and livestock farming, the people of the mega-settlements were able to eat adequately and healthily. The labour-intensive and resource-consuming production of meat was largely eliminated.”

Header Image Credit : Susanne Beyer, University of Kiel

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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