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Bronze Age burial objects indicate ritual deposition of metal

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Archaeologists excavating at the Papowo Biskupie archaeological site have uncovered new evidence linking burial rituals with metal depositions.

Papowo Biskupie is located at a dried-out lake in northern Poland, where excavations have uncovered Bronze Age burials containing a deposited assemblage of over 550 bronze artefacts.

The burials are associated with the Chełmno group, one of the northernmost communities from the Lusatian culture. The Chelmo lived in Central Europe during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age from 1200 to 450 BC.

Unlike other Lusatian groups, the Chelmo group left limited examples of hoard deposition in the archaeological record, suggesting that the group placed little ritual significance to metal.

“Traditionally, the Chełmno group people are thought to have been largely unaffected by the social and economic developments of the Urnfield period and the subsequent Hallstatt culture. In contrast with the widespread metal-hoarding seen in more southerly Lusatian regions, metal does not appear to have featured prominently in the social and ritual activities of the Chełmno community,” said the archaeologists.

This narrative was called into question when excavations uncovered the skeletal remains of at least 33 individuals in the Papowo Biskupie lakebed. The results of the excavation, now published in the journal Antiquity, recovered over 550 bronze artefacts which are mostly jewellery items worn around the neck or the arms.

Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

According to the study: “Radiocarbon dating suggests that the placement of human remains in the lake occurred before the deposition of the metal, portraying the possibility that the Chełmno community initially buried their dead in lakes before transitioning to metal votive depositions.”

These discoveries underscore a possible connection between the placement of human remains and metal objects in lakes during the later prehistoric period in Central Europe.

Significantly, the correlation of human remains with metal deposits implies that, although the Chełmno group initially diverged from the broader Lusatian culture in their ritual practices, their belief system eventually aligned with the prevailing practices in the region.

Header Image Credit : Antiquity Journal

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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