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3,500 year old bronze artefacts found in Poland

A treasure trove containing bronze objects has been discovered in Rzepedź in Poland's Bieszczady Mountains. The 3,500 year old items had found their way to today’s Podkarpacie from beyond the Carpathians. Archaeologists made the discovery with help from a man who stumbled on an ice-axe and necklace fragments while walking.

3,500 year old bronze artefacts found in Poland
The bronze artefacts from Rzepedź [Credit: D.Szuwalski]
"All the objects are made of bronze. The treasure contains a pickaxe, dozens of fragments of a spiral necklace and a bracelet of with recurving endings" - told PAP Piotr Kotowicz, an archaeologist at the Historical Museum in Sanok.

The ice-axe and valuables were hidden in a clay jug with a diameter of 25 cm. Before burying it in a pit, the vessel was turned upside down and placed on a sandstone plate.

The archaeological discovery in Rzepedź was made accidentally. A few days ago, while walking, Łukasz Solon from Sanok noticed an ice-axe sticking out of the ground. After returning, he contacted the Sanok museum.

The next day, archaeologists began searching the place he had shown them. It turned out that the ice-axe was just one of many finds.

3,500 year old bronze artefacts found in Poland
Fragment of a bronze spiral [Credit: M. Glinianowicz]
"For me, as an archaeologist it is very important that after finding one object the discoverer did not explore the place further himself, but reported the discovery and waited for specialists. This approach is commendable, and from the point of view of archaeology, it means preserving a lot of information which is unrecoverable after amateur exploration of a treasure such as the one from Rzepedź" - Piotr Kotowicz said.

According to Kotowicz, the discovered objects were probably made south of the Carpathians. "The treasure is probably related to the communication route, which ran from the nearby Łupków Pass through the Osława and San valleys" - noted the archaeologist.

Bronze monuments from Rzepedź have been preliminarily dated to approx. 1,500 years before Christ. "We do not yet know who and why had hidden the treasure so carefully. The axe and jewellery are most likely related to the Piliny culture, then existing south of the Carpathians" - noted Kotowicz.

In the 1990s in Trzcinica near Jasło, approx. 30-40 km from Rzepedź, archaeologists discovered Poland’s oldest fortified settlements dating back more than 4,000 years, with strong Transcarpathian influence. Later, between 1,650 and 1,350 BC, the area was inhabited by the highly civilised Transcarpathian Otomani-Füzesabony culture.

Piotr Kotowicz told PAP that in recent days a survey has been conducted with a representative of the local conservation office in Krosno, which is a prelude to broader research. It might allow us to determine whether the discovery is isolated, or had been buried within a settlement from that period.

Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland [February 13, 2015]

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