3,600-year-old cemetery investigated in Poland
|Archaeologists in the course of documenting one of the discovered graves |
[Credit: K. Socha]
In Górzyca (Lubusz province) in 2008 archaeologists began rescue research in connection with planned construction project. They discovered an extensive cemetery of nomadic warriors who in the first half of the second millennium troubled the people of Europe. Archaeologists define this community as the Tumulus culture.
Until now, in the Middle Odra only a few known cemeteries and individual graves were associated with this culture. That is why the discovery in Górzyca is very important for researchers. In 2008-2010, during three seasons of research archaeologists discovered 35 graves.
|The oldest sword in Poland shown in situ |
[Credit: T. Kulik]
Some graves had the form of stone boxes, some were lined with pavement stones. Archaeologists also found extensive houses of the dead - structures built of stone and wood, which copied the contemporary houses. Interestingly, funeral rites were also different - the deceased found in Górzyca were inhumed or cremated. Cremation was probably favoured in the later period.
In the necropolis rested the elite of the community, which archaeologists refer to as "military aristocracy", which consisted of a mobile group of warriors and their families. According to the researchers, the cemetery in Górzyca was probably the burial place of several generations of families.
|The 52 cm long sword after cleaning [Credit: K Socha]|
"We are halfway through the project, in which we conduct many specialized analyses. As a result, among other things, we will know the origin of the dead buried in the cemetery - analysis of the content of strontium isotopes is absolutely pioneering for burials on Polish territory from that period - the Bronze Age" - said Socha.
Planned studies also include detailing the period in which the cemetery functioned - 14C analyses of bone material and carbon from the graves will be performed. "This will give us the largest series of radiocarbon dates for a cemetery from that period in Poland" - added Socha.
Researchers will also have a closer look at the fragments of pottery, flint and bronze objects - they will explain their purpose and the origin of used raw materials. Naturalists have also been invited to work on the project. Geological and geomorphological and palynological research of the site’s immediate surrounding will allow to reconstruct the original geographical and natural environment.
Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland [March 17, 2016]