9,000-year-old 'sanctuary' unearthed in Pomerania
About 9,000 years ago near today's lake Świdwie (West Pomerania) shamans performed mysterious rituals. Today, archaeologists discovered traces of this unusual activity.
|General view of the 'shaman sanctuary' during excavations [Credit: T. Galiński]|
We will probably never know the details of the rituals. However, all indications are that the discoveries made by Prof. Tadeusz Galiński from the Szczecin branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS are unique in Europe. Archaeologists began to study the site in 2012. Initially they did not realize what they were dealing with - they simply stumbled upon the remains of huts. They thought it was a typical settlement of hunters from 9,000 years ago. However, further finds were becoming more and more intriguing.
Research quickly focused on the area of a circle with a diameter of approx. 6 m, where scientists encountered mysterious structures. The main element of the site turned out to be a trapezoidal building built with poles, surrounded by an arch of stones placed at equal distances from each other. There were also sharpened yew sticks driven into the surface in the shape of a horizontal figure similar to the Big Dipper - a fragment of the constellation Ursa Major. At the time when the huts were used, there was a lake in their vicinity. From there, from a high slope, there was a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. "On clear days, it had to be a very good place to observe the stars" - added the scientist.
|Sacrificial offering discovered in the sanctuary - elk horn hoe [Credit: T. Galiński]|
Inside the sanctuary researchers found several large stones - almost each of them different. Among them they were: syenite, diorite, granite, quartzite, sandstone and gneiss, and even rare in Pomerania red marble and green syenite. A complete surprise was the discovery of the unknown in this region jet, also called black amber, and volcanic rock, pumice.
"This extraordinarily rich collection of stones is unique among the previously known Mesolithic sites, located both within the vast European Plain, and in the zone of the foothills and highlands. These stones had to be brought to the site in Bolków, and not only from the surrouding area... but also from distant lands, the best example of which is hornfels, which occurs closest in the Giant Mountains and the Harz Mountains" - explained Prof. Galiński in an article published in the journal Archeologia Polski. Interestingly, the stones show signs of forming.
|The elk horn hoe after cleaning [Credit: T. Galiński]|
Artefacts from the sanctuary discovered in Bolków have been preserved in excellent condition, thanks to the favourable natural conditions in which the finds remained: peat and sand. And "... huge amount of diverse information contained in the extracted sources means that they bring a new quality into the research on culture of hunting communities from the Early Holocene on the European Plain" - says the discoverer.
Field research and laboratory tests of the site have not been completed yet. Scientists expect more intriguing discoveries and findings.
Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland [April 05, 2016]