Openwork brooch from Szczeberka, distr. Augustów: import or imitation?
More details
Hide details
Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Al. Solidarności 105, 00-140 Warszawa
Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne, ul. Długa 52, 00-241 Warszawa
Publication date: 2006-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2006;LVIII(58):407-410
A remarkable cast bronze brooch discovered in July 2003 NE of the district town Augustów in the vicinity of the village Szczeberka (Fig. 1) has the form of a regular rectangular plate with a regular ornament (Figs. 2, 3). The form and ornamentation of this piece corresponds most to pins with a flat openwork head, brooches and pendants ornamented on their arms with a motif of concentric rings, characteristic in particular for the Liv-Estonian region. They are encountered in greater number in the island Saaremaa and in N Estonia. Circular disc terminals of these ornaments are, similarly as in the brooch from Szczeberka, connected by straight or curved rungs. Pieces of this type frequently appear among the furnishing in female graves from the 11th – 13th c. They may be derived from pins with a cruciform openwork head and similar brooches, well known from Lithuania, in particular, in Couronia, Semigallia and Samogitia, and dated 7th – 13th c. The unmistakable pseudo-filigree ornament and the distinct motif of an equal-armed cross seen on the plate of the brooch from Szczeberka visibly recalls the style of Letto-Lithuanian cruciform pins of groups 4 and 7, and cruciform brooches of group 2, dated to 9th – 12th c.; the presence of rungs which connect the arms of the brooch helps to links this piece with later Liv-Estonian ornaments. A unique feature of the brooch from Szczeberka are its ringed terminals – in all other pieces of this type the terminals have the form of circular discs, occasionally ornamented at centre with bosses or glass inlay. The brooch from Szczeberka is datable only indirectly on the basis of the chronology of related finds from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, broadly, to between 10th and 13th c. In Mazury, Suwałki Region and Augustów Lake District – regions of Poland during the prehistoric and the medieval period settled by Balt tribes – the brooch from Szczeberka is quite exceptional, but not entirely unique. Recently, a bronze cruciform brooch was discovered at Jałowo, distr. Suwałki. Even more to the SE, the site at Haćki, distr. Bielsk Podlaski, produced a pin with a typical cruciform head, classified to group 5 or 6. The pieces may be interpreted probably as traces of contact with areas of Lithuania but their character cannot be defined more closely owing to insufficient evidence. Alternately, the brooch from Szczeberka could be a local imitation of Lithuanian forms, as suggested by the ornament of its plate, unknown in Lithuanian specimens; its similarity to Liv-Estonian forms would be the result of a similar rhythm of stylistic change as in Finn lands.
Aspelin, J. R., Antiquités du Nord Finno-Ougrien. V. L’Age du Fer. Antiquités des Provinces Baltiques. VIII. Période ancienne de l’âge du fer dans les provinces Baltiques, Helsingfors-St. Pétersbourg-Paris, 1884.
Bljujienė, A., Vikingų epochos kuršių papuošalų ornamentika, Vilnius, 1999.
Hausmann, R., Die Steinsetzungen zu Eigstfer, Kirchspiel Pillistfer, Livland, Õpetatud Eesti Seltsi Aastaraama (Tartu) 1897–1901, 1902, s. 223–254.
Kaczyński, M., Problem zróżnicowania wewnętrznego „kultury sudowskiej” w późnym podokresie wpływów rzymskich i w okresie wędrówek ludów, [w:] Kultury archeologiczne i strefy kulturowe w Europie Środkowej w okresie wpływów rzymskich, Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Prace Archeologiczne 22, Kraków, 1976, s. 253–286.
Kaczyński, M., Południowa strefa osadnictwa bałtyjskiego na obszarze Jaćwieży w I tysiącleciu naszej ery, Rocznik Białostocki XIV (1981), 1982, s. 169–198.
Lõugas, V., Mägi-Lõugas, M., Excavations at Pöide stronghold have been finished, Eesti Teaduste Akadeemia Toimetised 43/4, 1994, s. 390–392.
Mägi, M., Viking Age Inhumations in Estonia – New Interpretations, [w:] Fenno-Ugri et Slavi 1997. Cultural Contacts in the Area of the Gulf of Finland in the 9th–13th Centuries (red. Paula Purhonen), Museoviraston arkeologian osaston julkaisuja 8, Helsinki, 1999, s. 29–37.
Mägi, M., At the Crossroads of Space and Time. Graves, Changing Society and Ideology on Saaremaa (Ösel), 9th–13th Centuries AD, Tallinn, 2002.
Selirand, J., Eestlaste matmiskombed varafeodaalsete suhete tärkamise perioodil (11.–13. sajand), Tallinn, 1974.
Tamla, T., Zur Datierung der Kirche von Viru-Nigula, Eesti Teaduste Akadeemia Toimetised 40/4, 1991, s. 376–377.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top