Chronology of a Przeworsk Culture Cemetery from the Younger and Late Roman Period and from Early Phase of the Migration Period
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Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, ul. Gołębia 11, 31-007 Kraków
Publication date: 2010-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2010;LXI(61):137–151
The cemetery at Mokra, district Kłobuck in Silesia, lies on a small wooded elevation. Discovered with the help of a metal detector and penetrated for some years by robbers the site came under excavation in 1995 and was investigated on a regular basis until 2004. Next to 476 funerary features the cemetery contained 3 features interpreted as sites where cremation was performed. Two concentrations of graves were distinguished: northern concentration dominated by burials dated to phase C1, and southern concentration, dated to phases C2–D (Fig. 1). These two zones apparently were divided by a ca. 5–10 m wide strip of empty ground which ran SW-NE. It is likely that the older area of the cemetery had been abandoned and younger graves were established deliberately at a certain distance from it. In the northern area of the cemetery a well-defined western boundary of the graves was detected suggesting the existence of some an at present intangible fencing. The southern burial zone extends along the W-E axis over an area of almost 110 m, with an observable grave concentration at centre. Also in this area there was a well-defined almost linear boundary of the extent of the graves The cemetery at Mokra is distinguished by the diversity of funerary traditions practiced. Among over a hundred urn graves most were without a discernible grave pit and only a small number contained the remains of the cremation pyre. Pit graves were much more numerous, but only a dozen-odd contained also the remains of the pyre. The western outlying area of the southern zone yielded a grooved feature (439), dated to the Migration Period, and a second, destroyed feature, possibly of the same type (M. Biborski 2004b, p. 134, fig. 8; 2006a, p. 129). Also identified in the cemetery were the remains of layered burial similar to features of Dobrodzień type (J. Szydłowski 1964), datable already to phase C2. Basing on the content of grave inventories and findings from planigraphy five chronological phases of utilisation of the cemetery at Mokra were identified. The oldest, phase I graves occupied the central area in the northern concentration. Diagnostic forms of this phase are shield-bosses type J.7a (type 3c acc. to Ilkjær 1993) and bosses with a pseudo-spike, U-shaped shield-grips with indistinct trapeze-shaped rivet-plates type J.9 (Ilkjær type 5a), spear points type XV acc. to Kaczanowski (1995), as well as type A.158 brooches with a stepped catchplate, and group A.VII brooches. Moreover, female graves contained brooches from group V (A.129) and II (A.41). On this basis the chronology of the discussed phase of the cemetery may be defined as phase C1a. Graves with weapons (e.g., grave 56 – fig. 2, 3) correspond to group 5, dated to the second half of the 2nd century AD (K. Godłowski 1992, p. 72). Presumably the oldest phase of utilisation of the cemetery at Mokra partly overlaps with phase I of the cemetery at Opatów, from which it is slightly younger. Forms characteristic for phase II at Mokra are grave inventories with hemispherical shield-bosses (Ilkjær type 5b) and bosses with a knob (Ilkjær type 5bc), grips with short indistinct trapeze-shaped rivet-plates type J.9 (close to type Ilkjær 5c), spear points type XI and XIX, swords type Folkeslunda-Zaspy, variant 2 (M. Biborski 2004c, p. 555; M. Biborski, J. Ilkjær 2006a, p. 193–200, fig. 132, 133) and tendril brooches, similar to type A.158. The grave goods in male burials from phase II may be classified to groups 6 and 7 (7a) of weapon graves (K. Godłowski 1992, p. 72–73, fig. 3; 1994, p. 170) datable to the close of phase C1a and greater part of phase C1b. This phase should be synchronised with phase II of the cemetery at Opatów and dated to the period starting from late 2nd through to mid-3rd century. Graves from this phase, e.g., grave 54 (Fig. 4) and grave 323, are situated in the western area of the northern concentration. Phase III at Mokra is synchronous with phase III of the cemetery at Opatów. Burials from this age clustered in the north-eastern zone of the cemetery as well as on the northern margin of the younger southern concentration, e.g., graves 126c (Fig. 5), 235 and 361 (M. Biborski 2000, p. 101–104, fig. 3; 2001, p. 131, fig. 2, 24). Diagnostic for this phase are hemispherical shield-bosses with concave collar and similar bosses with a wide collar (similar to Ilkjær type 7), shield-grips continue to be represented by type J.9 (similar to Ilkjær type 5c) and younger forms with more thickset lightly expanded rivet-plates (similar to Ilkjær type 5cx), spear points type XX and XXV, swords type Ejsbøl-Sarry (M. Biborski 2004c, p. 559; M. Biborski, J. Ilkjær 2006a, p. 259–271) and brooches similar to type A.166. Grave inventories with this set of weapons resemble group 7 of weapon graves known in Przeworsk Culture dated to the close of phase C1b and to phase C2, without including younger burials which occur within the framework of group 7b, dated to phase C3 (K. Godłowski 1992, p. 74, fig. 4; 1994, p. 170). The next, fourth phase of the cemetery Mokra is less well legible owing to the steady decline in the richness of grave inventories, e.g., there is no evidence of full sets of weapons. In graves from this phase we encounter e.g., shield-bosses type 8ad and 8bd, and shield-grips Ilkjær 5cx and 5e, spear points type XXIII and XXV, younger variants of A.VI tendril brooches, including specimens with metope ornament on the foot, and also buckles type H11 and H13 acc. to Madyda-Legutko (1987). Weapon graves from phase IV at Mokra correspond to the youngest assemblages in group 7b (K. Godłowski 1994, p. 170), and some even to group 8. At the current stage of research we may conclude that graves from phase IV mostly lie in the central younger zone of the southern area of the cemetery, where they cluster over just a few score square metres (e.g., graves 294, 282 and 225 – fig. 6). Phase IV of the gravefield at Mokra may be dated to the close of phase C2 through to phase C3, possibly, including the onset of phase D, i.e., the period from around the beginning of the 4th until just the beginning of the second half of that century. This phase would correspond to phase IV and presumably, also to phase V of the cemetery at Opatów. For graves of the youngest phase V at Mokra characteristic are weapons which correspond to group 8 of weapon graves from the close of the Roman and onset of the Migration Period (K. Godłowski 1992, p. 74; 1994, p. 178, fig. 1). In graves from this phase we encounter e.g., shield-bosses with a pointed spike similar to type Horgos (see e.g., E. Istvánovits, V. Kulcsár 1992, p. 50–51; M. Biborski, P. Kaczanowski 2001, p. 242, fig. 4) and late conical forms with a wide collar close to type Misery (H. W. Böhme 1974, p. 112, 323, pl. 128:6), thickset flattened shield-grips with indistinct rivet-plates, spear points type XXII and XXV, buckles type Strzegocice-Tiszaladány-Kerch, variant Tanais (A. Koch 1999, p. 171–172, fig. 11), tongue-shaped strap ends type Szczedrzyk, so-called long variants of tendril brooches (K. Godłowski 1970, p. 26), brooches decorated with a stamped ornament similar to Untersiebenbrunn-Sösdala style with the foot of a shape resembling brooches type Wiesbaden, and also, buckles type H16 and H25. In this phase belong e.g., graves 371, 398, 401, 439 and finds scattered in the later Dobrodzień type layered feature (Fig. 7) in the younger, southern part of the gravefield, and also, the grooved features in the western area of the cemetery. Phase V at Mokra coincides with phase D1, possibly, partly even with phase D2 (shield-boss type Horgos). This probably corresponds to the period from the final decades of the 4th through to the first decades of the 5th century. This phase corresponds only in part to phase V of the cemetery at Opatów where there is a lack of later chronological diagnostic forms, e.g. finds decorated in Untersiebenbrunn-Sösdala style, brooches type Strzegocice, so-called long tendril brooches and weapon forms characteristic for group 8 of graves with weapons from the area of Przeworsk Culture.
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