Cemetery of the Wielka Wieś (Grossendorfer) Phase, at Władysławowo Chłapowo, Site 1
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne, ul. Długa 52, 00-241 Warszawa
Publication date: 2003-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2003;LVI(56):145-188
The cemetery at Władysławowo Chłapowo, distr. Puck, lies in the region of Kępa Swarzewska (Fig. 1), on a high (some 45–48 m above the sea level) table-land of the cliff coast of the Baltic (Fig. 2). First discoveries of graves in stone settings at Chłapowo (at present, Władysławowo Chłapowo) were recorded in the nineteenth century. Early in the next century numerous discoveries continued to be made in villages nearby (Amtlicher Bericht über die Verwaltung der naturgeschichtlichen, vorgeschichtlichen und volkskundlichen Sammlungen des Westpreußischen Provinzial-Museums für das Jahr 1896, p. 36; 1903, p. 29; 1913–1915, p. 20), but no materials or records from research made during that period have survived. In archaeological literature Władysławowo Chłapowo, site 1, appears for the first time thanks to the efforts of G. Ossowski, who in 1877 carried out sondage excavations and published its results (G. Ossowski 1879, p. 93, pl. XXVID:5–7; 1881, p. 66). Subsequent discoveries led to the exploration in 1892 by Dr. Lakowitz of 10 graves in stone settings (Nachrichten über deutsche Alterthumsfunde 1892, p. 82–83). In 1934 J. Krajewska excavated 10 graves and 6 hearth pits (ZOW 1935, p. 31). Basing on the grave inventory from Chłapowo published by G. Ossowski E. Petersen included it in the set of elements distinctive for what he distinguished as the Grossendorfer Gruppe (E. Petersen 1929, p.129, table I, item 9). Regular excavation work at the cemetery was initiated in 1947 by Jerzy Antoniewicz. During three seasons (1947, 1948 and 1950) 975 m2 were explored. Of 135 features uncovered at the time some 110 are definite or probable graves (partly damaged or destroyed), the remainder were pits or not easily identifiable areas of darker earth. Basing on their structure the features may be divided into two main categories: features with and without stone settings. The former may be distinguished further into three sub-types depending on the type and manner of utilisation of the building material. 1. Cist features. The side walls of the stone setting are formed by flat slabs of split sandstone or granite, or large flat stones set in the form of usually not very regular, most frequently, square-shaped boxes. The latter were usually additionally reinforced with pebbles to make the structure more tight and stable. 2. Walled-in features. The stone settings are formed by arranging irregularly shaped stones in a rectangular, usually square, outline. 3. Mixed structures. Side walls formed by stone slabs and flat stones as well as pebbles of diverse shape and size. The cover of the grave was in the form of a slab or flat stones (in type I graves) or cobbles of small irregular stones, which covered the features of all the three types, giving them the appearance of small stone-built domes. Inner measurements of the graves generally ranged between 30 and 60 cm, their height was around 30 cm. The bottom of the type I graves (in slab construction) was usually lined with dressed flat stone slabs; in all three types of structures the grave bottom was lined with flat stones and cobbles of small fieldstone. Only in one recorded case the urn stood directly on the sand bottom (grave 11). Graves in stone settings nearly always held burials deposited in cinerary urns. The only exception was Feature 16 containing a small quantity of burnt bone, spread on the grave bottom. Most of the urned graves held a single vessel with cremated remains. Only three burials (graves 68, 90, 100) contained two such vessels (in grave 68, perhaps even three). The urns were stood on the slabs or flat stones, occasionally in addition set about with small pebbles (eg in graves 1, 15, 73). In one case only (grave 12), the urn was strewn about with the remains of the pyre. In grave 24, the urn occurred together with a small pottery vessel probably holding the remains of the pyre. As a rule, the cremated remains had been deposited in different types of pots, usually biconical or vase-shaped forms. In a number of cases, jugs were used as cinerary urns (graves 23, 58, 67, 68 and presumably 79), in two, bulbous vessels with two handles set in the upper section of the vessel body. Three further graves (48, 59, 76) contained urns – vessels with a pair of perforations on the neck. Flat let-in lids covered them, similarly as the urn in grave 17, which also was unusual in form. Fragments of flat urn covers were discovered in a number of substantially damaged features. The report from the excavation by Lakowitz mentions three urns covered with flat lids (Nachrichten über deutsche Alterthumsfunde 1892, p. 83); for his part, Ossowski discovered a vessel with a pair of perforations inside one of the graves (G. Ossowski 1879, p. 93, pl. XXVI:D5). The mouth of this vessel still held a clay ring, most probably securing a lid fashioned from some organic substance, perhaps a piece of cloth. Another unusual way of closing the urn was by sealing its neck opening with clay (grave 28). On rare occasions, the urn was covered by another pot (grave 72?) and probably, plates of fired clay (grave 68). As a rule, urns were covered with inverted bowls but on several occasions, a bowl was placed inside the urn neck the right way up (graves 1, 67, 73, 75, 100). Accessory vessels occurred in three graves only: in feature 23 – a miniature bucket, in grave 75 – a jug, and in grave 44 –a small pyriform vessel. Metal objects – ornaments – mostly surviving in fragmentary form – were discovered only in eight graves: bronze pins – in graves 18, 42, 55, 76 (Fig. 8e, 18d, 21d, 29c), a unique iron pin – in grave 60 (Fig. 22j), bronze bracelets or fragments of bronze band – in graves 51, 52, 53, 55 (Fig. 18g, 21b.c.i). The most richly furnished grave is the one discovered by G. Ossowski, holding fragments of probably four bracelets of double wire and another specimen fashioned from a bronze band (G. Ossowski 1879, p. 93, pl. XXVID). In the group of features lacking stone settings three grave types may be arbitrarily identified: urned, cloche and unurned-pit graves. At Władysławowo Chłapowo five urned graves are recorded (41, 54, 95, 98 and 118). Only the first of them was a “purely” urned burial, deposited in the sand, without traces of a pit, pyre or any additional structures (Fig. 15). In two cases, urns were covered with a bowl, placed in the vessel mouth the right way up (graves 41, 54), in one case, upside down (grave 98). In two graves the cremated remains were held by pots with two high-set handles (graves 41, 118) once, by a deep bowl (grave 54). Accessory vessels or any grave goods did not accompany urned burials. Of nine graves (34, 36, 38, 40, 49, 56, 102, 104, 113) which were defined as certainly or probably belonging to the cloche type, graves 40, 102 and 104 were so badly damaged that it impossible to reconstruct their original form. They held only the fragments of a large vessel, which may have covered the urn. In the remaining burials, the mouth of the vessel covering the urn was surrounded or supported by stones. In grave 56, its bottom was lined with stones. In graves 43 and 38 the urn, and the in the latter case, also the cloche, had been strewn about with ashes from the pyre. Ample remains of the pyre (?) were also observed in the pit of graves 102 and 104, but they did not contain any bones. In cloche graves, the function of cloche as a rule was played by pots of various type, including one probably having two handles set underneath the rim. In grave 113 the cloche was a large bowl resting on stones, covering both the urn and the accessory vessel – jug. A miniature vessel (accessory vessel?) was also discovered in the pit of grave 104. Ovoid pots held twice the cremated remains with two handles set below the rim, in three cases, by jugs. Fragments of bowls were discovered in three graves (36, 40, 102), but only in the description of grave 36, it is noted that a bowl had covered the urn. The inventory of grave 102 included a fragment of a bronze rod (pin?), and grave 104 produced a fragment of a bracelet or neck-ring (Fig. 32e). During fieldwork, 39 features were uncovered of which 19 were defined during excavation as smudges, the rest as pit graves or pits. Most of the “smudges” are grey-coloured blotches of different shapes and dimensions, their depth, presumably slight, were not recorded. Features defined as pit graves or pits (except for feature 112) were circular or oval in shape. The dimensions of most pits were between twenty-odd to about 50 cm, their depth as a rule, not greater than twenty or so centimetres. The largest pits (21 and 94) had the depth of no more than 15 cm. The pits’ fill was dark earth full of pyre remains, in three features (7, 39, 121), with larger charcoal fragments. In eleven cases, the presence of ashes was noted, in nine (not always the same ones), of granite stones, usually burnt and concentrating at the bottom of the pit. All features contained sherds, some of which had evidently been in the fire (37, 101, 112, 119, 120, 121). Only seven pits produced bones, usually a very small quantity. It may be observed that the ceramic inventory of some pits resembles the set of vessels characteristic for the furnishings of cloche graves. At the same time the set of vessels (in which may be included pots with pairs of knobs on their upper body – cf feature 36) commonly occurred in features of the contemporary settlement at Juszkowo, distr. Pruszcz Gd. (pow. gdański) (L. J. Łuka, M. Pietrzak 1969, p. 88–89, fig. 5a.c.d, 6a, 7a; J. T. Podgórski 1971, p. 83, 86, fig. 4b.g; 1972, fig. 8–12). Other pits, less easily described, must have been the remains of hearths, fires and places of deposition of pyre remains associated with the functioning of the cemetery. Analysis of the distribution of the most frequently noted finds revealed a number of regularities. Biconical vessels apparently formed a concentration in the S section of the cemetery and were associated with the zone of graves in stone settings (Fig. 38). The same area also visibly produced a greater number of metal finds (Fig. 41), the SW section of the cemetery, vessels with paired apertures and flat lids (Fig. 38). The latter also occur in the N band of graves in stone settings, which was, at the same time, a zone of more numerous occurrences of vase-like vessels (Fig. 39). Vessels with a roughened body and smoothed neck, although apparently associated with the NE zone of graves in stone settings, are present in different types of features, whereas ovoid vessels with two handles set under the rim appear in cloche graves and in “pit” features situated in the NE “grave” part of the cemetery (Fig. 40). Jugs do not seem to be particularly associated with any of the named zones (Fig. 41). This apparent zonal distribution of features and grave goods may result both from chronological differentiation of assemblages in the cemetery and from observed dissimilarities in funerary rite, expressing different aspects of worship of the dead. Analysis of evidence from the cemetery at Władysławowo Chłapowo shows that features discovered at that site meet the criteria defined for cemeteries of Wielka Wieś phase (cf E. Petersen 1929, p. 116; J. Kostrzewski 1933, p. 59 ff.; 1958, p. 204–221 and 359–361, tables 54–62; W. La Baume 1939, p. 218 –phase A; J. T. Podgórski 1992, p. 205 ff.), considered at present to be the oldest phase of Pomeranian culture, datable to Ha C (Czopek 1997, p. 60). Obviously, the set of observed features of the funerary rite and movable inventories does not exhaust the full list of adopted diagnostic features. Absence of some of them, (eg, flat lids enclosing the urn rim, house urns or certain types of metal objects) may be the evidence of internal chronological differentiation of the identified phase, local distinctiveness of materials or result from the incomplete exploration of the partly destroyed cemetery.
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