Gajew, Kutno County – a New Site of Przeworsk Culture Recorded in the Bzura Drainage Basin
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Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00–927 Warszawa
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2014;LXV(65):222–235
The group of finds under discussion comes from a series of random discoveries made in 2007–2010 on the farmland on the eastern margin of the village Gajew, Kutno County. This locality lies in western Mazovia, c. 1 km west of the Słudwia, left-bank tributary of the Middle Bzura (Fig. 1). The group includes objects made of copper alloy, fragments of pottery and daub. Almost all the artefacts from Gajew can be tied to Przeworsk culture occupation. Their chronological range extends from the end of the Younger Pre-Roman period until the Early Migration Period. One of the earliest finds are a facetted rim sherd from a pottery basin (Fig. 7:37) and a very small fragment of a brooch, type A.2b or A.18b (Fig. 3:1). Most of the finds date from the Early Roman Period, e.g., brooches from groups A.II (Fig. 3:7), A.III (Fig. 3:4–9) and A.IV (Fig. 3:10–15), as well as a profiled strap-end (Fig. 4:24), a fragment of a rod bracelet Fig. 4:27), a dress pin with a biconical head (Fig. 4:29), and possibly, also a denarius of Trajan (Fig. 6). This situation corresponds to the period of the most intensive Przeworsk culture settlement in the Bzura drainage basin. Phase B2/C1 is represented by two brooches, Mazovian variant (Fig. 3:16.17) and a cylinder from a brooch, group A.IV or group A.V (Fig. 4:18). The Late Roman Period is represented by only two fragments of brooches from groups A.VI (Fig. 4:19) and A. VII (Fig. 4:20), as well as a denarius of Septimius Severus (Fig. 5), minted presumably in 193–197. For other finds, i.e. fragments of keys (Fig. 4:32.33), a closer dating is unfeasible. The mostly uncharacteristic fragments of Przeworsk culture pottery recovered at Gajew (Fig. 7:38–42) can be dated only broadly to the Roman Period. The youngest artefact that we can attribute to Przeworsk culture settlement is an oval belt buckle with a thickened frame, type H15 (Fig. 4:25). A find that documents later, “post-Przeworsk” occupation by largely anonymous Germanic groups is a sword scabbard pendant of a form similar to type Hemmingen-Pleidelsheim (Fig. 4:31). It is the first of its kind to be discovered in Poland. Pendants of this form are mostly recorded in the west of Europe, in assemblages from the Early Merovingian Period. Germanic artefacts from the 5th-6th century have been often recorded increasingly often in Central Poland – with, more notably, a larger number discovered recently in Kuyavia. At the current stage of investigation it is too early to say whether the site at Gajew is a settlement or a cemetery. The former interpretation is supported by the marks of distortion caused by high temperatures observed on almost all the metal objects and also on the pottery. Cemeteries of a similarly extended duration are frequent in the Bzura drainage basin, e.g., recorded at Żdżarów, Sochaczew County, at Komorów and at Wólka Łasiecka, both in Skierniewice County. The only doubts are raised by the presence of daub. With no information about the spatial relationship of the pottery and the metal finds discovered at Gajew the relationship of the daub to the rest of the finds is problematic. The origin of the artefacts can only be resolved by making a test excavation. Whatever may be the case, we have gained new important evidence on Przeworsk culture occupation from the previously only poorly investigated Bzura drainage basin.