Grodzisk Mazowiecki, site X – a Cemetery of the Cloche Grave and Przeworsk Cultures
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie, ul. Długa 52 «Arsenał», PL 00-241 Warszawa
Muzeum Starożytnego Hutnictwa Mazowieckiego im. Stefana Woydy w Pruszkowie, Plac Jana Pawła II 2, PL 05-800 Pruszków
Submission date: 2020-04-28
Final revision date: 2020-05-03
Acceptance date: 2020-06-02
Publication date: 2020-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2020;LXXI(71):289–318
Site X, located in the centre of present-day Grodzisk Mazowiecki, was discovered at the beginning of 1959 during construction works carried out in the area of a former Jewish cemetery (Fig. 1, 2). As a result of accidental discoveries and one-day rescue excavations, a total of nine ancient graves (1–5, 7–10) were registered. Another one (6), located in a secondary deposit, was discovered about 50 m to the east in 1988 during earthworks at one of the factory buildings (Fig. 2). Artefacts from the cemetery are currently stored in three institutions, i.e. the Grodzisk Mazowiecki Cultural Centre, the Museum of Ancient Mazovian Metallurgy in Pruszków and the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw. Due to the accidental nature of the discoveries, their only documentation are notes from archaeological interventions and entries on the artefact inventory cards drawn in 1959 (Fig. 4). The lack of sketches and field descriptions does not make it possible to reconstruct the location of the graves and significantly hinders analysis of the funeral rite. The long-term storage of the unstudied material negatively affected its condition – some of the artefacts and documents were lost. This study covers those artefacts that could be identified and combined into grave assemblages. The phase of use of the cemetery in the Early Iron Age is represented by six features: two cloche graves (Fig. 7, 10), three cloche or urn graves (Fig. 5, 6, 8) and one urn grave (Fig. 9). In most cases, the graves contained only pottery. Among the remains of at least 22 vessels, 18 could be typologically identified per the classification of T. Węgrzynowicz30, including ten pots (A1), representing four types and/or variants: I var. b (Fig. 10:2), III var. c (Fig. 7:2), III (Fig. 19:5), V var. c (Fig. 5:1, 6:2, 9:1, 10:1), V (Fig. 6:1, 8:2) VI var. c (Fig. 19:6). Seven bowls (B1) were classified as types: I var. c (Fig. 7:3, 8:4, 9:2, 10:3, 19:4), I var. d (Fig. 8:1), V var. c (Fig. 7:1). There was also one mug (B2) of type I var. b (Fig. 19:3). The vessels represent forms commonly found at Cloche Grave Culture cemeteries in Mazovia and Podlachia. The vessels with quite rare stamped impressions with a marked centre, made with a straw (Fig. 20), stand out in terms of ornamentation. Decoration on the urn from grave 6, made with polygonal stamps with a marked centre (Fig. 10:2), is completely unique. It was presumably made with lignified stems of field plants. Non-ceramic artefacts: bronze lumps, bronze wire and a fragment of a corroded iron sheet (Fig. 7:4.5), originally probably small items of adornment or tools, were only recorded in three graves (3, 5, 6). Skeletal remains were only preserved in three graves. Anthropological analysis showed that the bones of an adult man were interred in grave 2, of a seven-year-old child and an adult in grave 3, and of an adult woman (?) in ‘grave’ 6. The cloche graves cemetery at site X in Grodzisk Mazowiecki is located in the eastern part of the Łowicz-Błonie Plain – an area distinguished by intense settlement of the Pomeranian Cloche Grave circle45. Features of the pottery indicate that the cemetery functioned mainly in phase Ib after M. Andrzejowska53, i.e. approximately at the end of Ha D – the beginning of the so-called older Pre-Roman Period. Four graves are associated with the use of the cemetery in the Roman Period – most likely one pit (grave 7) and three urn burials, including one (grave 9) in which the cinerary urn was covered with another vessel (Fig. 13). The remains of a woman were deposited in grave 8; bones from other graves were not preserved or could not be identified. Grave-goods consisted of 24 non-ceramic objects, including: a bronze brooch (Fig. 13:3), probably a strongly profiled one of the Mazovian variety55; two iron buckles (Fig. 14:3.4.4a), including type D1 after R. Madyda-Legutko57; a bronze strap-end (Fig. 13:4), similar to type 1/6 of group I after R. Madyda-Legutko64; a rectangular bronze belt fitting (Fig. 19:1); remains of an iron razor (Fig. 15:6); three straight iron knives (Fig. 15:3–5); a one-piece antler comb, type Thomas AI68 (Fig. 12:1); (Fig. 12:2); a sandstone whetstone (Fig. 14:5); a double-edged iron sword (Fig. 18:1.1a) of the Canterbury-Kopki72 type or the Canterbury-Mainz variant of the Lauriacum-Hromówka73 type; two iron shield bosses and a bronze shield fitting (lost); four spearheads of types: L/2 (Fig. 18:6.6a), V/2 (Fig. 18:3), II/2 (Fig. 18:2) and XIII (Fig. 18:7) after P. Kaczanowski85–87; aa bow-shaped spur (Fig. 18:5) of type C1b after J. Ginalski95; a chair-shaped spur (Fig. 18:4.4a), similar to type IIc after E. Roman97; remains of a bronze bucket with iron handle of the Östland/Eggers 39–40107 type (Fig. 15:1.2, 16, 17). Of the six clay vessels, five can be typologically identified; they belong to types I/2 (Fig. 14:1), II/1 (Fig. 11:1, 14:2), III (Fig. 13:2) and V (Fig. 12:1) in the classification of T. Liana113. The richest burial at the cemetery, as well as in the area between the Bzura, the Rawka and the Vistula, is grave 10 (Fig. 14–18). It is distinguished by an imported bronze vessel and an exceptionally large number of elements of weaponry (two bosses, four spearheads), testifying to the above-average social position of the deceased. A. Niewęgłowski134 suggested that two warriors were buried in the grave; however, the thesis cannot be verified due to the inability to identify burned bones from this feature. Although isolated graves with larger than standard weaponry sets, including ones containing two shield bosses or several spearheads, are known from Przeworsk Culture cemeteries, they are not frequent. Östland-type vessels are among the Roman bronze vessels most frequently encountered in barbarian Europe. In western Mazovia, imported bronze vessels are relatively rare. The burials from the Przeworsk Culture cemetery are from the Early Roman Period. Grave 10 is dated to stage B2a, grave 9 to phases B2b–B2/C1, grave 8 to phases B2b–C1a, and grave 7 only broadly to phases B1–B2. The cemetery is located within a dense, west-Masovian cluster of Przeworsk Culture settlement, which also included an iron metallurgy centre142. The cemetery at site X in Grodzisk Mazowiecki is one of the many Masovian necropoles used by the population of the Cloche Grave and Przeworsk Cultures152. Even though the mutual chronological relations of the Cloche Grave and Przeworsk assemblages exclude a hypothesis about continuous use of the cemetery by the population of both cultures, it should be remembered that the site has only been partially explored. Unfortunately, the area of the cemetery is currently heavily urbanised and partly overlaps with a former Jewish cemetery, where excavations are forbidden (Fig. 3). This prevents any archaeological research, and thus possible determination of the original range of the cemetery and examination of its structure.