Hallstatt Period Ornaments from Warszawa-Wilanów
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie, ul. Długa 52 «Arsenał», PL 00-241 Warszawa
Submission date: 2020-06-29
Final revision date: 2020-07-15
Acceptance date: 2020-07-29
Publication date: 2020-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2020;LXXI(71):217–237
Three impressive bronze ornaments were discovered by accident in 2015 in Wilanów – a district of Warsaw situated in the area of the western terrace of the Vistula River, running along the foot of the Warsaw Escarpment. The place where the hoard was found lies on periodically inundated terrain, formerly used for agriculture and currently intended for housing and road development (Fig. 1). The find consists of two massive anklets formed of round bronze rods and a multi-spiral bracelet made from a metal ribbon with a triangular cross-section (Fig. 2). The anklets, preserved in very good condition, were recovered from a small hole in a compact lump of earth (Fig. 3). Next to it were fragments of a heavily corroded spiral, preserved in three parts. The rods of the anklets, with a maximum thickness of 1.7 cm and terminals hammered into circular, slightly convex discs, were bent in opposite directions into 1⅔ and 13⁄₅ coils. The external diameters of these ornaments measure 13 and 13.3 cm – items of this size are identified as anklets (Fig. 4, 5). The bracelet, coiled from a 1.1-cm wide ribbon with wire-like terminals, originally consisted of 13 coils of approx. 8 cm in diameter (Fig. 6A, 6B). An almost twin ornament, consisting of groups of transverse grooves and figures resembling hatched triangles, is visible along the entire length of the rods of both anklets (Fig. 4:c, 5:c). The three outermost spirals on both sides of the bracelet are decorated with repetitive motifs of inserted angles, ‘herringbone’ and ‘hourglasses’ composed of hatched trapezoids (Fig. 6B:d). Ornaments were stamped on the cast rods of the anklets and on the prepared bracelet ribbon, hammered on a matrix, before they were coiled (Fig. 7–9). To maintain the planned rhythm of repeating decorations, the arrangement of leading motifs was first marked (Fig. 10). In an effort to maintain the same sequence of motifs and the symmetry of the ornamentation on individual coils of the anklets, the central, individually visible sections of the rods were covered with a double band of parallel decorations. Patterns on the terminal sections were drawn in single lines and visually doubled by overlapping the ends of the rods. The anklets discovered in the Wilanów field represent the Stanomin type of anklets, which fall into the category of ‘Kuyavian ornaments’ – objects attributed to the bronze metallurgical centre of the Lusatian Culture, functioning in Kuyavia in the younger phase of the Hallstatt Period (HaD). The Stanomin type also includes numerous examples of ankle-rings regarded as imitations of decorations from the eponymous hoard, creating local varieties of varying range. According to the recently proposed typological division of Stanomin anklets, the Wilanów specimens should be classified as the classic form of their Mazovian version. Both the form and type and arrangement of ornamental motifs are characteristic of decorations noted in great numbers in eastern Mazovia and Podlachia. The spiral bracelet also belongs to the category of artefacts commonly found in assemblages containing ‘Kuyavian’ ornaments. However, the much larger number of coils, the cross-section of the ribbon, the wire-like terminals and the particular ornament differ from Stanomin-type bracelets. The features of the Wilanów bracelet are characteristic of specimens (including objects completely devoid of decorations) registered in the same areas and in the same assemblages as the Stanomin anklets of the Mazovian version (Fig. 11, 12). Dissemination of the specific style of decoration of Hallstatt bronze ornaments from Mazovia and Podlachia may be related to the appearance on the Vistula route, running from south-eastern Europe towards Kuyavia, of pottery decorated in a similar style, characteristic of Moldova and western Ukraine from the end of the 8th and first half of the 7th century BCE. The chronology of some assemblages containing ‘Kuyavian ornaments’, older than previously assumed, may be also determined by their co-occurrence with binocular brooches of the Strzebielinko and Krásna Hôrka type, which, according to the latest findings, should be dated no later than 7th century BCE (HaC–HaD1). The spread of stylistically consistent anklets and spiral bracelets, to which Wilanów ornaments are most closely related (Fig. 13), indicates the existence of a workshop or workshops in the area of eastern Mazovia and/or Podlachia, manufacturing objects of fairly uniform characteristics. However, it can also be assumed that there were centres located outside this area, creating and distributing items decorated in the style accepted or even desired by recipients residing in the above-mentioned territory. The multi-element hoards from Kisielsk, Łuków County, and Podbiel, Otwock County, undoubtedly testify to the far-reaching contacts of the local population. Chemical analysis of the objects from the Wilanów hoard (Table 1) shows that the metal for both anklets was smelted from copper ore from one deposit, while the bracelet was made of different components – perhaps also in another workshop. Similar conclusions apply, for example, to elements of the hoard from Zagórze, Wadowice County. Said assemblage contains items showing connections not only to the Kuyavian centre but also to the region of the Western Carpathians (Krásna Hôrka in Slovakia) from where finished products or patterns for local manufacture flowed into neighbouring areas and beyond (vide long bracelets from Gośniewice, Grójec County, formed of a ribbon with triangular section and with twisted wire-like terminals). A reliable assessment of the phenomenon, with its local specificity and broad territorial and cultural connections, is hindered by the lack of traces of production and the scarcity of comparable metallurgical analyses of the artefacts described. Another issue is the poor state of knowledge on the settlement of the population participating in the processes of manufacture, acquisition or exchange, transfer and storage, and offering or hiding of valuable goods.