Unpublished Shin-guards Type Stanomin
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne, ul. Długa 52, 00-241 Warszawa
Publication date: 2010-12-31
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2010;LXI(61):81–94
Published in the article are seven shin-guards made of bronze lacking provenance (Fig. 2:1, 3–5, 7), a fragmented specimen from the region of Końskie, distr. loco (Fig. 6a) which occurred with a fragment of a bronze fibula (Fig. 6b), all held by the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Department, State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, also, a shin-guard discovered near the village Łąki, distr. Garwolin (Fig. 2:2). The above finds are discussed using a classification system of M. Mogielnicka-Urban (2008, p. 215–216) by their type and versions. Only one find, with an individual zonal ornament, is classified to the “classic” type, Kuyavish version (Fig. 2:1). Best represented is the Mazovian version, with a varied, as a rule, continuous ornamentation which makes use of hatched “hourglass” motifs in diverse arrangements (Fig. 3–5:1), hatched triangles and reserved rectangles (Fig. 2:1), or a combination of different figures (Fig. 5:2). Three shin-guards are recognised as characteristic for the mixed type (Fig. 6, 7). Analysis of distribution of the ornament suggests that on some shin-guards it was applied onto the rod before it was coiled to form the shin-guard; this is because some of the designs were between the coils and exceptionally, even on the inner face of shin-guard (Fig. 2:2, 7:1). Occasionally, there were some imperfections or errors in composition. On one shin-guard the direction of hatching used to fill the figures was inconsistent (Fig. 4) whereas elements of a design seen on the central portion of a Kuyavish version shin-guard were misaligned (Fig. 2:1). I case of three shin-guards it was possible to determine the order in which individual ornamental motifs were executed. First were groups of transverse grooves; next, the fields between them were filled by outlining the figures, which, as a last step, were filled with diagonal hatching (Fig. 4, 5). A part of the ornament could be of distinct deep grooves (Fig. 2:2, 4, 5), with also present shallow and narrow grooves which easily succumbed to wear (Fig. 3, 6a, 7). A delicate but well defined ornament seen on a Kuyavish version shin-guard consisted of two sorts of incisions: deeper transverse from which extended laterally more shallow and narrow ones (Fig. 2:1). The majority of the shin-guards published here show traces of use in the form of a thinning out of the rod on its inside: in one (Fig. 2:2, 3, 5:1), two (Fig. 4, 7:2) or three places (Fig. 7:1). This thinning out of the rod is thought to result from the rubbing of leather straps against the metal. Presumably, the shin-guards, too heavy to be elements ofdaily attire were suspended vertically from a loosely looped thong which explains why only the face of the shin-guard became worn. Drawing on available data there is not confirmation that “unused” shin-guards were used for some special, e.g., ritual purpose. In the aquatic environment one finds specimens with evident traces of wear as well as undamaged specimens. The shin-guard and fragmented fibula from the region of Końskie recorded together (Fig. 6a.b), as suggested by the written records, could originate from a hoard, As such, this would be a third deposit from the period Hallstatt D, next to hoards from Świdnik, distr. Nowy Sącz, and Łuszkowo, distr. Kościan, containing an shin-guard and a fibula. Type Stanomin shin-guards have occurred over a large area of Europe, from central Germany and northern tip of Jutland Peninsula as far as western Belarus, western Volhynia and Bosnia. The classic type, Kuyavish version, and the mixed type, had a wider range of distribution than shin-guards of classic type, Mazovian version, which mainly cluster in areas lying east of the middle Vistula River. Te diversity of ornaments on shin-guards of Mazovian version intimate the existence of local centres which produced specimens decorated with distinctive compositions. One of such workshops which specialised in elaborate ornaments of groups of short lines (Fig. 5:2) has been located tentatively in Podlasie region and in the adjoining part of Mazowsze (Fig. 1). And presumably, the discovery east of the Vistula River – at Łąki, and at Bużyska, distr. Siedlce (Fig. 1) of shin--guards with terminals of an unusual shape and with an ornament of similarly arranged hatched triangles and reserved rectangles, is not random (Fig. 2:2). Unfortunately, the wide distribution of shin-guards with an ornament of groups of transverse grooves and horizontal “hour-glass” motifs (Fig. 4, 5:1) makes it difficult to draw any more specific conclusions. The majority of the ornamented shin-guards of mixed type originate from areas found west of the Vistula River Finds from central Poland (Fig. 1) feature diverse compositions, many with a herringbone motif (Fig. 6a, 7). Only the expansion of a reliable finds database, detailed analysis of ornamentation and other attributes of the shin-guards, and metallographic studies may help in identifying local centres of production.
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