A Cast from Čarnaŭčycy and Brooches of Almgren type 41 from Belarus
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Wydział Archeologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Polska
Submission date: 2023-03-27
Final revision date: 2023-05-10
Acceptance date: 2024-03-19
Online publication date: 2024-03-19
Corresponding author
Vadzim Beliavets   

Wydział Archeologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927, Warszawa, Polska
In 2019, the Belarusian State University (Minsk) received a cast of a brooch of O. Almgren type 41, variant X2 as distinguished by J. Schuster (Fig. 1, 3:1). It comes from a Wielbark Culture settlement located near the village of Čarnaŭčycy/Чарнаўчыцы (English transcription: Charnawchytsy) in western Belarus (Fig. 2), dated to phases B2/C1–C1a – C3 (D?) (Fig. 3:2–7). The half-finished piece made of copper alloy, weighing 18.78 g, was made using the lost-wax technique and was abandoned due to casting defects. Earlier, in 2016, a fragment of a failed cast of an Almgren 41 brooch (Fig. 4:2) was discovered at the nearby Radasc'/Ра­дасць (Radasts’). Both finds attest to the local manufacture of fibulae of this type on the eastern fringes of Prybuzhskaya Plain during phase B2/C1–C1a, when it was occupied by the people of the Wielbark Culture. Fourteen brooches of Almgren type 41, intact or partially preserved, are known from six sites in the region, with no less than 11 of them representing variant X2. Four more brooches of this variant come from Polesie (Fig. 2:8–11). Among them are two specimens of rare designs: a fibula of the Rzyszczewo variant from Bobìnka/Бо­бін­ка (Fig. 4:14) and a brooch of the Osie variant from Lemâšèvìčy/Лемяшэвічы (Lyemyashevichy) (Fig. 4:15). They provide a further argument to support the thesis that southwestern Belarus was settled by migrant groups originating from different settlement zones of the Wielbark Culture at an early stage of its development. The abundance of Almgren 41 brooches in the Bug River basin, as well as the finds of half-finished artefacts of this type, showcase the exceptionally important role of this river as a travel route during the migration of the Wielbark Culture groups to the south. Also, worthy of consideration is the concentration of finds of brooches of this type at the confluence of the Pripyat River and its great left tributary, the Yaselda River. It is likely that they are traces of another travel route, leading from Polish Podlachia along the Narew and Yaselda rivers towards the Pripyat River and on to Volhynia. A brooch of variant Z from Starael'nia/Ста­раельня (Starayel’nya), discovered in the Nemunas River basin (Figs. 2:12, 4:19), should be considered evidence of contacts between the local population and the population of the Wielbark Culture that inhabited the lands by the Lower Vistula River in phase B2/C1–C1a.
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