Shards of History. Some Interesting Pottery Fragments from Anusin in Kujawy
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie
Publication date: 2020-01-28
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2019;LXX(70):93–103
The collection of the State Archaeological Museum (PMA) in Warsaw includes fragments of two clay vessels – a bowl and an ornamented, globular cinerary urn (Fig. 2, 5). They come from an accidental discovery made before World War II at a manor farm in Anusin, a village located in Kujawy, in Radziejów County (presently Piotrków Kujawski Commune) (Fig. 1). They were brought to Warsaw in the early 1930s by Kazimierz Salewicz, an archaeologist employed by the PMA. He went to Kujawy to establish cooperation with Bonifacy Zielonka, then a local teacher and later an archaeologist, who, before World War II, collected and recorded, in a non-professional capacity, archaeological finds from the Radziejów area. Zielonka donated his collection to the PMA, however, the potsherds from Anusin were probably obtained by Salewicz directly from the owner of the farm, Kazimierz Głowacki. Two well-preserved, similarly ornamented vessels from the same discovery, stored at the manor house of the Głowacki family in Pruchnowo near Radziejów, were lost or destroyed during the war. The label for the potsherds brought to the PMA was prepared by then museum assistant Konrad Jażdżewski, who assessed that they represented either the Cist Grave Culture or Cloche Grave Culture (Fig. 4:a). The form and technological features of the vessels do not rule out either of these possibilities, although the latter seems more likely. During the war, the pottery fragments from Anusin, together with other collections of the PMA, were transported to Poznań by the Germans. There, they were entered in the inventory (no. 122:40) and catalogue (no. 40:795) of the Landesamt für Vorgeschichte, established in 1940 (Fig. 5). After the war, they returned to the museum in Warsaw and received a new label, drawn up by Maria Gądzikiewicz-Woźniak (Fig. 4:b). In 1973, they were inventoried under the number PMA/III/3 as artefacts of the Cloche Grave Culture from the Early Iron Age. The assemblage is of special interest due to the unusual ornament on the cinerary urn. It depicts a grid, whose irregular meshes were made by impressing a stamp imitating a cord. The grid pattern has no direct analogies in the pottery decorations of the multicultural population settled in Kujawy in the Early Iron Age, although the arrangement of the ornament resembles representations of necklaces or breastplates, or dress accessories, surrounding the upper parts of the Pomeranian Culture cinerary urn. In the Hallstatt Period, the practice of decorating ceramics with impressions of metal objects is found in Poland mainly in the Lusatian Culture. Cord impressions were most often imitated using a metal rod twisted around its axis, e.g. a necklace. However, the experiments carried out showed that the most probable tool used to obtain the pattern on the vessel in question was a spiral coil made of thin wire, either curved or wound on a small-diameter hoop (Fig. 7). Thus, the potential tools could have been the coiled hoop earrings (Fig. 8) found in the assemblage of the Pomeranian Culture (and sometimes in the Cloche Grave Culture). However, in both these cultures, metal objects rarely served as tools for decorating pottery, and there are no examples of these small items of adornment being used in such a manner. The pattern covering the urn from Rąbczyn, Wągrowiec County, in northern Greater Poland, bears the closest resemblance to the ornamentation on the vessel from Anusin. However, it was made, as most similar decorations on Pomeranian Culture pottery were, by grooving and pricking (Fig. 9). An almost ideal tool, in terms of shape and dimensions, that could have been used to impress the ornament on the vessel from Anusin would be the earring (Trzęsówka-type coil) in the assemblage of the Lusatian Culture from the cemetery in Kosin, Kraśnik County, in the southern Lublin Region (Fig. 10); in the Tarnobrzeg zone, these earrings are categorised as objects of Eastern influence, manufactured on a large scale. The find closest, both territorially and formally, to Anusin comes from a settlement with numerous ‘eastern’ type materials at site 4 in Brześć Kujawski, Włocławek County, in Kujawy. The decorated vessel from Anusin is an example of a local product that combines a ‘Cloche Grave’ or possibly ‘Pomeranian’ vessel form with a pattern referencing the ornamental traditions of the Pomeranian Culture, made with a tool which most probably comes from the assemblage of the Tarnobrzeg Lusatian Culture.