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Studies in La Tène and Provincial Roman Imports in Oksywie Culture
 
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Instytut Archeologii Uniwersytet Rzeszowski, ul. Hoffmanowej 8, PL 35-016 Rzeszów
 
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2013;LXIV(64):3–48
 
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The article addresses the subject of influx of La Tène and provincial Roman imports to the territory of Oksywie Culture settlement. Provenance of these artifacts is established mainly on the basis of stylistic and technological criteria. The earliest imported brooches, from Rumia, graves 150 and 151, have good analogies among brooches, type 13b/c (after R. Gebhard), known from the oppidum at Manching. Also possibly of La Tène provenance are brooches from Rumia, grave 162 (Fig. 1:1a.b), and from Podwiesk, grave 112, since they too have analogies among finds from La Tène Culture territory, e.g., from D Langendiebach, Kr. Hanau (Fig. 1:2a.b), or D Giengen a.d. Brenz. Another imported form would be brooches type A.65 and their iron imitations, also, type Nauheim (a total of at least 10) recorded at Bystrzec, Nowe Dobra, Papowo Toruńskie, Pruszcz Gdański (Fig. 3:1), Rządz (nowadays Grudziądz-Rządz) and Skowarcz (Fig. 3:2) (see the Catalogue). Finally, there are brooches type A.18, represented by least twelve specimens known from Chełmno (Fig. 6:2), Czarnówko, Podwiesk (Fig. 6:6–8), Pruszcz Gdański (Fig. 6:1.3–5.9), Rządz and Rumia (Fig. 6:10) (see the Catalogue). All specimens type A.18a are variants Altenburg and Wederath (after T. Völling = types 2a and 2b after S. Rieckhoff, or variant A.18a2 after S. Demetz). A single specimen of type A.18b comes from Rządz and may be linked with variant A.18b2b (after S. Demetz). All double-edged swords recorded in Oksywie Culture either have close analogies in finds from La Tène Culture territory or have parameters and stylistic features definitely close to their Celtic counterparts. An evident import is a specimen discovered in a richly furnished grave from Opalenie, very likely executed by pattern welding, or alternately, by selective etching with acid, wax and birch-tar. Other swords of La Tène provenance are specimens that were discovered in a set with a metal scabbard identified as an import (see the Catalogue). Similarly as double-edged swords all metal scabbards from the territory of Oksywie Culture settlement have close parallels in the Celtic world or are markedly similar to their La Tène counterparts. On the evidence of close analogies known from La Tène Culture and metal scabbard finds from its territory – potentially the prototypes of their style design – the metal scabbard, type Ł.1a, alternately, Bo.III (type Paruszewice), discovered at Rządz in grave 678 is an evident import. This is true also of the uniform group of scabbards decorated in a ladder pattern with at least three or four S-curve patterns, known from sites at Pruszcz Gdański, Żukczyn, Gdańsk-Nowolipki, Opalenie and, possibly, Ciepłe (see the Catalogue). The best analogy to this group of scabbards would be the specimen discovered in grave 23 from D Hoppstädten-Weiersbach, Kr. Birkenfeld, dated to LT D2a. Next to this find another piece of evidence to support La Tène provenance of metal scabbard finds under analysis here is the semi-product, in copper alloy, of a triple S-curve pattern, recovered from the oppidum at Bibracte. Metal scabbards with shagreen ornament may be treated as an expression of exchange with Western Celts. In Oksywie Culture two specimens decorated with this technique are known, one from Lubieszewo (grave 34b, unpublished) the other from Bolszewo, where it was discovered in a grave containing a Celtic cauldron. Other imports include a scabbard, classified to the eastern variant Ludwigshafen from Pruszcz Gdański (grave 137) and scabbard-plates decorated with opus interrasile technique, from Kopaniewo, grave IX (Fig. 10:1a) and Rządz from a grave excavated in 22 November 1883 (Fig. 10:2). It is also possible that scabbard-plates with a lattice pattern decoration (Gittermuster) have La Tène provenance; they are known from Będziechowo, stray find (Fig. 11:2) and from Troszyn, grave 1 (Fig. 11:1). Openwork ornament definitely has is origins in La Tène Culture. Moreover, La Tène Culture some inventories contain scabbards with a top decorated with openwork applique, reminiscent of the Gittermuster pattern – e.g., the scabbard from Lamadelaine, grave 3, and, possibly, the scabbard from grave 2/1898 in the cemetery at D Hüttigweiler, Lkr. Neuenkirchen, in the Rhineland. The small number of analogies recorded on Celtic territory for the may finds of scabbards with plates decorated with a lattice pattern (Gittermuster) recorded on the territory of the Przeworsk and the Oksywie Cultures must be the consequence of different burial practices followed in each of these culture units. It is possible that the scabbard from Pruszcz Gdański 7, grave 346 (Fig. 11:3), originally had a plate decorated with a lattice pattern (Gittermuster), or perhaps, with opus interrasile but now it is seriously fragmented and retains only the upper part of an iron openwork plate at the mouth of its front scabbard-plate made of iron. Metal scabbards of double-edged swords disappear are gone from European Barbaricum with the decline of the La Tène Culture. To claim that they were manufactured in the Przeworsk and the Oksywie culture environment is to accept that during the Late Pre-Roman on the territory of these culture units there were scabbard-making workshops not inferior in any way to La Tène workshops. This is a bizarre claim to make because none of the objects (e.g., single-edged swords, circular shield-bosses, spearheads), recognized as local Przeworsk or Oksywie metalwork, require the level of expertise and advanced tools which are necessary to make metal scabbards. Assuming that the Germanic smiths had gained, through contact with La Tène Culture craftsmen, sufficiently high skill to allow them to make metal scabbards, we would expect find locally made metal scabbards of single-edged swords and other objects made of materials or using technologies analogical to those needed in the production of the class of military object under discussion here, but none have been recorded. The above observations are strong evidence to treat all metal scabbards of double-edged swords as objects produced in La Tène workshops, and consequently, to recognize their La Tène provenance. The difference in the number of finds of these scabbards on the Celtic and the Germanic territories must result from different rules of the burial rite. The same applies to the lack of close analogies in La Tène Culture materials. A separate chapter focuses on finds of metal vessels of La Tène and provincial Roman provenance. Out of a broad spectrum of metal vessels presented in the study of H.-J. Eggers, the following forms have been recorded in Oksywie Culture: E.4–8 (bronze cauldrons with an iron rim, from Bolszewo, Brzeźniak, Ciepłe, Tuja and Skowarcz), and E.18–20 (situla-shaped buckets, from Małe Czyste, Opalenie, Rokosowo, Rządz, Sławno, Starzyno, Troszyn), and vessels type E.67 and E.91 (bowls, from Rządz). The assortment of La Tène and provincial Roman imports closes with objects made of glass: assorted beads and bracelets recorded at Podwiesk, Rumia and Toruń (see the Catalogue). The broad spectrum of objects of La Tène and provincial Roman provenance recorded in Oksywie Culture evidently documents extensive contacts of the inhabitants of Pomerania with the Celtic world. The imports cluster mostly in Chełmno Land, the Lower Vistula basin and on the coast of the Bay of Puck. During phase A1 they include brooches, from Rumia (graves 150, 151 and 162), which find analogy in La Tène brooches from LT C1b. Possibly attributable to the group of imported objects is the brooch from Podwiesk (grave 112), which has the best morphological and stylistic parallels in finds from LT C2. Imports observed during phase A2 include brooches type A.65 and Nauheim forms, which possibly linger until the onset of the youngest phase of the Late Pre-Roman Period. Assemblages with metal vessels and Celtic vessels recorded at Bolszewo and Opalenie also belong approximately in this phase. A similar chronology is feasible for the metal scabbard type Ł.1a / Bo.III from the grave assemblage 678 from Rządz. A more broad chronology, one that takes in phases A2 and A3, is accepted for the many glass ornaments, a relatively common category of find. A similar dating is given to metal scabbards ornamented in a ladder pattern with S-shaped volutes, recovered at Żukczyn, Gdańsk-Nowolipki, Pruszcz Gdański 7, grave 374, and Pruszcz Gdański 10, grave 137, as well as to buckets E.18 and E.20 (from Małe Czyste, Sławno and Starzyno) and to Celtic cauldrons. During phase A3 imported objects include brooches A.18 and buckets types E.18–19, from cemeteries at Rządz and Troszyn, as well as bowls E.67 and E.91 from Rządz. Also datable to phase A3 is grave 355 from Pruszcz Gdański 7 containing a metal sword scabbard ornamented with a ladder pattern of S-shaped volutes. The influx of assorted objects of non-local provenance to the area occupied by Oksywie Culture settlement apparently came from more than one direction. Brooches types A.65, Nauheim and variant A.18a (variant Altenburg after T. Völling or A.18a2 after S. Demetz), A.18b, provincial Roman buckets types E.18–20, and the sword scabbard type Ł.1a, apparently found their way to the region from the south. On the other hand, the brooch type A.18a (variant Wederath after T. Völling) and the cauldrons with an iron rim, as well as the shagreen-decorated sword scabbards and specimens decorated with a pattern of s-shaped volutes, suggest a western connection. It is feasible that this was the direction also of the influx of bowls, types E.67 and E.91, and if the chain mail discovered at Opalenie, although this question cannot be resolved conclusively for the time being; this is true also of other objects with a La Tène or provincial Roman provenance. Analysis of the distribution of finds of non-local provenance on the territory of Oksywie Culture and its neighbour culture units leads us to conclude that their presence in our region must be the result of a chain of episodes of exchange – of varying complexity – in which a significant role was played by local settlement concentrations and border zones of different cultures. Transactions may have been concluded directly by the makers of the goods or by intermediaries of agents. When it comes to burials furnished with metal vessels and, on occasion, with other imported objects, we may speak of a more focused model of long-distance exchange or possibly, diplomatic gifts. In this type of exchange one would expect the participation of representatives or envoys of individual clans, tribes or territorial communities. The crucial role in the trade must have been played by amber. Another feasible important branch of trade with areas found north of the Carpathian range could have been slave trade. Unfortunately, we have no explicit data on salt deposits in Kuyavia and their exploitation, if any, during the period of interest, although during the La Tène there was a great demand for this commodity. The influx of imports has been interpreted also in terms of military activity (plunder), as well as in political or social terms, e.g., gifts exchange. It seems also that we cannot discount, especially during the first stages of the Late Pre-Roman period, the trade in raw iron, which should also be treated in the category of imports. It is also relevant that a range of commodities, potential equivalents in exchange, both local and regional, unfortunately leave no traces recoverable with investigation methods available at present – natural goods found with a varying intensity in different regions, but also, services and various type of intelligence. The presence of imports of La Tène and Roman provincial provenance in Pomerania appears to be the result of extensive contacts of the population resident in the region during the Late Pre-Roman period. Of major importance for this exchange presumably were two complementary routes that provided connections with the western and the eastern zone of Celtic settlement.
ISSN:0043-5082