A Pendant of type Şimleul Silvaniei from Czersk in Urzecze Region
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Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie, ul. Długa 52 «Arsenał», PL 00-241 Warszawa
Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2017;LXVIII:270–275
Another interesting artefact excavated in 2016 from grave 271 in the Przeworsk Culture cemetery at Czersk, Piaseczno County in central Poland (recently, see T. Rakowski, K. Watemborska-Rakowska 2017) is a copper alloy pendant of a form resembling rings type Şimleul Silvaniei recently analysed in more detail (M. Rudnicki 2012; J. Andrzejowski, A. Maciałowicz 2017, p. 205–214, ryc. 19–22, tab. 2). The burial was detected at the bottom of the ploughsoil as a circular outline of a pit with a dark grey, nearly black fill, diameter 40 cm, basin-like in section, with a depth of 20 cm (Fig. 1). Resting immediately below the level of detection were many pottery fragments, partly burnt, and a handful of cremated bone of an adult individual overlain by metal objects, e.g., an incomplete copper alloy A.68 brooch, an iron knife, and a badly corroded iron object, probably a broken needle; another element of this grave inventory is a decorated clay spindlewhorl (Fig. 2, 3). The brooch dates the burial to the younger stage of phase B1 (cf. M. Mączyńska 2001). However, the most remarkable element in this grave inventory is the copper alloy pendant (Fig. 4, 5). This specimen, made in the lost wax technique, shows no evidence of warping by fire and survives in an exceptionally good condition. Its circular body is decorated with three strands of pseudo-plaitwork, in three sections, separated by three symmetrically spaced rings. At each junction of the rings with the body of the pendant are three spherical knobs. Over one of the rings is a heavy, trapeze-shaped loop, profiled at top and base. It its form the pendant corresponds to rings type Şimleul Silvaniei variant Rustoiu 3a (A. Rustoiu 1996, p. 95). All these finds recorded so far have been interpreted as bracelets or arm rings, the ring diameter ranging between 6–6.5 and approximately 10–11 cm (J. Andrzejowski, A. Maciałowicz 2017, p. 210–211). The artefact from Czersk, smaller (ring dimensions of 5.4×4.8 cm) and fitted with a projecting, carefully finished loop, is the only pendant of this type recorded so far. Most of the type Şimleul Silvaniei rings recovered in Poland come from Przeworsk Culture territory, with a smaller number recorded in the Tyniec Group, Oksywie Culture and the earliest horizon of the Wielbark Culture (see J. Andrzejowski, A. Maciałowicz 2017, fig. 20). Unfortunately, most of them are stray finds and only a handful discovered in burials are datable to the period confined between phase A3 and phase B1b (M. Rudnicki 2012, p. 476; J. Andrzejowski, A. Maciałowicz 2017, p. 206–210). Some of the recently found rings type Şimleul Silvaniei were tested for their chemical composition. Most were found to be in lead bronze with a varying content of lead and tin, only one specimen was of an alloy classified as ‘scrap brass’ (J. Andrzejowski, A. Maciałowicz 2017, p. 213–214, table 2). The chemical composition of the pendant from Czersk is altogether different. Its alloy is high in zinc content (14.48–15.59%), with trace amounts of tin (0.19–0.87%) and lead (0.54–0.57%), and corresponds to so-called ‘decorative’ brasses (cf. P. Gan 2015, p. 179). Probably, the choice of the material used in making the pendant was not random, dictated by the wish to obtain a fine, golden-hued ornament.