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Eye Brooches of the Prussian Series from the Territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture
 
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Wiadomości Archeologiczne 2017;LXVIII(68):45–106
 
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The Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture (W. Nowakowski 1996) occupied Sambian Peninsula, the Pregolya River drainage and the region between the Lower Pasłęka and the Middle Łyna rivers, most of which territory now lies in the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation (W. Nowakowski 1996, map 2; A. Chilińska-Früboes 2016a, map 1). Archaeological finds from this territory are of major relevance in the discussion of the so-called stylistic community, observed in the Early and the Younger Roman Periods in the territories of the Wielbark Culture, Przeworsk Culture and West Balt cultures (J. Andrzejowski, A. Cieśliński 2007, p. 282). One manifestation of this stylistic community is the appearance on the territory of these cultures of eye brooches of the Prussian series. In phase B2 they were the most popular form of brooch worn by the people of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture. Eye brooches of the Prussian series differ from brooches of the main series by the presence on the foot of a pair of punched concentric rings – so-called ‘eyes’. In type A.57–61 specimens the chord and spring have the form of a narrow, rectangular-sectioned band, in variants A.62–64 – these elements are made of round-sectioned wire. Usually, lengthwise on the bow there is a zone of pseudo-filigranulation, and on the foot, in some specimens, an incised triangle. In almost all of these brooches there is an upper chord, held in place by a flat hook (O. Almgren 1897, p. 29–33, pl. III:57–64). While brooches of the Prussian series are widespread in the Barbaricum, their most apparent concentrations are observed on the Lower Vistula, in the eastern zone of the Przeworsk Culture, and in the territories of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture and the Bogaczewo Culture (J. Andrzejowski, A. Cieśliński 2007, p. 282–283, fig. 4; cf. U. Pfeiffer-Frohnert 1998, p. 126, 128, fig. 1). More than two hundred eye brooches of the Prussian series have been recorded in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture (cf. List 1–10, Table 1). Over a half belong to late types – A.60–61, with a bow tapering at the head, whereas earlier forms – types A.57–59 – with a bow expanded by the head – are represented by just ca. 20 specimens. Other than that, there is a small number of brooches classified to variants A.62, A.63 and A.64, and to variants A.60/62 and A.61/62 which have been separated in the present text. Almost a fourth of brooches of the Prussian series, most of them surviving incomplete or known only from brief references, could not be classified to any specific type (cf. List 10, Pl. 16:1.3.7.8.10.19.20–23). The earliest form of brooch of the Prussian series is type A.57. Similarly as brooches of the main series, these forms are decorated with punched rings on the expanded section of the bow near the head (so-called ‘wings’), and also, with three pairs of similar rings on the foot (O. Almgren 1897, p. 29–30, pl. III:57). From the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture we have at least five finds of type A.57 brooches (cf. List 1, Pl. 1). In type A.58 and A.59 specimens (List 2, Pl. 2, 3), there are no ‘eyes’ on the ‘wings’, this design is present only on the foot (O. Almgren 1897, p. 30, pl. III:58.59). At present these two types of brooch are described in the literature jointly as type A.58/59 (cf. J. Andrzejowski 1998, p. 54; S. Twardo 2003, p. 166). In the territory of Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture type A.57–59 brooches were in use in phase B2a, which coincides with the chronology proposed for them in the Wielbark and Przeworsk Cultures. They were worn by women and men alike – this is confirmed by their presence in grave inventories containing jewellery and others, furnished with weapons and tools (Table 2, 3). The number of these brooches is not large enough to recognize areas of their greater concentration (Fig. 1, 2). Nevertheless, their largest number has been recorded in the northern area of the Sambian Peninsula near to the base of the Couronian Spit, which region was one of the centres where the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture took form in phases B1–B2a (A. Chilińska-Früboes 2016a, p. 81, 88, 120, 175, 217; A. Chilińska-Früboes, in print a). Most brooches of the Prussian series known from the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture belong to type A.60 (ca. 40 specimens; cf. List 3, Pl. 4–6, 7:10.14–16) and to type A.61 (ca. 70 specimens; cf. List 4, Pl. 7:1.2, 8–12, 13:28–31.33), or to one of them – where they cannot be determined conclusively (13 specimens; cf. List 5, Pl. 13:1.2.6–8). Type A.60 and A.61 brooches differ from type A.57–59 forms in that the bow tapers near to the head. Brooches type A.60 are provided with small, usually rectangular comb between the bow and the foot, which does not appear in type A.61 brooches. In type A.60–61 brooches there is usually a zone of pseudo-filigranulation running the length of the bow; at the end of the foot, in some specimens, there is also a scored triangular design (O. Almgren 1897, p. 30, pl. III:60.61). Brooches of this type were fashioned from folded metal sheet. They were mass produced, their workmanship mediocre, which sets them apart from eye brooches of the main series. Type A.60 and A.61 brooches have a very broad distribution range (U. Pfeiffer-Frohnert 1998, p. 129, map 3–5) but form evident concentrations on the Lower Vistula and in the territories of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo (Fig. 3) and Bogaczewo Cultures. Many of these specimens have been noted in the territories of the Przeworsk Culture and of the Lithuanian-Latvian Barrows Culture, with a smaller number recovered in the territories of the Western Lithuanian, Lower Neman and Central Lithuanian Groups, in Scandinavia and in the Elbe region (M. Mączyńska 2004, p. 214, map 3, 4; 2011, p. 26–27, fig. 8; cf. W. Nowakowski 1996, p. 152–155, map 3). In the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture territory type A.60 brooches come into use in phase B2a (A. Chilińska-Drapella 2010, p. 9–10), this is confirmed by their presence in assemblages with eg., type A.58/59 brooches, and forms classified to Almgren 7th series, group V, and also, with bracelets with knob terminals (cf. Table 4). In a few assemblages type A.60 brooches were found with type A.61 brooches (cf. Table 4, 5) which have a longer chronology. The first type A.61 brooches appeared in phase B2a but most of them have surfaced in grave inventories together forms that are the most ubiquitous in phase B2b (cf. Table 5) – eg., type A.42 brooches (A. Chilińska-Früboes 2016a, p. 55–62) and ‘Sambian belt sets’ (A. Chilińska- -Drapella 2010, p. 10). Type A.61 brooches – two specimens – with the latest dating found in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture were excavated at fmr. Wiekau, grave XXXVII (W. Nowakowski 1996, p. 49; A. Chilińska-Drapella 2010, p. 10). The same inventory held a pair of matching type A.96 brooches (A. Chilińska-Früboes 2016b, p. 234–235 – with more sources; 2016c, pl. 186:16.17), recognized as diagnostic for phase 2 of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture which corresponds to phase B2/C1–C1a in the relative chronology (W. Nowakowski 1996, p. 50, pl. 107). Ultimately we have to conclude that type A.60 brooches occur in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture mostly in phase B2a. This is also the time of occurrence of types A.57–59 brooches and of the first type A.61 specimens. In phase B2b, type A.57–59 brooches disappear from the record, while types A.60 and A.61 are in use, although type A.61 is known from a much larger number of finds than type A.60. The only assemblage recorded so far, containing type A.61 brooches, dated to phase B2/C1–C1a, is insufficient to extend their chronology up to the beginning of the Younger Roman Period (cf. W. Nowakowski 1995, p. 28; 1996, p. 49). In the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture type A.60 and A.61 brooches were worn, similarly as in other parts of the Barbaricum, by women and men alike – they have surfaced in inventories containing jewellery and in others – with weapons (cf. Table 4, 5). In most graves they co-occurred with other brooches – most often, clothes were fastened with two or three brooches, more rarely, with four or five (cf. M. Mączyńska 2004, p. 215). Almost all the brooches of the Prussian series had an upper chord. Except for a type A.61 brooch with a crossbow construction of its fastening which was found in grave 8 at fmr. Imten (List 4:34; Pl. 12:34). Eye brooches provided with a lower chord have been analysed by J. Andrzejowski and A. Cieśliński (2007, p. 283–286, fig. 5, 6). These specimens have been recorded mostly on the Lower Vistula and their chronology does not differ from the dating of brooches with an upper chord. Very rarely, a brooch could have its chord coiled around the bow, also as a result of repairs. In some brooches of the Prussian series recovered from the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture the bow tapers towards the foot (Pl. 2:2a, 4:2a1, 5:3i, 6:4b). This is true of type A.58/59 and A.60 brooches only, the same trait has not been observed in type A.61 specimens. Most of these brooches should be assigned to phase B2a. In type A.60–61 brooches found in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture the bow ended in a narrow, flat hook. Except in type A.61 brooches found at fmr. Sacherau (List 4:24; Pl. 11:24) and fmr. Wiekau, grave XXXVII (List 4:28c; Pl. 12:28c2) in which the end of the bow had been folded to form a hook, of the same width as the width of the bow. Perhaps, this way of forming the hook was characteristic only for the youngest brooches of the Prussian series. A possible clue to their chronology might be the width of the foot in brooches of the Prussian series – in type A.57 and A.58/59 brooches the foot appears to be narrower than in type A.61 specimens. Most brooches of the Prussian series excavated in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture before the war went missing during World War II, and are known only from the sketches of H. Jankuhn (Spuścizna). It appears from these drawings that many of these specimens had a foot which – rather than being spade-shaped – was pointed, sometimes rounded at the edges. In some specimens this shape was definitely the result of damage, but occasionally it was so on purpose (cf. Pl. 5:3f, 6:12, 11:21). Perhaps this feature sets apart brooches of the Prussian series produced in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture from those manufactured in the territory of other cultures. Quite a few eye brooches of the Prussian series have on their foot terminal a scored triangular design, or a pair of oblique lines meant to imitate it. This decoration was present as a rule on older forms – types A.57–59 (Pl. 1:1a.2–4, 2:1.4.5, 3:4.6.9), sporadically – in type A.60 brooches (Pl. 4:2a3.2b, 5:3b, 6:5b.c.8.1.9, 7:16) and rarely in type A.61 (Pl. 9:4.2, 11:12, 12:26a3.28a). Where only a fragment of the foot survived, the presence of this ornament may be recognized tentatively as a clue to the chronology of that artefact – this is because the decoration with a scored triangle or oblique lines was more frequent in phase B2a than in phase B2b. From the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture we have a series of at least seven brooches classified as variant A.62 (cf. List 6, Pl. 13:1.4, 14:2.3.5). This form differs from type A.57–61 specimens by having a wire spring and chord (O. Almgren 1897, p. 32, pl. III:62), but also, usually a bipartite construction design – a separate, long spring on the axle is held in place by a long hook. It is interesting that no two similar variant A.62 brooches have been recorded while most of the mass produced type A.60–61 specimens are nearly identical. At least three brooches of the Prussian series recovered in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture which had a spring made of wire had been repaired in antiquity (cf. O. Almgren 1897, p. 32 note 3; cf. List 7). Prior to repairs the brooches from fmr. Dollkeim and fmr. Stobingen may have belonged to types A.60 and A.61, this is why they have been described here as variants A.60/62 and A.61/62 (cf. Fig. 5). The distribution range of variant A.62 brooches is mostly in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture (Fig. 4), outside this region their finds are exceedingly rare (O. Almgren 1897, p. 32; W. Nowakowski 1995, p. 28–29; 1996, p. 49; 1998b, 47). In the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture variant A.62 brooches occurred in phases B2a–b and were an element of women’s costume (cf. Table 6). The only finds of variant A.63 brooches – three specimens – have been recorded in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture (cf. List 8. pl. 15:1–3, fig. 6). In this type of brooch the bow expands to a triangular shape near the head, and the fastening is made of wire (O. Almgren 1897, p. 32, pl. III:63). These specimens are rather solid, have a foot which expands to a trapeze shape, and on the bow, a zone of ornament running the length of it. These artefacts are likely to be the effect of experiments made by local craftsmen. In their style they resemble Sambian variant A.62 and type A.148 brooches. In grave inventories dated to phases B2a–b they occurred in association with tools and weapons (cf. Table 7). Another, small group of brooch finds from the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture are specimens with a spring made of wire, a strap bow, and a foot, usually flat, expanding to a trapeze shape, with no punched ring ornament; in most of these specimens the point where the bow passes into the foot is marked with a zone of ornament, more rarely, with a rib, or usually, a rectangular comb (cf. List 9; Pl. 15:1.2, 16:3.4.6–8). Such brooches correspond to variant A.64 although the latter supposedly was limited in its range only to Bornholm (O. Almgren 1897, p. 32–33, pl. III:64; Spuścizna [VII. Fibulor Fig. 62–64; Mü 1α, VBO 129, Berl. Alb. Kön 351–52]). (O. Almgren 1897, p. 32–33; cf. B. M. Rasmussen 2010, p. 116, fig. 19:a.c). Outside this island variant A.64 brooches are known from the Sambian Peninsula and the Lower Vistula region (Fig. 7). It seems that the term “variant A.64 should be treated provisionally as a classificatory term used for a group of brooches that are similar in their style to various types. Presumably, they are examples of how the style of brooches of the Prussian series was transformed (or deteriorated). These artefacts belong mostly in phase B2b, possibly also, in phase B2/C1–C1a. Some of the eye brooches of the Prussian series known from the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture were repaired in antiquity. The brooch from fmr. Dollkeim, grave 4 (List 7:1a; Pl. 14:1a) originally had a spring made of a strip of metal sheet, replaced with another, made of wire, and in order to reinforce the new construction, wrapped in some organic material. A similar method was used presumably also on a type A.58/59 brooch from fmr. Imten, grave 15 (List 2:5; Pl. 2:5) – with a spring made of a strip of metal sheet (two coils are visible), and when it was damaged, replaced with coiled wire. The same could be true of the specimen from fmr. Stobingen, grave C (List 7:2; Pl. 15:2). When in the type A.58/59 brooch recovered at fmr. Dollkeim, grave 9 (List 2:2a; Pl. 2:2a) the spring lost one of coils through breakage, an axle was inserted to reinforce it. A similar method was used in a brooch found in grave 26 in that cemetery (List 7:1b; Pl. 15:1b), and in a brooch type A.61 from fmr. Corjeiten, grave 400 (List 4:2c; Pl. 7:2c1). Presumably, also the result of repairs is an iron axle set into the brooch from fmr. Groß Ottenhagen, grave 19 (List 4:8b; Pl. 10:8b). Yet another brooch likely to have been repaired in antiquity is the stray find from fmr. Dollkeim. The surviving fragment of its damaged spring had been riveted to the bow of that brooch (DSHI 100 La Baume 9, p. 115, 245). In the type A.57 brooch from fmr. Eisliethen II, grave 4 (List 1:1a; Pl. 1:1a) the fractured hook was replaced with a new one, set into a hole punched in the bow. According to the information collected by us, in brooches of the Prussian series the element most likely to be damaged was the spring. Thanks to the study of archival records and museum holdings we can restore to scholarly circulation the series of more than two hundred eye brooches of the Prussian series found in the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture. The data collected so far concerning the finds of eye brooches of the Prussian series from the territory of the Dollkeim-Kovrovo Culture shows that this area, next to Zone A of the Wielbark Culture, was one of the centres of production of these brooches.
ISSN:0043-5082