ANCIENT METALLURGICAL CENTER NEAR WARSAW. CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES
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Two articles discussing a Masovian metallurgical center (S. Woyda 2002b; 2005) considered it to be the second largest iron producing center in barbarian Europe after the Holy Cross Mountain complex. Ongoing large-scale surveying began by Woyda in the late 1960s has led to the discovery and registering of several hundred sites. Twenty of these were excavated before 2003, covering areas of from a few to a few hundred ares, but the findings have yet to be published, largely hindering any discussion of detailed topics or issues concerning ancient Masovian metallurgy. Stefan Woyda associates the decline of a huge centralized production in the Holy Cross Mountains and the Masovia region with the peak development of Przeworsk culture. He rightly perceives that the work organization, production, impact and intended recipient of the product made in the Holy Cross Mountains was targeted at the south, while that of Masovia at the central and northern zone of the European barbaricum. Finally, the end of smelting in these production centers is linked by him with the migration of the Goths, identified with the Wielbark culture population, to the Black Sea littoral. It is a pity that Woyda has not observed any 'characteristics of creative progressive activity' (S. Woyda 2005, p. 160) in the metallurgical production anywhere in Masovia or the Holy Cross Mountains. He did note that in the late Roman period iron was smelted in bigger furnaces, but he failed to observe that smelters in both centers had improved the process by eliminating, for example, slag-pit channels as unnecessary, and in the Holy Cross Mountains they changed the system of production, moving from disorderly furnace sites, which Woyda refers to as 'chaotic', to ordered complexes. The time span was too short, however, for the changeover to multiple smelting in the same furnaces which the author would like to see in both centers. Technology in those times did not develop at the pace Woyda would like to see. Woyda's enormous scholarly achievements merit full appreciation for he not only discovered, but largely explored the ancient metallurgical center in the Masovia region. His controversial interpretations discussed in this contribution prove that faced with such a breadth of research issues covering both the exact sciences and technical problems, a humanist is enjoined to cooperate more closely with specialists in these fields. Notwithstanding, the solution to many previously unknown issues and especially new hypotheses are best formulated in the conditional. One can only wish researchers of the Masovian metallurgical center that the results of their valuable work will be published in detail, permitting closer analysis of all aspects of settlement, not only those connected with metallurgical production.
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