PL EN


2009 | 54 | 2 | 209-248
Article title

MILITARIA AS GRAVE GOODS IN EARLY MEDIEVAL CHILD BURIALS - PROVISIONAL INTERPRETATION BASED ON FINDS FROM POLISH TERRITORIES (Polish title - below)

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Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
(Title in Polish - 'Militaria jako element wyposazenia wczesnosredniowiecznych pochówków dzieciecych - próba interpretacji na przykladzie znalezisk z ziem polskich'). Archaeological sources have indicated the rarity of the sepulchral custom of furnishing child burials with militaria or their imitations in the Early Middle Ages in Polish lands, as well as in neighboring territories. To date twenty such child burials with weaponry have been reported from ten cemeteries situated in Polish lands. Most of the burials are dated to the 11th and 12th c., although some could be younger than that. Anthropological examination of the bones have confirmed that weapons were furnished to children in both the infans I and infans II age range. In one case, the age of the buried child was determined as infans II/juvenis. The most frequent form of militaria in the child burials are arrows. Iron arrowheads have been preserved in ten burial pits: grave 29 in Czersk, grave 39 in Czekanów, grave 14/97 in Kaldus, grave 33 in Lubien, grave 34 in Konskie, grave 75a–b in Opole-Nowa Wies Królewska, grave 25 in Pokrzywnica Wielka, grave 33 in Psary and grave 132 in Sowinki. Included in this set is a stone arrowhead from grave 51 in Czekanów, an unparalleled find in assemblages of Early Medieval date. The stone balls found in five graves in Dziekanowice (site 22) are interpreted as slingstones. Two of the grave pits yielded shaft weapons: a spearhead in grave 52 in Konskie, and a different spearhead in grave 15 in Pokrzywnica Wielka. The latter burial was also furnished with a fighting knife in leather sheath with bone elements. An unique miniature axe of brass covered with ornaments was found in grave 65/95 in Dziekanowice. Iron axe-heads were discovered in five other grave pits: one in grave 39 from Czekanów and four in graves 12, 31, 83 and 85 from Lubien. Militaria found in child burials are commonly part of richer grave furnishings, which consisted of in most cases a knife, sometimes in a leather sheath with fittings, more seldom body and dress ornaments, coins, vessels of various kinds and other objects. The present overview of militaria found in child burials as part of the grave furnishings has demonstrated that the custom was practiced by a social class owing its prestige and importance to military activity. The militaria in child burials should be treated as a form of symbolic communication informing about the dead child being a member of a professional class of warriors, perhaps even the chief's troop, and being assigned such status. A parallel magic role can also be envisaged. Figs 8, table 1
Year
Volume
54
Issue
2
Pages
209-248
Physical description
Document type
ARTICLE
Contributors
  • Tomasz Kurasinski, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Oddzial w Lodzi, ul. Tylna 1, 90-364 Lódz, Poland
References
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
CEJSH db identifier
10PLAAAA08029
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.2f6165d6-be83-36e6-82ee-2ca4bac52085
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