2009 | 54 | 1 | 13-35
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GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY OF LARGE NEOLITHIC STRUCTURES IN LOESS REGIONS. THE CASE OF SLONOWICE (Geofizyczne badania duzych konstrukcji neolitycznych na terenach lessowych. Casus Slonowice)

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Site 'G' in Slonowice has been explored archaeologically since 1979. The site lies on the south upland slope, falling away toward the Maloszówka river. The FBC is known from numerous settlements in this territory, but little could be said of the sepulchral aspect of their life prior to the work at Slonowice. Even so, the sheer size of the site (15-20 ha), limited funds and the hitherto unexplored subject range necessitated relatively slow progress of research and cautious interpretation. Following more than twenty years of research it can be said to be 'a temenos', a separate sacred enclosure connected with a burial ground. A rectangular square measuring about 110 m to the side occupied flattened ground in the middle of the slope, limited on the east, west and presumably also north by two parallel ditches with a presumed embankment sandwiched between them, built of the earth excavated from the ditches. On the south side, the square was closed with a trapezoid timber-and-earth tomb, also about 110 m long. The walls of this structure were made of rows of wooden posts driven vertically into the ground, the space between the rows filled in with earth from ditches dug parallel to the outer walls of the tomb. A few more features of the same kind were localized further to the south, more or less parallel to one another, standing on the part of the slope already falling away toward the river. No two are the same, even though they share certain characteristics, such as a similar 'palisade' technique for erecting the walls - timber posts driven into foundation trenches about 0.5 m wide and 1 m deep. The length of the structures differs substantially. The longest ones (nos I and II), both over a hundred meters long, are unique in that they have ditches of varied depth and width, from which the soil for the embankments was excavated. The tombs nos III-VI are of smaller size and are revealed solely by the outlines of the foundation ditches under the timber walls. The complex has been dated to the beginnings of FBC culture in western Little Poland, i.e., first half of the 4th millennium B.C. The site was next occupied by a Trzciniec Culture village in the Old Bronze Age (17-12 c. B.C.) and revealed a few hundred pits of a domestic nature, about 1 m in diameter and up to 2 m deep. Pits cut through the earlier Neolithic structures. Archaeological method was supplemented with geophysical prospection. The geophysical prospection carried out by T. Herbich (1983-2005) is the biggest project of its kind conducted so far on an archaeological site in Poland. The resultant map complements the archaeological picture of the megalithic tomb substructures and provides a precise understanding of both the Neolithic and Old Bronze Age phases of occupation of the Sonowice site. An analysis of the combined results of excavations and magnetic mapping have recorded the site layout and traced the course of ditches with the wall foundations of tombs nos I, II and VI, identified tomb no. VII, the extent of the pits connected with the Trzciniec Culture and the course of ditches connected with the Bronze Age occupation of the site. This discovery has put the Slłonowice site among the few settlements from the Bronze Age known from the archaeological record in Poland as having traces of defensive installations. Figs 13.
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  • Tomasz Herbich, Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, al. Solidarnosci 105, 00-140 Warszawa, Poland
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