EARLY MEDIEVAL SETTLEMENT ON THE PRUSSIAN-MASOVIAN FRONTIER IN THE LIGHT OF RESEARCH ON THE STRONGHOLD IN LESZCZ, WARMINSKO-MAZURSKIE VOIVODESHIP
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A salvage excavations were carried out on site 1 located on a headland projecting c. 700 m into the Dabrowa Wielka lake, where 38 trenches were excavated, covering 318 m2. A fort was established on this headland most likely in the early 9th century, taking advantage of the naturally defensive position of this narrow spit of land with steep and high banks. A dry moat was dug across, piling the excavated soil in an embankment on the inside. The ditch was 15-20 m wide, c. 1.7 m deep. The moat extended away from the embankment, forming a triangular suburbium. None of the known strongholds in NE Poland had quite this form. Inside the fort, excavations revealed the remains of two Early Medieval huts. The no. 1 presented a layout of considerable intricacy. It consisted of a room (3.50 m N-S by 4.00 m E-W), sunk c. 1-1.20 m below ground level; a section of the house that was not sunken, 1.50-2.00 by 2.00 m (slightly narrower on the south side); and adjoining vestibule to the north, 1.20 by 1.50 m . It was a wooden building which had gone up in flames. The reconstruction indicated a type of house that has not been identified outside the south of Poland so far. Finds from inside consisted of an iron spur with hooked inward-bent attachments without parallel from the territory of Poland, numerous potsherds, a clay whorl and a whetstone and grinder, both of stone. An iron monetary unit shaped like an arrowhead, 8 cm long and weighing 25 g, was an interesting find, such units being found in Silesia and Lesser Poland, but not in the northeastern regions of Poland. Other iron finds included a knife, nail and a fragment of bar, as well as five objects which failed to be identified. On the grounds of the pottery and iron objects, the fort can be said to have occupied a position on the Slavic and Balt frontier. Faunal remains testified to a balance existing between cattle and pigs. The frequency of hunted game (beaver constitutes up to even 26%) is close to what is observed on other sites, reaching 8%. The burned wood of hut was 14C dated: 780±55 and 875±35. The complete set of data indicates that the fort was established in the 830s-840s and it did not outlast the century. Similarly dated hut (no. 2 - size 3x3 m) stood c. 15 m west of the first one.Two corners were discovered, the rest having been destroyed by Late Medieval architecture. It is unclear whether it was a household or habitational unit. The site was settled again in the Late Medieval period. 10 Figures and 1 Table.
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