THE POSSIBILITIES OF CHRONOLOGICAL DETERMINATIONS BASED ON STUDIES OF LATE MEDIEVAL CERAMIC VESSELS FROM THE CHELMNO LAND
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Properly developed criteria for determining the absolute dating of objects of material culture of the Late Middle Ages are still bitterly lacking, even in the face of recent research in the field. In consequence of this, many phenomena and historical processes observed in the archaeological digging cannot be dated even moderately well. One of the most important issues in investigations of Late Medieval pottery manufacture is the development of appropriate criteria for determining absolute, not just relative chronology of the vessels. The obvious conclusion is that each ceramic vessel set/assemblage, which we would like to use to determine the chronology of relevant archaeological contexts, should first be subjected to appropriate critical analysis of the source and conclusions concerning the dating should follow from that. The presentation based on Late Medieval ceramic vessels, coming from the Chelmno Land, shows the promise of the technique. This category of archaeological record can certainly be an effective tool in examining Late Medieval settlement processes, including the dating of these phenomena. The results thus obtained are usually complementary with regard to the determinations of historians-medievalists, but they come to the fore on occasion, especially in the face of the absence of any written sources. There can be no doubt that the value of chronological determinations is strongly linked to the periodization system in use. With regard to the Chelmno Land, there is a serious lack of appropriate studies of Late Medieval pottery sets from town complexes, at least from Torun and Chelmno and of more detailed characteristics of pottery assemblages from the terminal phase of the period in question (phase 3, dated from about 1466 to the turn of the 15th century). Of considerable cognitive value are vessels dated by coins and dendrochronological measurements. The use of this data in the future, at least in part, should have significant impact on improving current methods of dating Late Medieval ceramic vessels, increasing by the same the possibilities of its application in research on the settlement processes of the period.
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