MARIA CHMIELEWSKA - FIFTY SIX YEARS OF RESEARCH (Maria Chmielewska - w piecdziesiecioszesciolecie pracy naukowej)
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Ever since the author took an interest in the Stone Age he was aware that modern research on the Paleolithic and Mesolithic in Poland is linked with Maria Chmielewska and her husband Waldemar. Few of today's researchers are conscious of the gap that existed at the time in research on the Paleolithic. In the early 1950s there were only four people working in the field: Stefan Krukowski, Ludwik Sawicki, Maria and Waldemar who embarked on their first fieldwork on a Mesolithic site in Konin in 1950. Maria's first publication concerning the Mesolithic (1954) was a monograph of a Late Mesolithic grave in Janislawice near Skierniewice. It is still considered a milestone of research on the Mesolithic in Poland. It was also a signal that here was a researcher worth taking note of. In 1955 Maria and her husband undertook the exploration of a dune site at Witów near Leczyca. This breakthrough work in European archaeology of the late Stone Age, combining comprehensive archaeological excavations and paleoenvironmental research on dunes and connected peat bogs, lasted through 1963. For the first time on a site in the European Plain, perfect microstratigraphic, geomorphological and palynological analyses, added to radiocarbon dating, provided data for a chronological and environmental positioning of cultural units from the end of the Ice Age and the beginning of the Holocene in Poland. The Terminal Paleolithic remained a focus of Maria Chmielewska's research for many years despite serious eyesight problems. She stands behind the initiation of excavations at Cichmiana (1952), one of the most interesting sites on the European Plain, as well as Ruska Skala (1952-1954) and Katarzynów (1960-1962). A monograph (which was at the same time her habilitation thesis): 'The Late Palaeolithic in the Warsaw-Berlin ice-marginal streamway' (Wroclaw-Warszawa-Kraków-Gdansk 1978), a book whose impact on studies of the Stone Age in Poland cannot be exaggerated. Most of her long involvement in scientific research Maria Chmielewska spent in the Institute of the History of Material Culture (from 1992 the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology) of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where she worked from 1956 until the end of 1990. In 1963-1964 we both excavated at Arkin in northern Sudan within the framework of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition and the Nubian Salvage Campaign of UNESCO and in 1971 and 1972 during excavations for the chocolate flint mining research program. It was for this program that Marysia directed the explorations of an Early Bronze Age mining site at Polany near Wierzbica. Her retirement in 1990 did not severe her ties with the Institute. She has remained active, producing jointly with Hanna Wieckowska a hugely important publication of the final results of excavations on a Mesolithic site at Luta in the western Polesie region (H. Wieckowska, M. Chmielewska, The Mesolithic settlement in the Luta microregion, Lublin voivodeship. Materials, Warszawa 2007). Fig. 1.
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