2011 | 62 | 119-167
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Materiały z cmentarzyska w Leśniewie, pow. kętrzyński (dawne Fürstenau, Kr. Rastenburg

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The cemetery at Leśniewo was investigated in the 1880s by G. Bujack. As is the case of many other sites in former East Prussia, the archaeological material entered the Prussia-Museum in Königsberg. Most of it was lost during WW II, a small number resurfaced in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Berlin, which now has in its keeping a part of the pre-war collections of Königsberg museum. Of 122 features discovered at Leśniewo we have information on only 70. Our source are the publications of G. Bujack and private files of H. Jankuhn and M. Schmiedehelm who worked in East Prussia before WW II. The cemetery continued in use for only a short period – from phase B2a until B2/C1, possibly, C1a. Its original location was confirmed basing on the correspondence of the Prussia-Museum, now in Prussia-Sammlung section of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte. The burial site occupied the western shore of Lake Rydzówka. The dead were buried at Leśniewo mostly in urned graves. Only four unurned graves were identified: three containing the remains of the cremation pyre (19/9, 47h/22, 58/32) and one, described as Knochenhäufchen, consisted of a concentration of cremated bones deposited within clean sand (39/18). Urns were mainly necked vessels (group I, variants A, B, C and D); next to them there were also a few basin-like forms (group III) highly similar in their shape to group IIA bowls, and at least in two cases a bowl type, IIA. A number of urns had a plastic ornament in the form of handles with multiple openings. Decoration of most vessels was limited to horizontal lines engraved immediately above the maximum diameter of the vessel and/or under the rim, single or in groups of two or three. Only a small number of vessels had a more elaborate ornament. On the body of the bowl placed over the urn in feature 62/35, is a drawing, below its maximum diameter, of roughly executed rings, triangles and strokes, confined between two vertical engraved lines. Other than that, the bowl is decorated with three circumferential lines engraved on the shoulder, and vertical engraved lines in groups of three running from them down to the vessel base. This representation has been interpreted as a drawing of a skull or as a human figure. The only other vessel featuring an anthropomorphic representation from the territory of the Bogaczewo Culture comes from an unspecified feature discovered at Inulec, distr. Mrągowo. On its neck the vessel has a design interpreted as an image of warriors with shields. A slightly larger number of vessels feature ornamentation in the form of zoomorphic representations and diverse geometric symbols. The furnishings of the features investigated at Leśniewo includes ornaments, mostly fibulae and beads, tools, knives, needles, awls, fire-making tools, tweezers, and a socketed axe-head, elements of horse harness and weaponry. Ornaments, dress accessories, tools and implements were mostly deposited in urns, the weapons and elements of horse harness were placed next to the urn. The dominant fibula form were eye fibulae of the Prussian series – as many as 13. Two of these need a closer discussion. The type A60 specimen from feature 47h/22 has a rarely encountered ornament – next to three pairs of eyes on the foot, it also had two pairs of eyes stamped on the bow. The fibula from feature 60/34 had on its bow lengthwise grooves and a row of stamped squares down the middle, its expanded trapeze foot was decorated with two pairs of eyes at centre and a row of four eyes by the lower edge; the eyes at the centre of the foot were connected by engraved lines with the outlying eyes by its edge. The crest of this fibula was imitated by means of three horizontal grooves. The chronology of elaborately decorated eye fibulae is the same as of other specimens in this series and takes in phases B2a and B2b. Feature 31/13 yielded an eye fibula type A62, a variant of the Prussian series, which is a likely import from the Dollkeim/Kovrovo Culture; in cemeteries of Bogaczewo Culture this fibula type is encountered quite rarely. Next to the forms discussed above fibula finds included a single strongly profiled type A79 specimen discovered in feature 116/63, a specimen close to 10 series, V group, in grave 64/37, and three triple-crest fibulae, type A96, in features 47sp/23, 47g/24 and 47s/30. A fibula close to 10 series V group, a distinctive variant of this type, has a crest on its bow. A number of similar fibulae are known from cemeteries of Bogaczewo Culture e.g., Koczek II, grave 128, and Ławki, grave 30, the Dollkeim/Kovrovo Culture – at Polese (former Drusker Forst), graves 19 and 65, and Wielbark Culture, at Ulkowy, grave 58. In the group of beads a more outstanding specimen is a grooved bead made of green glass, type TM159a, recorded in feature 68/41. It has no analogies on the territory of the Bogaczewo Culture but is regarded as a type characteristic for the Przeworsk Culture. A single dress pin, discovered at Leśniewo in feature 49/19, corresponds to type I of B. Beckmann. Also interesting is a series of 12 pendants in the form of a spoked wheel, type Machary, discovered in grave A – only 20 similar ornaments are recorded on the Bogaczewo Culture territory. The majority of buckle finds from Leśniewo are a form encountered en masse on territory of the Central European Barbaricum – unipartite, with a circular frame, type AC13 – in features 5/3 and 10/5, or with a D-shaped frame, type AD1 – in features 10/5, 18/8, 39/18, 46/21 and 87/49. Next to these, in feature 75/43 there was a buckle with a round frame and pin integrated with the chape, type AC1 G. Bujack mentioned four rectangular belt mounts discovered in the same cemetery but none of these were illustrated. Elements of weaponry include mainly spearheads, three specimens, of which only one – a stray find – was illustrated; there was also a single shield boss, type J6, and a shield grip, type 5. In its plan, funerary rite and furnishings the cemetery at Leśniewo does not differ substantially from other cemeteries of the Bogaczewo Culture. Similarly as at other burial sites of this culture there were identifiable grave groups, deposition of ordinary objects and weapons in graves and a cremation burial rite. There is evidence of influence from other cultures: Przeworsk (the buckle with a round frame and pin integrated with the chape, the green grooved bead), Wielbark (fibulae type A79, 10 series V group, type A96 decorated with gold) and Dollkeim/Kovrovo (the fibula type A62). In contrast to other Bogaczewo Culture cemeteries dress pins were scarce (just one specimen was discovered here, a type seldom encountered in the grave inventories of this culture), and a longer than usual series of eye fibulae and pendants type Machary. In case of the cemetery at Leśniewo, known previously only from brief references in 19th century literature, we can try to bring it back into academic circulation basing on the archival documentation of H. Jankuhn and M. Schmiedehelm and artefacts which have survived in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Berlin. At the same time, the comparison of line drawings of the same artefacts in both files has revealed some differences, sometimes quite substantial, which persuades us to treat this archival record with due caution.
Physical description
  • Agata Wiśniewska, al. Prymasa Tysiąclecia 99/31; PL 01-424 Warszawa; POLAND
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