Are the chamber graves from Pień really Scandinavian?

Are the chamber graves from Pień really Scandinavian?

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  SCANDINAVIAN  CULTURE IN  MEDIEVAL POLAND edited bySlawomir Mozdzioch Blazej  StanislawskiPrzemyslaw WiszewskiInstitute  of  Archaeology  and  Ethnology of the  Polish Academy  of  SciencesWrociaw2013  Andrzej  Janowski Are the chamber graves  from  Pien really Scandinavian? Pien is a small town  located  on the  right bank  of the Vistula  River  around  10 km to  the  northwest  of  Bydgoszcz. Archaeological excavations, eonducted therebetween  2003  and  2009,  indicated  the  presence  of a  medieval settlement com- plex  that included the remains of a stronghold dated between the second half of the  lOth  and the end of the  12th  century.  In the first  quarter  of the  15th  century,  the stronghold  was  transformed into  the  seat  of a  Teutonic procurator (cf. Janowski, Polinski 2011  -  therein  further  references).  In  addition, there were  also  several settlements  in Pien (Drozd, Janowski 2004; Janowski, Drozd 2005) as well as a  cemetery.  To  date,  the  cemetery  has not  been published  in a  single monograph, but  the results of subsequent archaeological excavations have been discussed in  a  wide range  of  papers  (e.g.  Drozd, Janowski 2007a; 2007b;  2007e;  Drozd,Janowski, Polinski  2007; 2009a;  2009b;  2010;  2011;  Janowski, Drozd  2007) 1 . Let  us  briefly  review  the  current  state  of  research. During  the excavations eonducted between  2005-2007  and 2009, an area of5.95 ares was examined and  71  graves 2  as well as  15  other  non-funerary  features were  recorded. The grave-pits  occurred  in  four  levels. Levels  I-III  represent the early  modern cemetery (60 graves) which was in use  from  the second half of the 16th  to the end of the  18th  century.  Level  IV, the  lowest one,  and  most  signifi- cant for the  present study, comprised early medieval graves. Altogether  level IVincluded 10  human graves  and one  animal grave (Fig.  1). Three  of the  early medieval  graves  contained skeletal remains  of adult  individ- uals:  grave no.  15  belonged to a man who died at the  maturus  age,  while  graves   The  excavations  at the  cemetery  in  Pien  were  eonducted  by a  group  of  scholars  led by D.  Polinski  (Institute  of Archaeology,  UMK.,  Toruri),  A.  Drozd  (Institute  of  Ecology  and  Environment  Protection, UMK, Torun)  and A.  Janowski (Institute  of  Archaeology  and Ethnology  Polish Academy  of  Sciences, Szczecin). 2  Altogether 68 graves were excavated. Three graves, whose larger parts were below the base of the trenches, were only  recorded  and  they  will  be  excavated  in the  near  future.  U bucket  **•(*** sem  -F>recious beads  £ bell-shaped pendant   ^ 6 M kaptorga-amutetcase  l wtietstona O tem P e  9  l conical hoder r  bronzebowlday vesselwooden scoop axe   giass  beads   silvercham sver  bead   neckiace  daspear-rng clay  whotl T texhe   differeni Fig.  l.  Distribution  of chamber  graves  at the  cemetery  in  Pieri  (site  9)  drawing  A.  Janowski.    ARE  THE CHAMBER  GRAVES  FROM PIEN REALLY SCANDINAVIAN? nos.  32 and 69  belonged  to  females  who  died  at the  maturus  and  adultus  age respectively. Six graves (nos. 37, 38,  39,40,49,  57) included skeletal remains of children  who must have been between 2-5 years  old  at the time  of  death  (infans  I). Achild  aged around  13  (infans  II) was  buried  in one  grave. Graves nos.  15,  32, 37, 69  and  71  were oriented  east-west,  while  the others were slightly  offset  towards the  south.  The  deceased individuals  from  graves  no. 15 (a  male)  and no. 37 (a  child  -  possibly  a  boy) were buried with their heads aligned towards  the  east,while  in the  other  cases  the  deceased  (females  and  young  girls)  were buried with their  heads towards the west.One characteristic  feature  of all the excavated graves was their large size. The largest  grave (grave no.  15)  was 3.40 m long,  l.90  m wide and 0.5 m deep. Gravesnos.  32, 37, 40, 69 and 71  were slightly smaller  and  their dimensions were:3.0  x  1.5 m, 2.6 x 1.5 m, 2.8 x 1.6 m, 3.0 x 2.0 m and 3.0 x 1.5 m and the reg- istered  depth: 1.26 m, 0.86 m, 1.6 m, 0.9 m and 0.8 m. Other graves were muchsmaller  and  their dimensions  in  their upper levels were  2  x  l .6 m  (grave  no.  38), 2.2 x 1.4 m  (grave  no.  39),  2 x l m  (grave  no. 49) and 1.9 x 0.9 m  (grave no.  57). These graves were between 0.4 m to 0.8 m deep. The area of the excavatedgrave-pits ranged between  1.71  to 6.46  m 2 . Apart  from  their large sizes, the graves  from  Pien were  also  rather specialbecause  of  their  internal  construction that  differed from  what  is  usually  observed at  early medieval cemeteries in Poland. Based on the appearance of the graves' profiles 3 ,  it is  possible  to  argue that  the  deceased were buried either inside a  coffin or  without  it, but  within  a  larger wooden  structure. The  features  of these  wooden structures were especially  clear  in  graves nos.  15,  32, 39 and 40 - all  built  in log  framework construction.  In  grave  no. 15, the chamber was  prob- ably  made of oak, with corner joint structures of long  stumps,  ca 0.1 m thick. The  construction began with  the  placing  of  beams  for the  longer  walls (northern and  southern). No traces of a floor were recorded in the chamber. The roof was attached  to the walls  using  wooden pegs, and traces of these connections remained in  the  eastern part  of the chamber 4 . The  body  was  placed within  the  structure on  a bier, the traces of which survived at the level of the skeleton in the  form of  darker bands,  ca  0.04-0.  l m  wide. Between  the  chamber walls  and the  bierthere  was empty  space  ca 0.3 m  wide. Fragments  of a  wooden structure were also present in grave no. 39.  Along  the longer sides, heavily rotten planks (?) ca  0.03-0.03  m  were uncovered. Also  in the  profiles  of  graves nos.  32 and 40, dark  stains were clearly visible, and these were traces of decomposed wood  from 3  The  grave-pits were excavated  quarter by  quarter. Baulks that separated each of  them  were  left  in the  central part of the  grave-pits (for  further  particulars cf.  Drozd, Janowski 2009). 4  A  fragment  of a plank  with  a  hole  for a  wooden  peg and the peg  itself were  found  nearby. 397  ANDRZEJ  JANOWSKI the  chamber  and the  coffin.  Additionally,  in  grave  no. 40,  four  nails  and  10  iron ferrules  in the  form  of  angle  bars 5 ,  which connected  the  wooden  parts of the chamber, were discovered. No  traces  of mounds  were  identified  above  the  graves,  but  grave  no. 40 was surrounded by two  four-sided palisades.  The  internal palisade  was  situated within  l m of the  grave chamber  and the  length  of its  side  was  about  5 m, while the second,  external one was  located  at a  distance  of 2 m and  constituted  a  square 7 x 7 m. A  similar construction,  but  including  a  single  row of  posts, probablysurrounded grave  no. 15. The  recorded length  of the  western  ditch/palisade  is ca 8 m, and the  southern  one ca 6 m.  This  structure  was  supposedly quadrilateral in  plan  and  fenced  in the  whole  burial,  but due to the  large  extent  of  destruction of the  area  to the  north  and  east  of it, it is  difficult  to  understand  how it may  have srcinally  appeared. The  early  medieval graves excavated  in Pien  were  very  well  furnished  with different  kinds  of  objects.  In the  grave  of a man  (grave  no.  15),  an axe  decorated with  silver  and  copper  was  found (type  Va  according  to A.  Nadolski),  as  well  asan  undecorated bronze bowl inside  of  which  a  wooden scoop  and  another  un- identified  vessel  (a  plate?)  was  placed.  The  grave  also  included  a  wooden bucket with  iron bands,  a  knife,  a  whetstone  and a  textile made  from  silk.  The  grave  of a  child  (grave  no.  37), most likely  a  boy, contained  a  wooden bucket with silvergilded iron bands  and two  iron  knives. Other graves (nos.  32, 38, 39, 40, 49, 57, 69 and 71)  contained objects that allow for the  supposition that  the  individuals buried within them were  female. Grave  no. 40  included  an  elaborate  belt  made  from  silk, which  was  threaded with gold and  which  had  gold gilded copper  fittings at its  ends  as  well  as two  gold  gildedcopper  bells.  In  this grave,  as  well  as in two  others,  a  large range  of  silver  jewel-lery  was  found:  17  temple rings (grave  no.  32-6  pieces; grave  no.  39-5  pieces; grave  no.  49 1  piece; grave  no.  57-5  pieces),  12  beads (grave  no.  32), 5  amulet cases/kaptorgas (grave  no.  32-3  pieces; grave  no. 57 - l  piece; grave no.  69 - l  piece),  3  necklace clasps (graves nos.  32,38,  57),  2  chains  (grave  no.  38), l  basket-shaped  earring  (grave  no.  39),  l  ring (grave  no.  71).  Among  the  head and  neck adornments  were  necklaces  with  semi-precious  beads:  21  from  carne- lian  (grave  no.  32-16  pieces; grave  no.  38-4  pieces; grave  no.  57-1  piece) and  22  from  rock  crystal  (grave  no.  32-15  pieces; grave  no.  38-7  pieces)  as well  as  around  400  glass  beads (grave  no. 32 -  around  400  beads; grave  no. 69 - l  piece).  The  wide  array of  adornments  is  supplemented  by  three bronze bells, which  were  found  in  grave  no. 50.  Moreover,  the  female graves included ceramic 5  A similar number of comparable  ferrules  were  found  in a chamber  grave  in Sowinki (Krzyszowski  1995, 10). 398
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