10.12.2018 change 10.12.2018

Lubuskie/ Archaeologists discovered nearly 2000 years old Germanic cemetery

Photo: Krzysztof Socha/Muzeum Twierdzy Kostrzyn Photo: Krzysztof Socha/Muzeum Twierdzy Kostrzyn

Archaeologists discovered dozens of iron and bronze artefacts including a sword and decorative buckles in a nearly 2000 years old Germanic cemetery, archaeologist Krzysztof Socha from the Kostrzyn Fortress Museum told PAP. The cemetery is located in the Gorzów poviat.

Archaeologists do not reveal the exact location of the newly discovered cemetery to prevent its destruction by treasure hunters who search fields and forests with metal detectors. Socha emphasises that he was surprised by the large number of discovered metal objects. Archaeologists have also found numerous fragments of burned human bones.

"After preliminary research, which we carried out in November, I believe that we are dealing with a huge, perhaps even several-hectare cemetery from the first centuries of our era" - says Socha. Three complete graves were discovered during the excavations; the remains of the dead had been burned. In one case, they were originally in a ceramic urn, in the other two they were poured into pits dug in the ground.

Socha regrets that the necropolis is largely destroyed by forest management - the forest was planted in this place nearly half a century ago. "We do not know if there had been a forest here before, but during the excavations we recorded traces of very deep ploughing, which could have contributed to the degradation of ancient burials" - he adds. But according to the archaeologist, there had been many more graves. This is evidenced by artefacts chaotically scattered just below the surface.

"While the first complete graves probably belonged to warriors - because we discovered weapons in the graves, including a ritually bent metal sword - We are also finding buckles and other decorations in the area. This shows that the cemetery belonged to the entire community - probably women, men and children" - adds Socha. In the graves the discoverers refer to as burials of warriors, in addition to weapons, archaeologists also found metal elements of clothes (such as belt fittings) and metal knives. Researchers are now waiting for anthropological analyses of bones. Their results will allow to determine the sex of the deceased.

Archaeologists believe that the cemetery belonged to a Germanic community. "Here, the influence of the Goths and Vandals clashed with influences from the Elbe" - says Socha and adds that this conclusion can be drawn from various artefacts. He emphasises that this is one of the few cemeteries of this type in western Poland.

According to Socha, preliminary exploratory research at the archaeological site was possible thanks to the involvement of history enthusiasts from the historical and cultural association Tempelburg and its friendly organizations.

Elements helped in the discovery of the ancient cemetery. A windstorm went through the forest near Kostrzyn on the Oder in October 2017 and uprooted trees. In April 2018 an antlers seeker appeared in the area. In the roots of felled trees, he noticed ancient objects, including metal bosses (middle part of a shield). He informed local history enthusiasts about his discovery, they informed Krzysztof Socha from the Kostrzyn Fortress Museum, who alerted the local monument conservator.

Archaeologists are preparing an exhibition of artefacts that will be opened next year in the Kostrzyn Fortress Museum.

PAP - Science in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski

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