05.12.2016 change 05.12.2016

Unique nearly 4 thousand years old house discovered in Maszkowice

It had a stone foundation and was larger than other structures within the settlement. Inside, archaeologists discovered objects made of bronze and an amber decoration - in Maszkowice, scientists found a nearly 4 thousand years old house, in which the settlement elite had lived.

The unique house and other huts within the settlement, which archaeologists have discovered during this year\'s research, were protected by the oldest monumental stone wall known in Polish lands. Researchers they stumbled upon its well-preserved relics already in 2011, but only last year they were able to accurately determine its age to be nearly 4 thousand years, which became a sensation in the world of archaeology.

"The fact that we were able to discover the remains of houses from this period is a real treat. There are precious few such remains in today\'s Poland. Additional curiosity is the discovery of a unique home, built on a stone foundation" - told PAP head of excavations Dr. Marcin S. Przybyła from the Institute of Archaeology of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. The house, clearly standing out among the other structures, was built in a row along with five other buildings made of wood.

Dr. Przybyła compared the structure with stone foundation to modern homes built in the mountains - the purpose of foundation was to harden the ground in areas subject to subsidence and erosion. On this foundation, builders erected wooden walls, probably made of whole logs.

The house was unique for other reasons, too. Firstly, it was larger than the other houses within the fortification. In its interior archaeologists discovered items, which were not present in the neighbouring houses.

"Especially valuable in this period was bronze, new copper and tin alloy. Fascination with this metal is visible among the then population. Inside the biggest house we discovered melted pieces of this material. Because of its value, the smallest fragments were carefully collected and stored" - said Dr. Przybyła. Inside the house, researchers found only one finished item made of bronze - it was a pin for fastening garments.

Inside the house of the settlement elite archaeologists also unearthed a large Baltic amber bead - it was at that time that items made from this material began to appear in Greece.

"All the artefacts we have discovered indicate that residents of the house and the village could actively participate in the trade zone between the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea. Perhaps they guarded the routes" - said the archaeologist. Fortified settlement in Maszkowice was situated on a mountain pass in the Carpathians, on the route leading from north to south.

According to estimates of the researchers, the settlement was suddenly abandoned around 1550-1500 BC, after 80-264 years of activity. Scientists do not have any data that would imply that a disaster or invasion contributed to that. However, about half of the period of activity of the settlement there was a big fire. Wooden houses were rebuilt - larger than before, but there were less of them.

Scientists are confident that at least some villagers came from the distant areas on the Mediterranean or Adriatic - only they knew the architectural know-how, which allowed to erect stone walls in such a technologically advanced form. This is also evidenced by the discovered fragments of pottery. Their forms suggest contacts with the communities living in the mid Danube basin.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski

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