Category Archives: POLAND

A metal detectorist finds a 4,000-year-old Dagger in Poland Forests

A metal detectorist finds a 4,000-year-old Dagger in Poland’s Forests

A metal detectorist finds a 4,000-year-old Dagger in Poland's Forests

A copper dagger more than 4,000 years old was found in a forest near the town of Jarosław on the San River in south-eastern Poland. This discovery is the oldest dagger made of metal found in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship.

In the 3rd millennium BC, objects made of copper were extremely rare in the area, Dr Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt, an archaeologist from the Jarosław museum, told PAP.

This valuable object, dating back over 4,000 years, was discovered last November by Piotr Gorlach of the Jarosław Historical and Exploration Association, who – with the permission of the Podkarpacie Regional Historical Monument Conservator in Przemyśl – conducted a search with a metal detector in the forests in the area of the Jarosław Forest Inspectorate, near the village of Korzenica.

“I had already finished my search for the day. When I returned to the car, I left the detector on out of habit. At some point, there was a signal. When I was digging up the forest floor, I saw a flat metal object covered with a green patina.

I quickly realized that I was dealing with something much older than the military items from World War I and II that I was looking for in this area,” Gorlach said.

Archaeologists from the Museum in Jarosław Orsetti House identified the artifact as an extremely rare 4,000-year-old dagger. The ancient weapon was made of copper and measured just over 4 inches (10.5 cm) in length.

According to archaeologist Dr. Marcin Burghardt from the Jarosław Museum, the dagger discovered in Korzenica can be dated to the second half of the third millennium BC.

“In Polish lands, this is a period of enormous changes related to, among others, with a change in the main raw materials for the production of tools.

Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear, heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age,” noted Dr. Burghardt.

In contrast, the now-discovered dagger from Korzenica – as noted by Dr Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt, an archaeologist from the Jarosław museum – was not cast in bronze, but is made of copper.

 “So it predates the development of bronze metallurgy,” the archaeologist noted. “In the third millennium BC, objects made of copper were extremely rare, so only people of the highest social status could afford them. There is rather no doubt that the dagger is not a local product,” Dr Burghardt-Sieradzka added.

 During this period, metal products were imported from modern-day Ukraine or Hungary and only available to elites who could afford them. Links to the ancient weapon’s origin will be determined in the future through special metallurgical analysis.

Excavation of Castle Site in Poland Uncovers Royal Kitchen

Excavation of Castle Site in Poland Uncovers Royal Kitchen

The Museum of Applied Arts in Poznań, Poland, doesn’t just house a collection of Italian, German, Western European, and Polish Baroque paintings. As it turns out, its centuries-old building also holds a medieval kitchen that once served royalty. 

Excavation of Castle Site in Poland Uncovers Royal Kitchen
Lead archaeologist Artur Różański in the medieval royal kitchen uncovered in the basement of the Museum of Applied Arts in Poznań, Poland.

Archaeologists from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań recently explored the basement of the museum’s administration building, discovering the remains of a kitchen. And it’s not just any kitchen, but a royal kitchen; researchers date the 10-by-16-foot room to the 14th or 15th century.

“We are dealing with, if not the oldest, then one of the oldest royal kitchens preserved in Poland,” the team emphasized in a statement.

This tracks with the construction of the Royal Castle by Duke Przemysł I in Poznań, which began in 1249.

The residence encompassed a tower, square, and south-facing entrance, all of it surrounded by a rampart.

Over the centuries, the castle was burned, rebuilt, sacked, and restored. Its remaining sections have variously served as state archives and government offices before, today, housing the Museum of Applied Arts.

The medieval royal kitchen uncovered in the basement of the Museum of Applied Arts in Poznań, Poland.

In the royal kitchen, the archaeology team turned up a massive Gothic pillar, measuring about nine-by-11 feet, which would have once accommodated a kitchen stove with a hood to filter exhaust gases.

According to historical written records, the space also once held a well in a corner. 

Outside, in the building’s courtyard, the archaeologists dug a huge trench to peer beneath the terrain.

They uncovered more than 6,000 artifacts, including pottery, animal bones, and fragments of hypocaustum tile, which indicated that the medieval castle was heated. The objects date back to the 16th century.  

The dig marks the resumption of a project, aimed at exploring the history of the Royal Castle, which was paused for almost two decades.

The team plans next to uncover the castle’s well, believed to be buried under six feet of rubble.  

Well-Preserved 1,000-Year-Old Ulfberht Sword Found In The Wisla River, Poland

Well-Preserved 1,000-Year-Old Ulfberht Sword Found In The Wisla River, Poland

Ulfberht swords were famous for their strength, flexibility, and high-tech blades. Viking warriors highly prized these weapons, which were extraordinarily valuable because of their properties.

Well-Preserved 1,000-Year-Old Ulfberht Sword Found In The Wisla River, Poland
This well-preserved Ulfbrecht sword was found in the Wisla River in Poland.

“Ulfberht blades were made of crucible steel with relatively high carbon content, making them more robust and flexible than European swords during the Viking and Middle Ages.

Crucible steel could not be produced in Europe until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Still, in India, such steel (known as wootz, has been manufactured since 300 BC and has spread to large parts of the Middle East during the 9th century. Vikings probably gained access to the material from Persia via the trade route across the Volga and the Caspian Sea.” 

Very few Ulfberht swords have been found so far. Only eight such swords are known to exist in Poland and 170 in the rest of Europe.

Earlier this month, Polish workers accidentally found a well-preserved 1,000-year-old Ulfberht in the Wisla River (Vistula River) in the city of Wroclawek. They were carrying out dredging work related to deepening the pool of the port of the Sport and Recreation Center in Włocławek when they suddenly made an unprecedented historical discovery.

The sword had an Ulfberht inscription.

One can imagine how surprised Sławomir Mularski, the owner of the company, was when he spotted ‘an oblong, metal object’ sticking out of the sediment.

Experts suggest the sword may have belonged to a Viking, but this has not been confirmed. Scientists from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun have conducted an X-ray analysis of the weapon and dated it to before 950 A.D.  The sword also has an inscription of the word ‘Ulfberht.’

This historical period is highly important in Polish history. Poland did not exist prior to the 10th century A.D. when the formation of the House of Piast, the first historical ruling dynasty of Poland, took place.

Weapons of this kind are associated with Scandinavia and the Frankish Empire.

“This is an extremely valuable find. We know that these so-called Ulfberht swords were produced somewhere in Central Europe, but it’s not known exactly where.

They were manufactured using very specific methods using carbon steel and a very precise composition.

The amount of carbon steel that was used was strictly defined, making the sword very strong and flexible – its durability and combat value depended on this.

More importantly, after lying in silt for over 1,000 years, the sword has been preserved in excellent condition,” Sambor Gawinski from the Kuyavian-Pomeranian branch of the conservator’s office said.

Gawinski stressed he was not convinced this was a Viking sword. “Several theories have been posited, and so far, all variants are acceptable, but we need to wait for the results of more detailed research,” he said.

Polish archaeologist Robert Grochowski agrees it is much too early to say a Viking once owned this sword. These swords are often referred to as Viking swords, but they were technically created in territories in today’s Germany and traded widely throughout Europe. This could explain why the sword was found in Poland.

“I don’t know where the idea that the sword belonged to a Viking comes from. Without detailed research, this is completely unjustified. It is difficult to say anything more than the fact that it is an early medieval sword,” Grochowski told the Warsaw-based newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

Bronze Age Axes Discovered in Poland

Bronze Age Axes Discovered in Poland

A metal detectorist in Poland has found five Bronze Age axes buried in a forest. Archaeologists suggest that the artifacts may have been used to either chop wood or for cult purposes.

Bronze Age Axes Discovered in Poland
One of the five axes with semicircular blades found in a forest in Poland.

Denis Konkol was exploring a heavily wooded area in Kociewie, a region in northern Poland, when his metal detector started beeping. After digging about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) into the soil, he unearthed the metal tools, according to the Miami Herald.

Officials from the Starogard Forest District announced the “sensational discovery” on Nov. 27 in a translated Facebook post.

Archaeologists analyzed the five axes and estimated that they’re about 3,500 years old, according to a translated article on Science in Poland, a Polish news site.

“These items were quite rare in these lands,” Igor Strzok, the Pomeranian provincial conservator of monuments, told Science in Poland.

Archaeologists also found a 2,000-year-old fibula (a small brooch or pin), which was used to fasten clothing.

Piotr Klimaszewski, head of the Department of Archaeological Monuments, described the items as “Tautušiai type axes” — a tool with a slender neck and semi-circular blade that’s linked to Tautušiai, a village in Lithuania.

The tools were likely used for “chopping wood, cutting or fighting,” officials wrote in the Facebook post.

However, it’s possible that the axes may have been used as part of a “cult practice” or “sacrifice,” Klimaszewski added. But more than likely they were “probably a deposit related to trade,” he told Science in Poland.

In addition to the tools, archaeologists found a 2,000-year-old fibula (a small brooch — not to be confused with the leg bone of the same name) — which was used to fasten clothing, according to the Miami Herald.

Researchers aren’t sure how the artifacts wound up in the forest, adding that further research is required to fully understand their history. But the team added that they “were genuinely amazed at how great condition [the axes] have been preserved.”

Rare cross-shaped reliquary unearthed from medieval knight’s home in Poland

Rare cross-shaped reliquary unearthed from medieval knight’s home in Poland

While surveying the remnants of a medieval knight’s residence in Poland, archaeologists unearthed a plethora of artifacts, including a cross-shaped reliquary.

Rare cross-shaped reliquary unearthed from medieval knight's home in Poland
The cross-shaped medallion, known as an enkolpion, is a symbol of the Christian faith.

Archaeologists originally discovered the knight’s manor in June on the outskirts of Widów, a village in southern Poland.

An initial survey of the site revealed the remnants of a wooden tower that was destroyed but once sat on top of a hill sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries, according to Science in Poland, a news site that is a collaboration between reporters and the Polish government.

Further investigation of the archaeological site revealed the cross-shaped medallion, which is known as an enkolpion (also spelled encolpion and engolpion), which translates to “on the breast” in ancient Greek.

Made of copper alloy, the religious piece was an important symbol worn by Christians on their chests during medieval times and often contained quotations or illustrations from the Christian Bible, according to Science in Poland.

While researchers aren’t sure of the knight’s identity, they do know that enkolpia were part of the vestments, or garments and articles worn by Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic bishops, according to Science in Poland.

In addition to the cross, archaeologists found other military-related items, such as three iron stirrups, part of a horseshoe, crossbow arrows, remnants of cordage, or ropes.

They also unearthed a number of artifacts, some made of clay and some made of iron, that were part of the former residence, including a stove, door fixtures, a padlock and key, nails, hooks, and staples. Several silver coins and the remains of a belt were also found.

The former residence is part of a larger settlement that also contains the remains of a wooden church and a cemetery.

Archaeologists have been exploring the site since the mid-19th century, but much of the outpost has been “destroyed by agricultural activity,” according to Science in Poland.

Neanderthal Stone Tools Discovered in Poland

Neanderthal Stone Tools Discovered in Poland

Neanderthal Stone Tools Discovered in Poland
A knife-type tool.

Archaeologists working in Racibórz have discovered stone products from at least 130,000 years ago. These are the oldest traces of human presence in the foreground of the Moravian Gate and proof that Neanderthals visited this region several times, leaving stone products at the bottom of the river valley.

Archaeological work in the western part of Racibórz, called Studzienna, has been carried out for two years by an international team of archaeologists, geologists, and physicists from the University of Wrocław, the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg, the University of Silesia in Katowice, and the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, in cooperation with the Museum in Racibórz.

‘Our goal was to expose a part of the slope of the old sand pit to collect information about the geological structure and take the necessary samples to determine the age of the sediments using radiometric methods. Quite unexpectedly, we came across stone artefacts, including tools,’ says Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski from the University of Wrocław and head of the Department of Stone Age Archaeology.

The finds point to the important role of the Racibórz Valley and the Moravian Gate area in the maintenance and development of the human population at that time.

The location of the archaeological site.

The stone products discovered at a depth of 10 m below the ground surface were found in sediments deposited in the cold period approximately 130,000 years ago.

It was a time of reconstruction of the natural environment after a long-term, probably bicyclic cooling, during which the Scandinavian ice sheet advanced to the area of the Ostrava Valley. A huge barrier lake was formed in front of the ice sheet. This barrier disappeared only about 140-130,000 years ago, opening the possibility of free movement of people and animals from the south to the northern lowland areas.

Based on the number of finds discovered in systematically explored archaeological excavations, scientists assume that the area of the former sand pit may still hide several dozen thousand products located in at least three layers.

Exploration of river sediments.

‘This is a basis for stating that after a long break caused by extremely unfavourable climatic conditions that prevailed in the period of approximately 160-140 thousand years ago, this area became attractive for people coming from the south,’ the archaeologist says.

The research, financially supported by the National Science Centre as part of the Opus competition, provided examples of semi-raw materials and stone tools, which proves that people in this place engaged in various activities, from preparing weapons to hunting and butchering.

‘It should be noted that, unlike the areas south of Racibórz and the Moravian Gate, where there are no such good siliceous raw materials, in the Odra Valley area there are and were deposits of erratic rocks with the desired properties, located in the area of valley depressions.

However, we believe that the migrations whose traces we discover in Racibórz were also organized for other reasons, namely the need to obtain appropriate food during the annual cycle of migrations of hunters and gatherers,’ says Dr. Wiśniewski.

The unexpected discoveries of stone products also opened a discussion about the patterns used by stone tool makers at that time.

According to the archaeologist, the recent discoveries show that tools with double-sided surfaces, asymmetric in outline, somewhat reminiscent of today’s wide-bladed knives, played a very important role.

The edges of these tools are shaped with a single strike running parallel to the edge. Similar tools are known from only a few archaeological sites from that period, located north of the Carpathians and the Alps. It cannot be ruled out that they were associated with specific activities, e.g. butchering hunted animals.

The dating of a human presence in the area of the find was made in the laboratory of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, more precisely in the Gliwice Absolute Dating Methods Centre, thanks to the use of an innovative technique based on optoluminescence.

Dr. Wiśniewski says that the results are largely due to new methods used during excavations, as well processing the results in the privacy of offices and laboratories. During the search, the sediments are carefully sifted to extract all stone artefacts and archaeological excavations and geological layers are documented with a 3D laser scanner and a series of photos to obtain photogrammetric models. ‘Digital copies’ of historical objects are also made with 3D scanning.

According to archaeologists, the work in Racibórz confirms the need to return to already known places, in this case the river site.

‘Interestingly, this specific path of archaeological searches in river valleys for the oldest manifestations of human presence in the Pleistocene was set at the beginning of research on the Palaeolithic, which took place in France nearly 200 years ago. So it was not the caves, but the open valley sites that opened the discussion on the prehistoric origins of man,’ says Dr. Wiśniewski. (PAP)

2,000-Year-Old Celtic Dice Discovered In Poland

2,000-Year-Old Celtic Dice Discovered In Poland

Archaeologists have been excavating at the Celtic settlement in Samborowice (Silesia) for a significant number of years. This year, a number of intriguing finds were made, and one of the most special ones is a 2,000-year-old dice that is the oldest one found so far in Poland.

2,000-Year-Old Celtic Dice Discovered In Poland
2,000-year-old Celtic dice unearthed in Poland. Dice.

The artifact is a cuboid made of bone or antler. According to Jacek Soida, archaeologist and curator of the Archaeology Department of the Silesian Museum, due to the low probability of rolling the dice so that it lands on either of its two smaller sides, the longer sides were usually marked with higher values (3, 5, 4 and 6).

‘However, there were exceptions to this rule, and in the case of the Samborowice dice, these sides were marked only with the two highest values: 5 and 6. We are not sure whether it was a forgery or the item was used for a game unknown to us today,’ he says.

Similar dice are known primarily from the so-called central settlements in Lower Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia.

“In smaller settlements, like the one in Samborowice, they are rarely discovered. But it is not the first example of a gaming item found in this settlement. A few years ago, we discovered ceramic tokens that were probably used for playing games,” Soida told PAP.

Celts once lived in a few regions of today’s southern Poland, including the Glubczyce plateau near Racibórz (in the southwestern part of the Silesian Voivodeship). They were present there from the turn of the 4th century to the end of the 2nd century BCE.

Soida points out that the work in the Celtic settlement in Samborowice is the only research of this type regularly conducted. ‘

“That is why every year it attracts numerous volunteers from all over Poland and often from other countries such as Czechia, the United States, and the Netherlands.

Celtic culture enthusiasts, who are not always archaeologists but also include lawyers, geologists, artists or employees of large corporations, are not afraid of hard work, and they help explore the settlement with great commitment. And this year, the weather conditions – drought and over thirty-degree heat – were very demanding,” the researcher says.

Another discovery made at the site is a well-preserved iron fibula, a type of decorative clasp for fastening robes. ‘

“Fragments of brooches are often discovered in settlements, but very rarely in such good condition, which makes this find unique. Iron objects that rest on the ground undergo significant destruction over the years due to corrosion. In this case, the brooch fell into the fire in the past, where, as a result of the high temperature, a layer of scale was formed on its surface, protecting the object against harmful corrosion.

Of course, we still need to remove layers of mineral sinters in several places, but there is certainly intact metal underneath”, the archaeologist says.

Field work in Samborowice (Silesia).

Moreover, during this year’s fieldwork, archaeologists discovered two more relics of buildings that were originally dug into the ground (so-called semi-dugouts).

“In such buildings, the Celts conducted various types of craft work, such as weaving, iron and non-ferrous metallurgy, horn-making, and pottery. Discoveries from previous years prove this”, recalls Soida.

Every year, discoveries bring archaeologists more and more answers about the life of the Celts in the area. In recent years, archaeologists found a weaving workshop and relics of a pottery kiln.

“Every discovery, even the smallest animal bone remains or ceramic jewelry fragments, is important to us because collecting all the details allows us to create a complete picture of this community. We hope for further discoveries in the coming years, including relics of further farm buildings,” Soida says.

Archaeologists examine the collected artifacts, and their work is summarized in publications in scientific journals. In the future, the researchers would also like to organize an exhibition.

A 3,500-year-old bronze dagger found in a Polish forest

A 3,500-year-old bronze dagger found in a Polish forest

A rare Bronze Age dagger has been discovered in a forest near Krasnystaw in southeastern Poland. It is in good condition, with no evidence of wear on the edges. It was cast in a lenticular shape with a rib down the center.

A 3,500-year-old bronze dagger found in a Polish forest

The semi-circular base has three rivets on each side to which a handle would have been fastened. The handle, likely made out of wood, is now lost.

The dagger is believed to date to around 1500 B.C. and is the first of its kind found in the area. In fact, it is one of only a dozen or so known to have been found in all of Poland.

It was not of local manufacture but rather arrived in the region with people who inhabited the Danube area in what are now Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia.

It was found by a metal detectorist working with the Wolica historical association under the aegis of the Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments.

They were looking for objects from the World Wars when they came across the dagger in shallow soil just a few centimeters under the surface. They took pictures and recorded the precise location to report the find, but encountered no other archaeological material at the site.

A comparable riveted dagger was discovered near Olsztyn in northern Poland in 2014. It was found in a grave just below the arable surface which, while damaged, was found to contain other valuable goods including a gold hair jewel, bronze wire beads, and glass beads.

The gold and glass were expensive imported items, and the weapon indicates this was the burial of a high-status male.

The grave was classified as one of the Smoszew type, a cemetery characterized by barrows of the Bronze Age Tumulus Culture, ca. 1600-1300 B.C.

Unfortunately, the recently-discovered dagger was not found in its original context, so we don’t know if it was part of the furnishings of a grave.

The dagger is now being analyzed and studied by the Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments.

Archaeologists are exploring the find site for further information about the piece, its age, and how it got there.