Reed in Prehistoric European Archery? Remarkable Findings by Polish Scientists

Research on the potential use of common reed in the production of arrows in European prehistory has attracted considerable interest following the discovery of a particular  type of object dating back to the late Neolithic period (approximately 4500 years ago), found in the northeastern regions of Poland. Such objects, commonly interpreted as reed arrowshaft straighteners, have encouraged researchers to conduct in-depth analysis investigating the potential use of this raw material in prehistoric archery. To verify the properties of reed stems for arrow production and to understand the motives behind the manufacture and use of the reed arrows, a series of mechanical and experimental analyses were conducted. The results of the research undertaken by scholars from the University of Warsaw, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, and the Polish Academy of Sciences Museum of the Earth have recently been published in the „Archaeometry” journal.

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Invisible traces of human presence. Stories from Polish caves

Caves have been an object of human fascination since the dawn of time. These mysterious, closed spaces served various functions in the past – from temporary shelters or flint workshops to places of burial or worship. Human history is recorded here in long stratigraphic sequences, with each layer being a part of a long-forgotten story. We try to read these stories and reconstruct the lives of ancient people. Usually, we use for this purpose artefacts: objects left or lost by the former inhabitants of the caves or by people visiting them. Sometimes our reconstruction is not clear – there are too few objects or they are too well hidden. However, every human activity leaves behind something more than artefacts. It leaves behind chemical traces. We just need to learn to read them properly.

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The lecture about Pre-Pottery Neolithic communities

The Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Warsaw will organize the lecture by Professor Ian Kuijt (Dept of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame) titled “Social abstraction, egalitarianism, and Pre-Pottery Neolithic communities: Reconsidering the evolution of the world’s first villages“. It is scheduled for 13th October, 11:30-13:00, room 212 in the building of the Faculty, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa. The lecture will be available also online; to receive the link please contact Aldona Mueller Bieniek (a.muellerbie@uw.edu.pl).

Reconsidering the evolution of the world’s first villages

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The Story of a Little Rodent in a Changing World

The summer of 9,750 BC (or 11,700 years before present) was warmer and rainier than usual in the area of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. At sunset, a solitary narrow-headed vole was walking across the hills, down to the Sąspow River and up to the highlands, in search of its favourite food to store for the winter, mainly shoots of grasses and sedges, every year more and more scarce and harder to find due to the advance of the forest. These were times of changes: only a few decades before, his great-grandparents were living in a suitable tundra environment with all the necessities: enough food in the summer, enough snow and ice in the winter to store their favourite grass seeds; in all the valleys were plenty of voles of his kind. Now all had changed. The solitary rodent was starving; he was the last of his kind in southern Poland. All his “family” moved northwards a long time ago because of global warming and the advance of the great forest.

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Mysteries of Koziarnia Cave. Part two – puzzle solved

The excavations in Koziarnia Cave were a bit of an earthquake. Seriously. The seismograph working continuously deeper in the cave recorded each hit of the rock pick. Geophysicists paid the price so that we, archaeologists, could eventually reveal the mysteries of Koziarnia Cave.

The inside of Koziarnia Cave during excavations in 2017. Note the mist appearing in the in the cave on hot summer days
© M. Kot, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence

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Mysteries of Koziarnia Cave. Part one – turbulent history of the cave

This cave used to be a dwelling for the Neanderthals, a dance floor and a bowling club. In the past it was inhabited by humans and cave bears in turns. At some other time there was a pen for livestock. Hence the name – Koziarnia (goat barn)…

View of the entrance to Koziarnia Cave
© M. Bogacki, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence

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International Summer School ‘Wolin/Jómsborg: a meeting point of Slavs and Scandinavians in the Middle Ages.’

The International Summer School ‘Wolin/Jómsborg: a meeting point of Slavs and Scandinavians in the Middle Ages’ will be held from 16th July to 30 July 2023 in Wolin, Poland, at the Andrzej Kaube Regional Museum, the Centre for Medieval Archaeology of the Baltic Region, and the Slavs and Vikings’ Centre.

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New discoveries at the royal necropolis in Castillo de Huarmey

New discoveries in Castillo de Huarmey confirm the previous assumptions of Polish archaeologists about the importance of the royal tomb in Castillo de Huarmey, Peru. The site studied by scientists from the University of Warsaw served as the final resting place for elite members of the Wari Empire. The most eminent craftsmen and artists serving at the royal court of Wari were also among the few of those who could be buried at the royal necropolis in Castillo de Huarmey.

The Gallery of Elite Craftsmen found in 2022 was located just beneath royal mausoleum of Castillo de Huarmey, discovered 10 years before.
© M. Giersz, under CC BY-SA 4.0 licence

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