Have you ever held a 1500-year-old clay rattle in your hand? It makes a soft sound when you shake it. There is something inside and it still rattles, just like it did then – 1500 years ago. Was it lost by a careless child playing near the cave? Did it play a role in some forgotten rituals? Or perhaps it was deposited as an offering in a grave? This story will be about a clay rattle.
During the current excavation season in Old Dongola (Sudan), an expedition of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, headed by Dr. Artur Obłuski, came across an unexpected find: architectural elements from a Pharaonic temple.
When we were looking for forgotten sites in the Sąspowska Valley, we came across an unexpected discovery which, properly understood, became evidence for the popularity of Ojców as a resort in the 20th century. Here is the story of how an accidental discovery of written messages and graffiti in the walls of Złodziejska Cave made us follow tourists’ traces in caves.
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.
Artefacts, as well as their shapes and dimensions were what counted in the past. Today the context of their discovery is the most important thing. Without the context, the archaeologist is like an illiterate person given a book.
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.
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)…
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.
When bioarchaeologists excavate human remains, they are sometimes faced with burials that can be somewhat complicated. A ‘perfect’ burial for bioarchaeological analyses would contain a complete set of bones that are well preserved. Some archaeological sites, however, are of such great significance that we even work with poorly preserved and incomplete burials, using unconventional methods that allow us to overcome these preservation limitations. This was proven by our research team whilst studying the Bronze Age cemetery of Deh Dumen, located in the Zagros Mountains in Iran.
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.