Lusatian culture

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Lusatian culture
Geographical rangeCentral Europe
PeriodLate Bronze Age to early Iron Age
Preceded by Urnfield culture, Trzciniec culture
Followed by Pomeranian culture
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Lusatian culture's furthest extent KulturaLuzycka 1.png
  Lusatian culture's furthest extent

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300 BC – 500 BC) in most of what is now Poland and parts of the Czechia, Slovakia, eastern Germany and western Ukraine. It covers the Periods Montelius III (early Lusatian culture) to V of the Northern European chronological scheme.

Contents

There were close contacts with the Nordic Bronze Age. [1] Hallstatt and La Tène influences can also be seen particularly in ornaments (fibulae, pins) and weapons.

Origins

The Lusatian culture developed as the preceding Trzciniec culture experienced influences from the Tumulus culture of the Middle Bronze Age, essentially incorporating the local communities into the socio-political network of Iron Age Europe. [2] It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia. It was followed by the Billendorf culture of the Early Iron Age in the West. In Poland, the Lusatian culture is taken have spanned part of the Iron Age as well (there is only a terminological difference) and was succeeded in Montelius VIIbc in the northern ranges around the mouth of Vistula by the Pomeranian culture spreading south.

'Lusatian-type' burials were first described by the German pathologist and archaeologist Rudolf Virchow (1821–1902). The name refers to the Lusatia area in eastern Germany (Brandenburg and Saxony) and western Poland. Virchow identified the pottery artifacts as 'pre-Germanic' but refused to speculate on the ethnic identity of their makers.[ citation needed ] The Polish archeologist Józef Kostrzewski, who started in 1934 to conduct extensive excavations of a Lusatian settlement of Biskupin, hypothesised that the Lusatian culture was a predecessor of later cultures that belonged to the early Slavs. [3] Modern archeologists, such as Kazimierz Godłowski and Piotr Kaczanowski, hold the view that the ethnic geography of Bronze Age Central Europe then included peoples whose languages and ethnic identity are simply unknown. [4] [5]

Culture

Cult wagon, Lusatian culture ALB - Kultwagen.jpg
Cult wagon, Lusatian culture
Reconstructed Biskupin (Poland) Biskupin - gate and wall.jpg
Reconstructed Biskupin (Poland)
Reconstruction of a Lusatian culture house Rezerwat archeologiczny Biskupin (12).jpg
Reconstruction of a Lusatian culture house

Burial was by cremation; inhumations are rare. The urn is usually accompanied by numerous (up to 40) secondary vessels. Metal grave gifts are sparse, but there are numerous hoards (such as Kopaniewo, Pomerania) that contain rich metalwork, both bronze and gold (hoard of Eberswalde, Brandenburg). Graves containing moulds, like at Bataune, Saxony and tuyeres, attest to the production of bronze tools and weapons at the village level. The 'royal' tomb of Seddin, Brandenburg, Germany, covered by a large earthen barrow, contained Mediterranean imports like bronze vessels and glass beads. Cemeteries can be quite large and contain thousands of graves.

Well-known settlements include Biskupin, in Poland, and Buch, near Berlin. There are both open villages and fortified settlements (burgwall or grod) on hilltops or in swampy areas. The ramparts were constructed of wooden boxes filled with soil or stones.

Its economy was mainly based on arable agriculture, as is attested by numerous storage pits. Wheat (emmer) and six-row barley formed the basic crops, together with millet, rye and oats, peas, broad beans, lentils, and gold of pleasure (Camelina sativa). Flax was grown, and remains of domesticated apples, pears and plums have been found. Cattle and pigs were the most important domestic animals, followed by sheep, goats, horses and dogs. Pictures on Iron Age urns from Silesia attest horse riding, but horses were used to draw chariots as well. Hunting was practiced, as bones of red and roe deer, boar, bison, elk, hare, fox, and wolf attest, but it did not provide much of the meat consumed. The numerous frog bones found at Biskupin may indicate that frogs' legs were eaten as well.

Hoards in swampy areas are considered by some archaeologists (Hänsel) as 'gifts for the Gods'. Human bones in 5 m deep sacrificial pits in Lossow (Brandenburg) might point to human sacrifice and possible ritual cannibalism [ citation needed ].

See also

Related Research Articles

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Upper Lusatia

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Thraco-Cimmerian Historiographical and archaeological term

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Bronze Age Europe Archeological age, 3200-600 BC. Succeeds Neolithic

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Elp culture Archaeological culture

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In Europe, the Iron Age is the last stage of the prehistoric period and the first of the protohistoric periods, which initially means descriptions of a particular area by Greek and Roman writers. For much of Europe, the period came to an abrupt local end after conquest by the Romans, though ironworking remained the dominant technology until recent times. Elsewhere it may last until the early centuries AD, and either Christianization or a new conquest in the Migration Period.

Bronze- and Iron-Age Poland

The Bronze and Iron Age cultures in Poland are known mainly from archeological research. Early Bronze Age cultures in Poland began around 2300–2400 BCE, while the Iron Age commenced in approximately 700–750 BCE. The Iron Age archeological cultures no longer existed by the start of the Common Era. The subject of the ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of the groups living in Central Europe at that time is, given the absence of written records, speculative, and accordingly there is considerable disagreement. In Poland the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became particularly prominent. The most famous archeological finding from that period is the Biskupin fortified settlement (gord) on the lake from which it takes its name, representing the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age.

House Urns culture

The House Urns culture was an early Iron Age culture of the 7th century BC in central Germany, in the Region between Harz Mountains and the junction of river Saale to river Elbe. It was the western periphery of the bronze and Iron Age Lusatian culture.

Early history of Pomerania

After the glaciers of the Ice Age in the Early Stone Age withdrew from the area, which since about 1000 AD is called Pomerania, in what are now northern Germany and Poland, they left a tundra. First humans appeared, hunting reindeer in the summer. A climate change in 8000 BC allowed hunters and foragers of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture to continuously inhabit the area. These people became influenced by farmers of the Linear Pottery culture who settled in southern Pomerania. The hunters of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture became farmers of the Funnelbeaker culture in 3000 BC. The Havelland culture dominated in the Uckermark from 2500 to 2000 BC. In 2400 BC, the Corded Ware culture reached Pomerania and introduced the domestic horse. Both Linear Pottery and Corded Ware culture have been associated with Indo-Europeans. Except for Western Pomerania, the Funnelbeaker culture was replaced by the Globular Amphora culture a thousand years later.

References

  1. Kaliff, Anders . 2001. Gothic Connections. Contacts between eastern Scandinavia and the southern Baltic coast 1000 BC – 500 AD. Occasional Papers in Archaeology 26. Uppsala., OPIA 26 - Uppsala University
  2. (Dolukhanov 1996:113)
  3. Józef Kostrzewski, Od mezolitu do okresu wędrówek ludów, Prehistoria ziem polskich, Kraków 1939.
  4. Kazimierz Godłowski, Z badań nad zagadnieniem rozprzestrzeniania Słowian w V–VII w. n.e.
  5. Piotr Kaczanowski, Epoka brązu – pomiędzy centrami cywilizacyjnymi Bałkanów i Alp a Skandynawią [w:] Wielka historia Polski, t. I, Fogra, Kraków 2003, s. 170.

Further reading