When hunter met farmer in prehistoric Poland
|Site in Dąbki during exploration [Credit: J. Kabaciński]|
"In the settlement layers we also found fragments of about 70 pottery pieces attributed to a variety Neolithic agricultural archaeological cultures, such as the Funnel Beaker and Lengyel culture, but also vessels imported from the Hungarian Plain, a distance of over 1000 km (so-called Bodrogkeresztúr culture). Yet the most important thing we were able to establish was the fact that the community that owned these vessels having did not grow crops or breed animals" - said Prof. Kabaciński.
Dąbki are a unique archaeological site. In the area of the southern Baltic coasts this is the only known Mesolithic settlement with such accumulation of artefacts belonging to the farmers from central and southern Europe. Therefore, archaeologists had to approach to the analysis of discovered historical objects with great caution.
"We believe that Mesolithic hunters-gatherers, the people inhabiting these areas 7-6 thousand years ago, carried out an extensive exchange of goods with farmers arriving in northern Europe" - said Prof. Kabaciński.
Research on the archaeological site in Dąbki provides insight into the changes taking place in the period of the end of the absorbtion economy and the beginning of the productive economy. Dąbki, according to archaeologists, was the place where communities with very different cultural and economic traditions came into contact.
|Vessel fragment from Hungary [Credit: A. Czekaj-Zastawny]|
"This colonisation, however, did not cover the lowlands of northern Europe and the Baltic Sea region, still inhabited by groups practicing economy based on gathering and hunting. It was not until the middle of the fourth millennium BC, when farmers appeared in these areas, so the Dąbki site is an extraordinary mystery" - said the archaeologist .
The first farmers in today's Poland settled in the areas where they found fertile soil, including the area of Kujawy from mid sixth millennium BC. According to the researchers, that was where many of the vessels discovered in Dąbki were made.
The researchers emphasise that the discovered vessels are very well made. "This is high quality thin-walled pottery. Interestingly, some of the products also come from areas west of the Oder" - said Dr. Agnieszka Czekaj-Zastawny, the project archaeologist working on ceramic imports.
"Dąbki is undoubtedly the place of large scale exchange of goods. People probably arrived there from distant parts, crossing distances of few hundred kilometres. Or was it the result of expeditions of local communities. It is difficult to clearly determine" - said Prof. Kabaciński . However, vessels coming from the area of present-day Hungary are probably the result of the work of intermediaries, since it is difficult to believe that the inhabitants of that area ventured this far.
People of Dąbki probably offered farmers antler products, furs, objects made of bone and amber. The design of some of the objects found on Neolithic sites allows to believe that this assumption is correct.
The current results of the international team have been published in the Journal of Field Archaeology Vol. 38, 2013
Author: Szymon Zdzieblowski | Source: PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland [November 18, 2013]