Wczesnośredniowieczna osada w Zawadzie, stan.1., gm. Zielona Góra. Studia interdyscyplinarne
Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN, Ośrodek Studiów Pradziejowych i Średniowiecznych
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The studied settlement is situated about 3 km south of Zawada village, on the right side of an old road leading from Zielona Góra to Sulechów. It is located on the Odra floodplain, on a small elevation on the right bank of the Zimny Potok, the river which in this section of Warsaw-Berlin ice-marginal valley (the middle Odra valley) is a major left-bank tributary of the Odra, flowing parallel to it at a distance of about 3-6 km. The site was discovered in 1960 by Edward Dąbrowski, who then carried out preliminary archaeological research in this area. In 1966, the settlement at Zawada was listed into the register of historical monuments of Zielonogórskie Province as an early medieval stronghold dated broadly to the 8th-12th centuries. In 1992, from the 6th of July to the 7th of August, planned archaeological excavations directed by Marlena Magda and Sławomir Kałagate were conducted at the site. The investigations were funded by the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments, and their main goal was to obtain more precise data on the chronology and to verify some previous assumptions concerning the settlement. The need to carry out excavations at Zawada was additionally justified by progressive destruction of the site caused by agricultural work. The research involved the exploration of two excavation units and one sondage, covering in total approximately 3.5 ares. Within this area 15 early medieval features and 3 concentrations of prehistoric pottery were unearthed. Based on geomorphologic and geologic analyses, several conclusions can be drawn regarding the use of natural environment in the surroundings of Zawada site. Firstly, the situation of the settlement in this place allowed easy access to water. Furthermore, swampy valley of the Zimny Potok and its tributaries made the region difficult to reach and gave it natural defensive qualities despite flat and not very diverse floodplain terrain. During spring thaws the whole valley of the river and its tributaries became flooded except for the elevation at which the settlement was located. Mud and silt soils occurring in the area are classified as fertile, but their cultivation requires heavy equipment and appropriate agronomic treatments, and therefore it is unlikely that they were used for agriculture in the Early Middle Ages. Lush vegetation growing on a partly marshy floodplain of the Odra (1-2 meters above the level of the river) facilitated grazing and animal husbandry, as well as hunting (in areas covered with forests). Additionally, the direct vicinity of the Odra enabled economic use of the river (e.g. fishing). The research involved also assessing the ways in which land may have been used by the inhabitants of Zawada, site 1 and two nearby settlements: Klenica, site 4 and Sulechów, site 28. For this purpose, soil-agricultural maps at a scale of 1 : 5000 were digitized and then respective areas were combined into classes according to the usability of soils. The analysed area encompassed a radius measured by a distance of about 30-minute walk from a given site. The above investigation has shown that soil quality largely determined the ways in which the inhabitants of the abovementioned settlements used their immediate environment. In the case of Zawada the results are distinctly clear as compared to two other sites. They have shown that agriculture could not be the main branch of economy of Zawada inhabitants, as 93% (11.506 km2) of the surrounding land is covered by muck and mud soils, which are fertile but difficult to cultivate, and additionally require melioration (for the remaining 7% of land we have no data regarding soils). Hence, most likely they were not used for agriculture in the Early Middle Ages. At that period the area was covered mostly by riverine forests, and in terms of soils it was perfectly suitable for animal husbandry and hunting, as well as horticulture. Similar results were obtained for the surroundings of Klenica site, where prevail soils of class 2 (91% - 10.284 km2), followed by class 0 (6% - 0.666 km2), with a small proportion of class 1 (2% - 0.277 km2). It seems that also in this area land cultivation was not the main occupation or basic means of obtaining food. Completely different situation was recorded in the vicinity of Sulechów site where respective classes of soils occur in more balanced proportions: class 1 – 25% (2.518 km2), class 3 – 28% (2.870 km2), with a relatively large area of soils of class 2 – 46% (4.653 km2). This allows us to assume that the inhabitants of Sulechów settlement may have practised varied economies. Similar conclusions regarding possible ways of land use in the immediate surroundings of the three study sites can be drawn from the results of archaeozoological analyses. Osteological material from Zawada is characterised by a very high percentage of bones of wild animals (43%). This, together with the results of palynological analyses attesting the occurrence of forests in the area of the Odra valley, points clearly towards hunting and animal husbandry as the main branches of economy of the settlement inhabitants. As regards Klenica, bones of wild animals constitute 12% of the osteological material. The fraction of remains of wild animals recorded at Sulechów is still lower, reaching only about 10%, half of which are the bones of hare, the animal not present at other sites (Zawada, site 1, Klenica, site 3, or Nowiniec, site 2). In the assemblage of faunal remains from Sulechów prevailed cattle (about 50% of identified bones), followed by sheep/goat (21%) and pig bones (less than 20%). Proportions of the remains of wild to domesticated animals can serve as a measure of the degree of forestation in the study areas. They suggest that the environment surrounding Sulechów was poorer in forests than the land in the vicinity of Klenica and Zawada sites. The same conclusions can be drawn on the basis of quality and types of soils occurring in the region. However, according to palynological analyses the land surrounding Sulechów settlement was not intensively cultivated. High percentage (over 70%) of the remains of cattle and small ruminants identified in the material from the site indicates that most likely the land was used for pastures. The results of the above investigations have proven that the quality and type of soils largely determined the ways in which the inhabitants of the examined settlements used their immediate environment. In the case of sites located on soils unsuitable for agriculture (e.g. Zawada, site 1), additionally surrounded by forests, the primary sources of obtaining food were hunting and animal husbandry, while in the case of sites situated on soils of better quality (Sulechów, site 28) prevailed animal husbandry and perhaps cultivation of land. Numerous artifacts discovered during the research include items made of clay (fragments of vessels, spindle whorls, fragments of grain-roasters), stone (mainly whetstones), bone (awls, a socket of a knife hilt), and metal (knives, a clasp of a necklace). Most of them were produced within the settlement by its inhabitants. In the assemblage of vessels unearthed at Zawada site prevailed those of Tornow type, with plastic decorative bands in the upper part of the body (over 50% of recorded fragments were ornamented). Numerous were also undecorated vessels (over 30% of all pottery shards). A large group of ceramics was represented by vessels finished on a slow wheel, with encircling decoration of incised grooves accompanied in some respects by punctured ornament. Ceramic ware recorded during excavations at Zawada included, apart from pots, numerous plates (93 fragments) and few elements of grain-roasters. Some of the vessels were made with the technique of coiling of 3.5-4.5 cm wide clay strips, and then finished in part on a slow wheel. Their walls and breaks bear numerous traces indicating the way of coiling. Other clay artefacts recorded at the site included 5 spindle whorls and several pieces of construction daub with imprints of small pegs. The investigations concerning chronology of Zawada settlement were based mainly on formal and stylistic analogies regarding pottery fragments. Many similarities can be observed in the material from well-dated settlements at Klenica, site 3 and 4 and Nowiniec, site 2. Helpful in determining chronology were also radiocarbon dates. In the result, two phases of the settlement have been distinguished: the first one dates from the second half of 9th century to the 10/11th centuries, and the second one from the 11th century to the first half of the 12th century. It has not been fully explained whether the settlement had been abandoned at the end of the 10th century and settled again decades later, or whether its development continued uninterrupted. The publication is the result of cooperation between several specialists of different fields. It comprises thirteen chapters. The first two deal with issues regarding the reconstruction of original environment and examining environmental conditions that may have influenced the selection the settlement location. The following chapters present the results of analyses of archaeological material discovered during the excavations. Further are described issues associated with the dating of Zawada settlement. Final chapters describe the results of analyses of the early medieval pottery. All the above investigations have allowed us to formulate conclusions about the economy of this early medieval settlement, its significance, and its place within a broader settlement system. The study was published with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, under the program of Protection of Archaeological Heritage, priority 5.
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