An ancient place of worship in a Masurian lake

Hundreds of unique gold and silver ornaments from the 3rd-4th century., armaments and even fragments of a glass vessel made from sand extracted from the bottom of a stream flowing in Israel were discovered by archaeologists during years of excavations at the bottom of a former lake in Czaszkow. In their view, it is a manifestation of ancient rituals.

Middle of the night. On the lake, burning rafts can be seen – on them shine in the playing flames swords, javelins and ornaments made of precious bullionow. On the edge of the warrior groupow raises prayers to the godoin – this is how one can imagine the circumstances of depositing several hundred priceless objectsoin the bottom of Lake Nidajno in the Mazurian Lake District.

Depositing weapons and valuables in swamps and bodies of water was a typical ancient custom of Germanow – known mainlyoin the areaoin southern Scandinavia – argues in an interview with PAP Dr. Tomasz Nowakiewicz of the Institute of Archeology at Warsaw University, whoory conducts excavations in Czaszkow. Archaeologists expected to find traces of similar practices in Poland in Pomerania. This also happened in Lubanowo. Earlier discoveries from the area were made haphazardly and the researchers do not have full documentation of them, so they are not reliable for them.

– In the case of Pomerania, similar traces can be explained more easily, since these lands were inhabited in theot the time by Germanow, but oEarly Masuria was settled by the Balticsow. Therefore, the discovery of such a form of ritual surprised us very much,” Nowakiewicz tells PAP.

The Baltics were a people inhabiting the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Their current representatives are the Lithuanians and Latvians (and until the Middle Ages they were also Prussians – in antiquity called Estia). They were known to the Romans – their presence was recorded in the sourceoWritten records of theonotably because they supplied Italy with precious amber. Within a radius of several tens of kilometersoFrom Czaszkow archaeologists have so far discovered many sites – settlements and cemeteries, used by the Baltsoin the 1st half of the. I millennium n.e. There is no doubt that the Mragowo Lake District was in theoa time flourishing land – persuade scientists.

– We are sure that the weapons ended up in the water not as a result of military action, because they were ritually destroyed – burned, cut, broken and bent – similar practices are known from similar ceremonial sites in Scandinavia – convinces wspoThe excavations in Czaszków were led by Dr. Aleksandra Rzeszotarska-Nowakiewicz from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The valuables were thrown into the water from the shore of the lake or placed on rafts floated on the water, ktore probably set on fire – oprocz numerous relicsow of metal archaeologists have discovered many fragments of theoin worked wood. In their estimation, they were zaron the past by the Germans, as well as rafts.

The experts made a detailedohe analysis of the discovered relicsow. It is known that the ornaments were made of top-quality bullion from a single deposit. The researchers emphasize that oEarly people often produced metal objects from melted down raw material, i.e. from bullionow dating back to the roThe spearheads of theodels.

Researchers managed to trace the origin of the fragmentoin a glass cup, whichoryoalso found in the lake over polt. 1,000 years ago: it was made of glass smelted from sand from the bottom of the Na’aman flowing near Akka in Israel!

Researchers point out that many monumentsoin metal is absolutely unique. Amongrod them are made of silver or gold belt applicationsow, buckles and elements of battle guttering. According to expertsoin the style of their workmanship are visible influences not only of classical Roman art, but also of barbarian (Central European) and nomadic (Sarmatian) art. These objects are decorated with images of animals – lionow, dolphinow, chimeras, but roAlso vines. There is also a figurine of a vulture.

Amongod weapons were discovered caves włoczni, fragments of double-edged swords and chainmail.

The ceremony, during whichowhere precious objects were deposited in the water was probably exercised by the warriorow – as evidenced by elite objects. – In this wayob oearly thank bocreatures for their wartime advantages,” says Dr. Nowakiewicz of the.

Archaeologists began excavations at Czaszkow in 2010. The work had to be halted after three seasons, as the researchers were surprised by the enormity of the finds – proper conservation was required, ktora has consumed considerable resources. However, the research will continue – archaeologists will drill boreholes, thanks to which theohe excavations will give them an insight into the natural environment from before the pothousand years.

The results of the expert analysis to date have just been published in the book "An ancient sacrificial site in the former Lake Nidajno in Masuria. The results of laboratory studies of selected monumentsow", published by the Friends Foundationoł of the Institute of Archaeology of the UW and the Institute of Archaeology of the UW as part of a new series entitled „Sacrificial deposits from Polish swamps and lakes”.

At the same time, the second volume was published "Ancient sacrificial site in the lake in Lubanow (d. Herrn-See) in Western Pomerania" – concerning the place whereorym at the beginning of our era roAlso in the mannerob ritual weapons were deposited in the water, elements of the horse row, and nearby valuable objects imported from the Roman world. Both of these sites (Lubanowo and Czaszkowo) are the only archaeological sites in Poland where theohe discovered traces of cult practices are being studied in cooperation with the European Space Agencyomodern excavation methods – convince scientists. The volumes were published thanks to funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Promotion of both books will take place at. 14.00 on Friday, March 24, at the headquarters of the Institute of Archeology of the UW (the School of Headowna – room 210) in Warsaw.