Unusual burial site that were used by two distinct cultures in two historical eras separated by a thousand years have been discovered in Poland.
The Lusatian culture’s inhabitants are thought to have built the mounds about three thousand years ago. The first Goths that arrive in the area a thousand years later also used the same location as a burial ground.
The site was discovered after a couple in Koszalin, Poland, asked the local museum to investigate the forest next to their land in the village of Rekowo.
The couple was particularly intrigued by the unusual hill-like formations in the forest. “They urged me to see them. They were right – there were burial mounds. I counted at least 14 of them. When I looked at the digital terrain model, also known as LIDAR, it turned out that there are another 14 right next to it.” said Andrzej Kasprzak, the archaeologist who led the excavation on behalf of the museum. “This is perhaps not the largest concentration of this type of construction…but there are very few places where we have recorded 30 mounds.”
Kasprzak told Gazeta Wyborcza that, the burial site was most likely built around 700 BC, a view supported by grave constructions and pottery fragments discovered nearby. He believes it was created by people of the Lusatian civilisation who lived in this section of what is now Poland at the time.
Kasprzak believes that the first Goths to arrive in the area saw the visible burial mounds and decided to utilize them as well, nearly a thousand years after they were built. They buried their tombs into the existing embankment, which they then filled, increasing its height and diameter.
The majority of what is now Poland, as well as portions of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, eastern Germany, and western Ukraine, were all home to the Lusatian culture between the late Bronze and early Iron Ages (1300–500 bce). It encompasses the Northern European chronological scheme’s Periods Montelius III (early Lusatian civilisation) through V. It has ties to or associations with the Nordic Bronze Age.
And the Goths were a Germanic people who played an important role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of medieval Europe. A people called Gutones (probably early Goths) are documented to have lived in the 1st century near the lower Vistula River (the longest river in Poland), where they are associated with the archaeological Wielbark culture.
Kasprzak also said that some of the graves buried in the mound had already been excavated. The team from the Koszalin Museum realized that they were not the first to discover the site. It is unknown whether it was done as part of a ceremony or for robbery.
One of the disturbed tombs had been recently dug up because it had a sizable hole in the middle when it was found. The team discovered pottery fragments in this specific tomb that were judged to be contemporaneous with the embankment under investigation.
According to a local resident, after World War II, people frequently conducted “pinnings” in the Rekowo area, which involves poking the ground with metal rods to look for items that had been stowed away during the conflict. The freshly disturbed grave may have been pinned during the post-World War II era, according to those who are working on the site.
The crew was aided by local volunteers during the lengthy archaeological effort, which started in July and lasted several weeks. For the time being, the excavation is finished, and the mound has been rebuilt, covered in thick foil, and filled in.
“Next year, we’ll revisit what we’ve been researching now and begin exploring the final remaining quarter. I can’t wait. I would like to finish the study of this mound, and perhaps identify one more smaller embankment and a flat section of the site.” said Kasprzak.