About 200 metal objects, including a gilded spur and women’s ornaments, were discovered by archaeologists in Poniatach Wielkie in the 11th / 12th – 13th century settlement. The application showing the face is unique – similar objects are known from the Eurasian border area – researchers believe.
During the research conducted in 2019 and 2020, it was possible to discover the economic part of the medieval settlement from the 11th / 12th – 13th centuries. Archaeologists found the remains of a furnace, utility pits, hearths and wells. In them they found surprisingly numerous metal and ceramic objects. – Such a wealth of them is rarely found in the area of open settlements from this period, in this part of Mazovia and beyond. The more valuable monuments are rather found within the castle, said Jakub Affelski, the head of the excavation research.
This year, the researchers’ attention was drawn to two items: a lead plate with a face motif and a decorative application made of copper alloy, also in the shape of a face. According to Affelski, the lead monument is perhaps an unusual seal. On the other hand, the appliqué could be used as an ornament for clothing, for example a belt, as indicated by the mounting holes. Its precise design is noticeable – the ears are visible, the eyes, beard and hair are clearly marked. Affelski, after consulting experts from the Polish Academy of Sciences, estimates that this subject is similar to those known from the Eero-Asiatic borderland, where nomadic tribes lived. These and other monuments are to be subjected to detailed analyzes to shed light on their origin.
An encolpion is also an unusual find. It is a capsule worn on the chest by Christians, containing relics or quotations from the Holy Bible.
Despite the fact that the settlement was situated within the borders of the then Polish lands, many monuments that have been discovered there so far come from the eastern territories, including in Rus, the discoverers point out.
According to Affelski, the settlement in Poniaty Wielkie could play several roles: perhaps it was a metallurgical center that produced items for nearby castles in Nasielsk and Pułtusk. This is evidenced by the found fragments of slags and metal semi-finished products. In turn, numerous metal seals indicate that it was used for large-scale trade. It is unclear for researchers why there are so many metal objects left in the settlement, which were highly valued at the time. – There is no indication that its end was brought by the invasion – we found no evidence of armed aggression. It is still a big puzzle for us – he concludes.
This year’s research was financed by the Masovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments. All the monuments will go to the Regional Museum in Pułtusk, where they will be shown to visitors.
Main photo source: Archaeological and Conservation Studio Szpila Jakub Affelski