Poland Prehistory

By | December 30, 2021

Paleolithic. – The oldest vestiges of man are represented in Poland by the Acheuléan industry of the Ciemna cave in Ojców and that of Okiennik. The first has a local character (so-called Prądnik industry, studied by S. Krukowski), the second comes close to the culture of La Micoque. Mousterian deposits, rare in Poland, have been recognized in the Ciemna cave in Ojców and in Marjanówka in Volhynia; on the other hand, there are many of the Aurignacian culture, mostly encountered in the löss, more rarely in caves. The cave of the Bats in Jerzmanów already demonstrates the evident influence of the solutréana industry. Classical deposits of the lower Magdalenian industry provided the Maszycka cave, in the vicinity of Ojców, among other things a command stick. Sviderian and Pludian (from Pludy) with pedunculated arrowheads as the main form, while in the southern part of Poland we meet at the same time with a local industry called mnikoviana (from Mników).

Mesolithic. – In the late period of the Ancylus, a population of hunters of the late Nenoisian culture appears in Poland, occupying almost the whole country; only in the northern part does a population of fishermen of the Kunda culture live alongside it, who mainly use horn and bone tools and weapons. In the period of the Litorina, the Campania culture appears in southern and north-eastern Poland.

Neolithic. – In the second period of the Neolithic period, the most ancient culture of ceramics with spiral and meander decorations entered Poland from Moravia; in the III and IV periods more recent groups of this culture develop (dotted pottery, that of Lengyel, pottery with radial ornamentation, painted pottery from South Moravia; see Danubian, civilization). In period III, coming from Denmark, the culture of funnel-necked cups appears, and from central Germany that of spherical amphorae; in the IV period comes the prefinnic culture, developed in central Russia and insinuated itself as far as western Poland, while the Transylvanian and Ukrainian culture of painted pottery penetrated into Poland from the south-east, occupying part of eastern Little Poland. At the same time the culture of string pottery appears, creating several local groups in Poland. Towards the end of the Neolithic, the culture of the bell-shaped glass appears from Moravia. Almost all of these cultures already possess copper.

Eià of the bronze (1800-700 BC). – In the first period, the south-western part of Poland is occupied by the culture of Unĕtice, the north-western part by the culture of stone box tombs, the Kuyavian and the land of Chełmno by the culture of Iwno, born under a strong influence of the culture of the bell glass. In the rest of Poland, bronze is still rare. In period II the culture of Unĕtice is transformed into a prelusatian culture, occupying western Poland up to Noteć. In the III period of the Bronze Age, the Lusatian culture was born from the prelusatian culture, reaching as far as the Baltic and soon spreading towards the east. Meanwhile the Lusatian ashlar pottery, typical for the III period, only sporadically arrives in central Poland, on the other hand we already encounter in Podlasia and western Volhynia the Lusatian pottery with oblique grooves characteristic of the IV period, and at the same time towards the north the Lusatian culture spreads beyond the Polish border, in the interior of East Prussia. The population of Lusatian culture burned their dead, burying the ashes first in mounds, later in pits on the country level; it produced a series of characteristic bronze ornaments and tools, maintaining lively relations with various countries. The Lusatian group of Pomerania is under a strong influence of the advanced metal industry of the Nordic culture. In eastern Little Poland there is perhaps a Thracian population that is strongly influenced by the Hungarian-Romanian bronze culture and less sensitive Ukrainian influences. For Poland history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.

Iron Age. – First period. – The Lusatian culture reaches the peak of its development in the early Iron period (700-400 BC) under the influence of strong pressures from the middle Danube, the eastern Alps and northern Italy. Colored ornamentation and encrustation appear in the pottery. The population of Lusatian culture penetrates as far as eastern Little Poland, where it mixes with the Thracian population, creating the Wysocko culture. The most beautiful remnant of Thracian culture are two gold treasures, found in Michałków in the Borszczów district. A small strip of eastern Little Poland occupied the Scythian population in the early Iron Age, who buried their dead in mounds. In Pomerania on the margin between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age the culture of human-faced urns is formed, developed by a local group of the Lusatian culture. A typical form of sepulcher is the box of stone slabs. If we consider the Lusatian culture as a Balto-Slavic culture, we must ascribe the culture of human-faced urns as belonging to some Baltic population. During the early Iron period and the La Tène I-II period, this culture conquers most of the regions of Lusatian culture, which defends itself from the invaders in the castles and in the stations on marshes and stilts. Another Baltic population can be distinguished in northeastern Poland, where a different culture arose at the beginning of the Iron Age, which until now is known only from stations and closets of bronze objects.

La Tène period (4th century BC – 1st century BC). – In the sec. IV a. C. penetrates a Celtic population from Moravia into the region of Silesia and western Lesser Poland. Very strong Celtic influences, in the form of metal products, demonstrates, upon its appearance towards the middle of the century. II, the culture of pit tombs (without urns), which most archaeologists attribute to the invading Germanic peoples of Jütland and the island of Bornholm, but which in ceramics and funeral rites shows an express connection with the Lusatian culture.

Roman period (I d. C.-IV d. C.). – The place of Celtic influences occupied in the Roman period by influences from Italy and the Roman provinces of the lower Rhine and the central Danube. Towards the time of Christ’s birth, a Germanic population from Scandinavia appears at the mouth of the Vistula and buries their non-cremated dead (Goths and Gepids). Their tombs are rich in ornaments, they never contain weapons. The rest of the population in Poland still uses incineration. During the century. II d. C. the Goths abandon Pomerania, heading towards the Black Sea, and in the century. III follow in their footsteps the Gepids. In eastern Little Poland in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. C. lives a Thracian population, coming from Transylvania (Lipica culture).

Period of the migrations of peoples. – Of the sec. V and VI d. C. the most numerous remains that we know are those of northeastern Poland, inhabited by Baltic peoples.

Protohistoric period. – We do not possess any deposits from the first part of the protohistoric period, which can be dated. Only in the tenth and eleventh centuries do we encounter numerous tombs, almost exclusively for burial, silver treasures with beautiful filigree and granulation ornaments and coins, first Arab, then mainly from Western Europe, and ordinary and fortified stations (castles and stilt houses) which form the remains of the Slavic population. In the north-eastern part of Poland live the Baltic peoples (Lithuanians, Prussians) who became Christians in the century. XIV.

Poland Prehistory