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Analiza materiałów zabytkowych / Analysis of the grave materials

DOI: 10.33547/Swibie2022.2.3

Analiza materiałów zabytkowych

by Monika Michnik 1,  Karol Dzięgielewski 2

1 –Muzeum w Gliwicach, ul. Dolnych Wałów 8a, 44-100 Gliwice; 2 – Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Archeologii, ul. Gołębia 11, 31-007 Kraków

In: Michnik, M., Dzięgielewski, K. (2022). Cmentarzysko z wczesnej epoki żelaza w Świbiu na Górnym Śląsku. Tom 2, pp. 50-113. Gliwice: Muzeum w Gliwicach, Wydawnictwo Profil-Archeo.


The most common form of furnishing in the inhumation graves was pottery, which was found in 289 features. Vessels were deposited in two sets. One was placed next to the burial, customarily in the northern part behind the head of the deceased, less frequently in other parts of the grave. The other set of vessels was placed at the level of the pit ceiling, among the stones of the pavement or between its successive layers. The sets differ in both number and the choice of ceramic forms. The vessels by the burial are the classic ‘Upper Silesian set’, consisting of a pot, a bowl and a scoop, and there was often more than one such set. The sets placed higher in the pit are dominated by large vase-shaped vessels, plates, and the classic pot, bowl and scoop sets.

Inhumation graves from the Świbie cemetery are marked by a significant saturation in metal artefacts, made of bronze (215 graves), iron (166 graves) and, less frequently, lead (seven graves). In this respect, Świbie is unique among the other necropolises of the Upper Silesia-Lesser Poland group. The assortment of metal objects includes ornaments and dress items, as well as tools and weapons. The raw material criterion must have also played a role in their selection as grave gifts, as ornaments were made of both bronze and iron (especially in the younger phase), while tools were exclusively made of iron.

The deceased were buried in full ceremonial dress, and the sets of ornaments and parts of the dress preserved at inhumation burials enable its reconstruction. One distinctive element, even a hallmark of the Upper Silesia-Lesser Poland group, is the head ornaments, often of elaborate forms. Remnants of headbands (plaited or textile) were identified in the cemetery, to which spirals (called temple rings) were attached on the side, or additionally rows of bronze buttons were sewn on. The buttons were placed above the forehead (half-diadems) or all around (diadems). Other small bronze appliqués (salta leone beads or glass and amber beads) were sometimes also attached to the headbands. Diadems/bands made with lead elements, uncovered in six graves, are rare finds. Necklaces made usually of bronze, less often of iron, and necklaces of glass and glassy faience beads were strung around the neck. On the chest, the deceased had bronze and iron pins with differently shaped heads (which may have fastened the robe or adorned it). Bracelets were placed around the wrists, and ankle-rings around the ankles. The deceased were buried with tools: iron knives, sickles, axes (flat or socketed) and stone battle axes, and occasionally also items of weaponry, such as iron spearheads or bronze arrowheads.