Elementy obrządku pogrzebowego (Elements of the burial rite)
by Małgorzata Cieślak-Kopyt 1
1 – Muzeum im. Jacka Malczewskiego w Radomiu
In: M. Cieślak-Kopyt, D. Pogodzińska 2020. Żelazna Nowa, stanowisko 2. Cmentarzysko kultury przeworskiej z Zapilcza na południowym Mazowszu, Ocalone Dziedzictwo Archeologiczne 10, Radom – Pękowice: Muzeum im. J. Malczewskiego w Radomiu, Wydawnictwo Profil-Archeo, pp. 83-87.
Abstract: A total of 65 Przeworsk culture features were discovered in the Żelazna Nowa cemetery. This number included a rectangular groove feature, urned cremations (6), alleged/damaged urned cremations (14), unurned cremations (14), alleged/fully or partly damaged unurned cremations (27), pits containing no bone material (4), undtermined cremations (2), pits containing no archeological material (1). All of the explored burials are cremations. However, a more detailed analysis encounters problems due to the state of preservation of the graves. Features 3, 19A and 19B, 30, 33, 37, 39 have been confidently identified as urned cremations. In many other features fragments of ceramic vessels were found, which may be remains of damaged urns: 18, 21, 23, 25, 31, 35, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 56, 57, and 58. Certain unurned cremations are 4, 6, 7, 8, 11–13, 15–17, 22, 24, 32, and 34. The interpretation of the remaining features is uncertain. Among the features uncovered in the cemetery were pits containing no bones: 5, 60, 61, 62, as well as pits containing no archaeological material at all: 55. The majority of unurned cremations contained pyre debris, while no such remains were observed in the following damaged unurned cremations: 15, 40–42, 45, 61, 62. There were a few cases of double burials identified. Three unurned cremations (6, 13, 15) and one urned cremation (39) contained bones of Infans I and an undetermined individual, while feature 19 contained two urns with individual burials: Infans II and an undetermined individual.
Urned cremations, and one alleged unurned cremation (56), are distinguished by a higher standard of furnishing and a considerably larger amount of bone remains. This can be given two interpretations: a higher status of those buried there, or different rituals used for urned and unurned cremations. In two graves the urn was covered with an upturned vessel (features 33 and 37). In one case, an apotropaic behaviour characteristic of the Przeworsk culture was recorded, involving driving sharp objects into the pit’s bottom: in grave 41 these were two spearheads.