Polish History


Paleolithic Age

The Stone Age has three periods. The first is the Paleolithic Age, the second is the Mesolithic Age, and the third is the Neolithic Age. The Paleolithic Age is the first period in Polish prehistory from which archaeological information has been gathered. The ancestors to humans first appear on Polish land around 500,000 to 400,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. Many facts have been uncovered about life in Poland during this time. The problem with these findings is that these remains have been found in areas by sandy rivers. These sandy rivers have not helped to preserve organic materials from the Paleolithic Age. Australopithecus is the direct ancestor to Homo, the genus of great apes that includes modern humans. The oldest Australopithecus ever found is Australopithecus ramidus in Ethiopia in eastern Africa. It is estimated to be 4.4 million years old. From four million to three million years ago, Homo habilis evolved from Australopithecus in east-central Africa. Homo habilis was the first type of Homo. Homo habilis distinguished itself from Australopithecus by producing its own stone tools by breaking and sharpening rocks.

Homo erectus evolved from Homo habilis. Homo erectus lived in east-central Africa in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Homo erectus appeared first around 1.8 to 1.7 million years ago. Homo erectus had a similar height and skeleton to modern humans, and he was the first to migrate out of Africa. Homo erectus was in today’s Palestine and Georgia around 1.4 to 1.3 million years ago. Around 700,000 to 400,000 years ago, Homo erectus discovered fire, which allowed him to move into lands of cooler temperature such as Europe. Experts place a date of Homo erectus entering Europe anywhere from 1.2 to 1.1 million years ago to 500,000 years ago. Homo erectus most likely came through northwestern Africa through Gibraltar. There were at least two waves of migration out of Africa into Europe. The first may have happened around one million years ago, while the other happened around 700,000 to 500,000 years ago. There is no evidence that Homo erectus came from Africa to the Middle East and then to Europe. From 700,000 to 600,000 years ago, during Interglacial Przasnysz, weather was warmer. During this period, Homo erectus crossed the Pyrenees and Alps in Europe.

Tools have been found in this era around Polish land in Moravia in Central Europe, Brna in today’s Croatia, and Zakarpattia in today’s Ukraine. From 600,000 to 450,000 years ago, weather cooled and a Scandinavian continental glacier reached all the way to today’s southern Poland. During this period, Homo erectus replaced its larger tools with smaller tools. Small and sharp stone shards were made by smashing one rock on another to break off a small and sharp piece that could be used to cut meat or wood. The oldest tools found on Polish land have been found in Trzebnica and Ruska in southwestern Poland. Homo erectus made them. These tools include choppers and sharp shards. Bones of buffalos, horses, boars, and rhinos have been found in the vicinity of these tools around Trzebnica. Bones from fish, such as pike, have also been found, which reveals that Homo erectus had the wherewithal to catch fish. About 500,000 years ago, Interglacial Ferdynandowski caused warm weather in Polish lands. Plants existed on Polish lands during this time that could survive very high temperatures. During the beginning of Interglacial Ferdynandowski, trees such as elm, oak, and linden grew on Polish land. When the weather cooled later, boreal forests grew with spruces, pines, and larches. When the weather grew warmer thereafter, elm and alder trees grew. During the next interglacial period, Interglacial Mazovian, forests of pine trees dominated.

Polish lands belonged to the central and eastern division of Europe when Homo erectus developed. In this part of Europe, tools were made from shards of stone, whereas in western and southern Europe hammerstones were used as tools. Only tools of Homo erectus have been found in Poland and no skeletal remains. However, close to Poland in Bilzingsleben in central Germany, remains of Homo erectus have been found. These remains date back to 440,000 to 320,000 years ago. Remains in Bilzingsleben show that Homo erectus was able to make an encampment with three huts and a campfire. The other closest remains of Homo erectus to Poland are in Vértesszőlős, Hungary.

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis evolved from Homo erectus in Europe. The oldest remains of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis in Europe are from 250,000 to 150,000 years ago. They can be found in northern France, southwestern France, and Germany. The farthest Homo sapiens neanderthalensis expanded to beyond Europe was to present- day Turkey, the Middle East, and Uzbekistan. Elephant remains in Germany and buffalo remains in France from this period have been found. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis had material objects used for worship and colorful minerals that were used to paint their bodies. Evidence has been found that Homo sapiens neanderthalensis practiced funerals and ritualized burials.

No skeletal remains of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis have been found in Poland, but relicts used by them that are similar to other artifacts found by skeletal remains of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis have been uncovered. Stone tools have been found in Racibórz-Studzienna in southern Poland that date from 220,000 to 180,000 years ago. In Piekary in southern Poland, tools have been found that date back to 190,000 to 140,000 years ago. Piekary may have the oldest findings of advanced products made from flint shavings. Other tools from this period have been found in Krowodrza in Kraków in southern Poland. From 130,000 to 110,000 years ago, warmer climate in Poland caused milder winters. On Queen Jadwiga street in Kraków, a primitive furnace with a dome has been found and dated from this period. It may have been used to smoke meat for preservation during colder months when hunting was more difficult. From 110,000 to 70,000 years ago, vegetation associated with tundra existed on Polish land. It is during this period that most remains have been found in the Middle Paleolithic Age. During this period, there were groups of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis that had different cultures. The cultures they had were Mousterian culture and Micoquien culture. Their cultures vary according to the tools they made. In Piekary, both Mousterian culture and Micoquien culture have been found next to one another. Mousterian culture tools have been found in forests and caves in southern Poland in Jerzmanowice, Kraków-Zwierzyniec, Przemyśl, Piekary, and Kraków-Sowiniec.

Piekary is an important location in Polish history. Piekary is above the Vistula River and across from the famous monastery called Tyniec. Piekary is about eight miles from Kraków. There is a calcareous range there where remains from the second to last ice age are present. Piekary is one of the oldest places in Europe where tools were made with early shaving techniques. Mousterian Culture dating back to the early phase of the last ice age has been found at Piekary. Micoquien culture has also been found there. In soil dating back from 40,000 to 30,000 years ago, Aurignacian Culture has been found. On the highest level of the range, a workplace with Gravettian Culture that dates back to 20,000 to 15,000 years ago has been discovered.

Micoquien Culture appeared in Oborzyska in the Dark Cave in western Poland. Remains of reindeer, buffalos, and mammoths have been found there. Three camps have also been found there. In one of them, over 1,000 stone tools have been uncovered. Caves from Częstochowa to Kraków have also been found to possess tools from Micoquien Culture. Micoquien Culture has been found as far east as Zwoleń. In Zwoleń, fossils have been found that denote that killing and dismembering of horses, mammoths, reindeers, buffalos, and rhinos took place. Tools that have been found in Zwoleń date back to 85,000 to 70,000 years ago. On Nicolaus Copernicus Street in Kraków, a bifacial knife from Micoquien Culture has been found. Micoquien Culture is known for producing bifacial knives. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis with Micoquien Culture hunted in lower Poland and took their stone tools with them. They may have migrated as far as 310 miles (500 kilometers).

Homo sapiens neanderthalensis in Poland was in contact with Homo sapiens neanderthalensis south of Poland. In a cave called Raj in southern Poland, tools have been found that are from 70,000 to 60,000 years old. They are similar to tools found in Hungary and the basin of the Danube River. Over 300 antlers of reindeers have been found in Raj cave. They were used to guard the entrance of the cave. Colored minerals that were ground down to paint bodies were also found in Raj cave. From 45,000 to 30,000 years ago, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens lived next to each other. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis completely died out 40,000 to 30,000 years ago. Modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, are not believed to have evolved from Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. From 40,000 to 35,000 years ago, a transitional period occurred in which Homo had Micoquien culture and Mousterian culture on Polish land. Tools made by Mousterian Culture and Micoquien culture from this period have been found in Głubczyce in southwestern Poland. These tools date from 36,000 years ago.

In Obłazowa cave on a natural reservation in Przełom Białki near Poland’s southern border to Slovakia, a boomerang-shaped tool has been found that is made out of bone. Some believe this boomerang from Obłazowa is the first boomerang-shaped tool in Europe.

From 38,000 to 30,000 years ago, in a cave called Nietoperzowa in Jerzmanowice and a cave called Koziarnia in Sąspów, three phases of culture have been uncovered. Bifacial tools, blades, and shavings have been found that are similar to those found in Belgium, Germany, and England. These camps were used by hunters who hunted horses, rabbits, buffalos, and bears. From 35,000 to 30,000 years ago, Aurignacian culture appeared on Polish land. It is characterized with stone shavings, chisels, and processing of bones and horns to make spears. In Mamutowa cave in southern Poland, many tools made of bones of mammoths have been found along with many stone tools and decorative items. These decorative items include drilled animal teeth. Stone products from Aurignacian culture have been found on Spadzista street in Kraków, Queen Jadwiga street in Kraków, Góra Puławska in eastern Poland, and many places in Upper Silesia. Aurignacian culture in Poland was in contact with eastern Moravia and Slovakia, since these two areas had raw stone materials from Poland.

 From 30,000 to 20,000 years ago, the climate in Europe worsened and many groups migrated because of environmental changes. These circumstances caused almost all culture in Europe to unify with Gravettian culture. It has been postulated that one language was used throughout Europe where Gravettian culture was present. Gravettian culture perfected shard production technology that allowed for specialized methods of hunting by making bows and arches. It is in this era that it is hypothesized that strategized stabile camps were built where Homo lived and went hunting in areas where animals were plentiful. In the spring, Homo ate fish. In the summer, Homo ate plants. In the autumn and winter, Homo ate animals. Gravettian Culture presented women with exaggerated sexual features. Figures branded as Paleolithic Venus were created first by Gravettian culture. These figures show that there was a cult of fertility. Remains found in graves in this period show that there were also burial rituals.

From 28,000 to 24,000 years ago, Homo with Gravettian culture migrated from Moravia to southern Poland and Upper Silesia in search of stone and flint. About 70% to 85% of flint found in Moravia and Lower Austria come from Polish lands. In Cyprzanów in southern Poland, workplaces have been found that used this flint. Full camps are rarely found. One is in Wójcice in southern Poland.

From 24,000 to 23,000 years ago, Gravettian culture disappeared in Moravia and Lower Austria. Camps moved to western Slovakia and then to southern Poland. About 20,000 years ago, a continental glacier reached Greater Poland and Mazovia during stadial Brandenburg-Leszno. A new system of settlement appeared around the western Carpathian Mountains. The Homo that lived in these settlements hunted mammoths, began to use coal to make fires, and created knives with jagged edges.

About 25,000 to 20,000 years ago, unstable weather existed in southern Poland. It was very warm in the summer and very cold in the winter. In the winter, the ground was frozen and littered with deep fissures. In this era, plants were similar to those found on tundra, such as dwarfish birch and shrubby willows. When the weather was warmer, grass grew that mammals ate. From 20,000 to 18,000 years ago, Homo with Gravettian culture migrated because of worsening environmental conditions. Polish lands during this period were virtually uninhabited.

Europe’s continental glacier reached its farthest point on Polish lands during stadial Brandenburg-Leszno. After reaching it, it began to recede. About 20,000 years ago, the second continental glacier reached its farthest point. After it occurred, the next continental glacier named stadial Frankfurt-Poznań followed and reached Poznań. Stadial Pomeranian that covered Pomerania in ice followed it. About 15,000 years ago, interstadial Masurian followed. When the continental glacier melted in the Baltic Sea, conditions on Polish lands became suitable for life. From 15,000 to 10,000 years ago, there were many periods of warmer weather. About 10,000 years ago, the Holocene began with warm postglacial weather.

About 20,000 years ago, Europe began to be divided in half with its western and eastern wings. Evolution in each part took a different course. About 18,000 to 15,000 years ago, Western Europe had Magdalenian culture, while Eastern Europe had Epigravettian culture. Epigravettian culture was similar to Gravettian culture, but it had some differences. During this period, buffalos, mammoths, and horses were hunted in Eastern Europe, while reindeers were hunted in Western Europe. In Western Europe, there was a rhythm to life in which Homo moved to warm lands in the winter to hunt reindeer. In Eastern Europe, there was no such marked rhythm of life. In Eastern Europe, collecting plants was more important than hunting animals. From 18,000 to 12,000 years ago, Homo from Western Europe with Magdalenian culture and Homo from Eastern Europe with Epigravettian culture both tried to colonize Poland. Not many camps have been found from this period. About 15,000 years ago, Homo with Magdalenian culture lived by Maszycka cave in Maszyce in southern Poland. Products such as arrowheads and spears made from bone and horns have been found in this cave. Ceremonial phallic products have also been found in Maszycka cave. A group of Homo in the number of sixteen to twenty was probably murdered in Maszycka cave. More than 150 cracked and injured bones have been found. The Homo that lived in this cave hunted saiga antelope, reindeers, horses, buffalos, and rhinos. The reason why Homo with Magdalenian culture moved eastward to Poland was because of the expansion of saiga antelope to Eastern Europe from Western Europe along the highlands of Central Europe.

From 17,000 to 12,000 years ago, Homo with Epigravettian culture came to Polish lands. They came for short periods and did not leave behind many traces. Their remains have been found in Zawalona cave in Mników in southern Poland.

From 13,000 to 12,000 years ago, during Bølling interstadial another group of Homo with Magdalenian culture migrated to Central Europe. They established many centers of life from which they then moved into Polish land. During this period, Homo with Magdalenian culture also moved from Moravia and what is now the Czech Republic to southern Poland in search of stones and flint from Upper Silesia, the highlands from Kraków to Częstochowa, and the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. About 12,000 years ago, in Brzoskwinia in southern Poland a large workshop existed that was used by Homo with Magdalenian culture to produce stone tools.

About 12,000 years ago, Homo with Hamburg culture entered into the Middle European Plain during Bølling interstadial. Hamburg culture arose from Magdalenian culture in France. Hamburg culture distinguished itself with jagged blades used for arrowheads. Homo with Hamburg culture moved to the Middle European Plain to hunt reindeers. Homo with Hamburg culture migrated north with reindeer in the summer and then south with them in the winter. 75% of remnants of Hamburg culture are from reindeers. Hamburg culture was present in Olbrachcice, Siedlnica, and Liny. No bones of Hamburg culture have been found in Poland. Only products of stone and amber decorations have been found. Anywhere from 100 to 600 stone tools have been recovered.

From 11,800 to 11,000 years ago during the Allerød period, weather became warmer and caused new forests with birch, aspen, willow, and pine to appear. Pine trees dominated in Eastern Europe. By the shores of the Baltic Sea, steppes and tundra proliferated. Bromme-Lyngby culture developed in Jutland, the Danish islands around it, and parts of continental Europe south of it. It reached Poland to Całowanie in east-central Poland and Grzybowa Góra in southern Poland. Homo with Bromme-Lyngby culture hunted reindeer and had a new type of arrowhead. After Bromme-Lyngby culture, Perstunki culture appeared in Poland. Its name comes from Perstunki River in northeastern Poland.

During the Allerød period, chocolate flint from the Świętokrzyskie Mountains was collected by Homo. It was found within a radius of 62.1 miles (100 kilometers) of the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. Stones from Slovakia and Moravia have also been found, which tells us that there was contact with these regions.

From 11,000 to 10,000 years ago, during the last glacial cooling period called Dryas III, many important changes occurred in culture and settlement on Polish lands. Forests decreased in circumference. Tundra appeared in northeastern Poland and open steppes formed in central Poland. The Middle European Plain at this time had Ahrensburg culture on its western part, Świderska culture in central Poland, and Desna culture in eastern Poland. Ahrensburg culture’s name comes from Ahrensburg by Hamburg, Świderska culture’s name comes from Świdry Wielkie by Warsaw, and Desna culture’s name comes from the Desna River in the Eastern European Plain. Each of these cultures had its own type of arrowheads.

Homo with Świderska culture hunted in Lower Silesia and Greater Poland. It sought out flint in central Poland and in between Częstochowa and Kraków. More than 800 placements of Świderska culture have been in Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania. It is estimated that about 6,700 to 15,300 people belonged to Świderska culture in this period. Population density was from .01 to .02 persons per sixty-two square miles (100 kilometers).

Mesolithic Age

The Mesolithic Age is distinguished by making economic and social formations as the result of adaption to conditions in an era of postglacial warmth. The Mesolithic economy was based on hunting animals and gathering mussels, plants, and snails. Homo during this period would usually live close to rivers and stay in one area until it depleted all of its natural resources. Tools during this era were geometric and decreased in size. In Poland, complexes made by Homo were made on sandy dunes. As a result, not many organic remains have been found. The Mesolithic Age in Poland lasted from 9580 BC to 3650 BC. Within the Mesolithic Age, there are three eras: (1) the Preboreal Era from 9580-9000 BC to 8000-7940 BC, (2) the Boreal Era from 8000-7940 BC to 6980-6670 BC, and (3) the Atlantic Era from 6980-6680 BC to 3850-3650 BC. In the beginning of the Preboreal Era, Świderska culture disappeared. It probably disappeared as the result of migration. Homo with Świderska culture may have followed reindeers that migrated northeastward to taiga and tundra. Taiga and tundra was retracting and even disappearing in Poland at this time because of warmer weather.

 In the early part of the Mesolithic Age, many groups possessed Komornicka culture on Polish land. Komornicka culture is similar to Duvensee culture in the North German Plain and Star Carr culture in England and Western Europe. What little has been found in Poland of Komornicka culture has been near rivers. Findings in this era from Poland are many times less than what has been found in other parts of Europe.

 From about 8,500 years ago, changes occurred in settlement patterns in the northern part of Central Europe. The reasons for the change were the gradual flooding of Northern Europe with the waters of the Baltic Sea and Northern Sea. The reason the ocean shelf rose was the rising of Fennoscandia — the Scandinavian Peninsula, Finland, Karelia, and the Kola Peninsula. It rose as a result of being freed from ice covering. After it happened, groups with Maglemosian culture moved to land that was not flooded. Chojnicko-Pieńkowska culture represented Maglemosian culture in Poland. Its name is derived from Chojnice in northern Poland and Pieńki in central Poland. Only stone products remain from Chojnicko-Pieńkowska culture in Poland. Maglemosian culture made figures of horses, bears, and boars.

 Janisławicka culture appeared in Poland in the latter part of the Mesolithic Age. Its name hails from Janisławice in central Poland. It produced larger stone shavings and keen-edges tools for scraping. Janisławicka culture used high-quality stones and flint that were found by the basin of the Vistula River. In Janisławice, the skeleton of a person in a sitting position covered with red ochre has been found. The red coloring was meant to symbolize blood and life. The Mesolithic Age is known for this type of burial.

 Kundajska culture existed in northeastern Poland after Świderska culture disappeared. Kundajska culture is named after Kunda-Lammasmägi in Estonia. Kundajska culture produced stone shavings that had channels and grooves. Most of what is known about Kundajska culture comes from Latvian and Estonian lands.

Neolithic Age

 In world history, there are three great revolutions in which spectacular change caused monumental progress: the Neolithic Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Technological Revolution. In the case of the Neolithic Revolution, it happened in ancient Mesopotamia. The Neolithic Revolution domesticated plants and animals. Man stopped living off the fruits of the land and started to control his environment instead of the environment controlling him. Man cultivated grain and stored it for winter. Animal cultivation of mostly goats, sheep, and cattle produced meat and milk that could last all seasons of the year.

 The Neolithic Revolution occurred during climatic changes in the Middle East from 9000 BC to 6800 BC. The climate became dryer and as a result people concentrated their settlements around rivers and oases. Under these circumstances, domestication of animals and plants occurred. Not many findings have been found from this era, but what is known is that in Palestine, Syria, and Iraq, stone homes appear with greater varieties of tools. Camps humans used became bigger. Cemeteries appeared. All of these facts show that settlements progressed and became more stable.

 Neolithic forms of domestication spread to eastern and central Turkey along with the migration of small groups of people with Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture. From Turkey, it spread to eastern Greece via the Aegean Sea. The first findings of Neolithic culture in Europe have been found in Argolis and Thessaly in Greece. Europe’s first pottery appeared in these two locations. This pottery was under the influence of artistry coming from Turkey. When Neolithic culture then spread to the rest of Europe, it appeared side by side to hunter-gatherer culture for a long period of time.

 There is some evidence that the Neolithic Revolution may have developed independently in Europe in southern France. Findings in Abeurador cave in southern France show that leguminous plants were raised there in 7700 BC. Other possible places in Europe where Neolithic culture may have developed on its own are in Crimea in Ukraine and in the basin of the Dniester River and Prut River that covers Ukraine, Moldavia, and Romania. At about 7900 BC in southern France and Spain, the remains of domesticated sheep show that Neolithic culture may have made contact with Mesolithic culture in Europe. If it happened, it happened through the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

 From 6000 BC to 5000 BC, Linear Pottery culture appeared in the northern part of the Carpathian Basin. It expanded to the northern part of Central Europe. Linear Pottery culture possessed a different technology to make pottery and built wooden and rectangular buildings. It lived close to rivers and held more cattle in domestication. Domesticated cattle were crossbred with wild cattle. At around 5500 BC, Linear Pottery culture reached the North European Plain and it went as far as Kujawy and Chełmno Land in northern Poland.

 At about 5500 BC in the central Danube basin around Serbia, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, groups of farmers and hunters formed who were better adapted to the forests that appeared in most of the northern part of Central Europe. They possessed Linear Pottery culture. They came to Poland from Moravia and what is now the Czech Republic. The paths they took were probably through the Moravian Gate and the Eastern Neisse River. The humans who came to Poland at this time were in search of better and more plentiful sources of stones. When they came to Poland, they brought their methods of agriculture and animal cultivation with them that they developed in the central basin of  the Danube River. They also brought their specific types of flax, wheat, barley, peas, lentils, and millet. The animals they domesticated were goats, cattle, sheep, and pigs. They possessed more cattle and pigs than earlier cultures. Hunting was a small part of their economy. Less than 10% of bones found from Linear Pottery culture were from wild animals. Gathering of wild plants was less common even though a wide arrange of plants have been found that include blueberries.

 From 5400 BC to 5300 BC, Linear Pottery culture expanded to Lower Silesia, Upper Silesia, and Lesser Poland. In the latter phase of its expansion, it moved to Rzeszów in southeastern Poland, Kujawy in northern Poland, Chełmno Land in northern Poland, and Greater Poland in west-central Poland. When migrants came to the southern highlands of Poland that were heavily populated with forests, they burned them if they were by rivers to make room for settlements.

 The early Neolithic Age had homes that were long and rectangular from 115 to 164 feet in length (thirty-five to fifty meters). Their walls had posts that propped them up. What have remained of these households are pits from which walls and posts were erected. Families of sixteen to twenty lived in these households. Homes were connected to a room for animals and grain. In Poland, settlements of two to three of these households have been found from the early phase of the Neolithic Age. The households could be located from sixty-five to 100 feet (twenty to thirty meters) from each other. They occupied from 1,300 to 3,280 square feet of acreage (400 to 1,000 m2).

 Material culture from the early party of the Neolithic Age includes pottery and products made from horns, bones, and stones. Pottery was made with clay and organic materials. Pots had straight and wavy line carvings in them. The material they used to make tools were rocks of magma that came from the Sudetan Mountains and North European Plain in Poland. Axes with asymmetrical edges were used to cut wood that would then be used to build homes. Flint was heavily sought-after by Linear Pottery culture during this era from the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, the foreground of the Sudetan Mountains, and northern Moravia.

 Few clues remain about Linear Pottery culture’s spiritual culture. Only a few figures of women with exaggerated sexual features remain. These figures have been interpreted as symbols of a cult of fertility. It has also been posited that they show that women were esteemed in society. Plates have also been found with the outlines of animals on them that may be related to religion. Skeletons of humans have been found in fetal positions and deep in caves. These remains have been placed in vessels and products made from stone. A few of these containers were decorated with shells and marble.

 Linear Pottery culture lasted until 5000 BC to 4700 BC on Polish lands. From 4700 BC to 4600 BC in Poland and the basin of the central Danube River, Linear Pottery culture transformed into Linear Pottery Kłuta culture with a new form of economy. It possessed new forms of material culture, while simultaneously possessing traits of Linear Pottery culture. Vessels were decorated with punctures made with a comb or tracing wheel. Linear Pottery Kłuta culture spread to parts of Europe that had Linear Pottery culture. At around 4600 BC, Lengyel Polgarski culture, or Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture, appeared in Lesser Poland in southern Poland. Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture formed among groups that had Linear Pottery culture. Groups that had this culture came from Transdanubia, western Slovakia, and southern Moravia. Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture painted its pottery black. Coloring of bowls black eventually faded out of use once close contact was made with western Slovakia. Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture had three groups: Modlnicka group, Pleszowska group, and Ocicka group. Modlnicka culture’s name comes from Modlnica by Kraków. Pleszowska group’s name comes from Pleszew in central Poland. Ocicka culture’s name comes from Racibórz-Ocice in Upper Silesia.

  Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture possessed many items used for ceremonies such as earthenware altars and figures. By Kraków and Mogiła, a figure with human features has been found that is similar to figures found in the northeastern Balkans and above the Lower Danube River. Graves and the beginnings of early cemeteries have also been found in Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture. Remains within graves include sets of stone tools. At about 3800 BC, Malicka culture appeared in Lesser Poland, Upper Silesia, Miechów, and Sandomierz. Its name comes from Malice in Lesser Poland. Malicka culture is related to Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture. It may have evolved from Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture or Linear Pottery Kłuta culture.

 From 5000 BC to 4000 BC, several economic and organizational changes occurred. Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture and Malicka culture organized settlements differently. Single homes stopped being commonplace. Instead, series of homes were built together, and ditches were dug around them. In Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture, settlements had an open space that was circular and bordered with ditches and a fence. Rows of homes were built behind the open space. Some of these settlements were up to six hectares large. These types of settlements have been found in Zarzyca in Lower Silesia and Osłonki in Kujawy. These arrangements may have been made in defense. If they were made in defense, then there may have been a centralized governing body that decided that they should exist.

Copper Age

 From 4100 BC to 3800 BC, the Copper Age began in Poland. From 4100/3900 BC to 3200/3000 BC, changes occurred on Polish lands that ended the Neolithic Age. Nearly all of Poland had domesticated crops and animals by this time. Most cultures in Poland adopted the Lower Danube model of domestication of plants and animals by adapting it to the sandy soils found on Polish lands.

 From 4000 BC to 3800 BC, climatic changes hastened sedimentation in the bottoms of rivers and caused deforestation. Populations grew and people came in closer contact with one another. The environment was more intensely used by man in both agriculture and animal cultivation. Climatic changes also caused new cultures to form.

 At about 4000 BC, intensive agriculture began with plows pulled by animals. Evidence has been found at Sarnów in Poland of plowing. Animals were also used for transport with four-wheeled carts as proven by drawings from vessels from Bronocice in southern Poland. Intensive agriculture used bigger fields with more grains and leguminous plants. Crop rotation was used in which one field would be sown while another would remain unsown to retain rich soil. Animals were used more efficiently by using them not only for meat, but also for milk products, wool, and transportation.

 Intensive agriculture and animal husbandry caused populations to rise. With larger populations, more settlements appeared. Hierarchies in society appeared. Political power centered around the elders of a tribe. Defenses were built around towns. Some buildings were built just for economic reasons.

 Graves of persons important to society who had political power had decorated graves with many material objects in them. Large stone mausoleums in the shapes of elongated trapezoids or triangles appeared. They could be up to 426 feet long (130 meters), 49 feet wide (15 meters), and 9.8 feet tall (3 meters). Wood was used to make such structures in southern Poland. Bones of sheep have been found in human graves in Funnelbeaker Culture. Clay figures of rams and vessels with decorations of rams have also been found. Sheep and rams may have had a religious significance to Funnelbeaker Culture.

 Luxury items were sought when hierarchies developed. Axes from copper and flint were such coveted items. Copper items have rarely ever been found in Poland.

 Copper was not indigenously produced on Polish lands. When flint was sought out, Krzemionki in southeastern Poland was visited. Krzemionki has one of the largest deposits of flint in Europe. It had highly sought-after striped flint. There are nine mining fields at Krzemionki that take up a space of about 300 hectares. Funnelbeaker Culture and Globular Amphora culture used Krzemionki for flint. Humans dug as far as 14.7 feet (4.5 meters) deep at Krzemionki. When flint was collected, it was taken to Ćmielów nearby where it was worked on. Tools made from flint from Krzemionki by Globular Amphora culture went as far as 372 miles (600 kilometers) from their source. They went to the current Czech Republic, Moravia, and western Ukraine. Exporting axes and other products from flint aided Funnelbeaker Culture. Small amounts of copper appeared in Poland because copper was not mined in Poland and because there was little contact with people who had copper. Copper first came to Funnelbeaker Culture in Poland probably through southern Poland by people who had Malicka culture or Lendzielsko-Polgarski culture. Malicka culture and Lendzielsko-Polgarski culture in southern Poland were in contact with groups around the Tisza River in Central Europe that produced items made of copper and gold. They extracted copper from Transylvania in Romania.

 From 4000 BC to 3000 BC, Funnelbeaker Culture appeared in northern Poland. Outside of Poland, it was in Holland, Denmark, northern Germany, central Germany, Moravia, the current Czech Republic, and Lower Austria. Stone products, graves, homes, and settlements strongly vary in Funnelbeaker Culture according to their geography. In Kujawy and Silesia in Poland, Funnelbeaker Culture continued traditions of Post-Linear Pottery Culture and Lendzielsko-Polgarska culture.

 From Denmark, to northern Germany, and to Kujawy in Poland, Funnelbeaker Culture produced its oldest pottery called type A and B. It distinguished itself with spherical pots. At about 4450 BC, it appeared in Kujawy during the Sarnowska phase. From 3700 BC to 3300 BC, Funnelbeaker Culture was in its classical cultural phase when it began to distinguish and separate itself according to its location. The eastern branch of Funnelbeaker Culture included western and northern Germany, Holland, Denmark, and the majority of North European Plain in Poland. The southeastern branch of Funnelbeaker Culture was in Lesser Poland, Silesia in Poland, and Moravia. During this classical era, Funnelbeaker Culture made pots with impressed stamps. During its latter phase from 3300 BC to 3100 BC, vessels became smoother and gentler.

 Funnelbeaker culture both buried its dead as well as cremated them. Cremated bodies have been found in Pomerania in northern Poland and in Silesia in southwestern Poland. Some graves have been found in caves without any stone structures around them in the vicinity of Lublin in southeastern Poland. Magic was conducted with dead bodies that included cannibalism, decapitation, and partial burial. Groups with Funnelbeaker culture migrated from Greater Poland and Kujawy to Pomerania in northern Poland. They came in several phases that were separated with long periods of breaks. As a result of several migratory phases, local groups of Funnelbeaker

  culture appeared in Pomerania, such as Ustowska group in western Pomerania and Łupawska group in eastern Pomerania. In western Pomerania, elongated, rectangular tombs were built with slabs of stone. Bronocice is very important in Polish prehistory. Bronocice spans about 195 square miles (314 square kilometers). Twenty-one settlements of Linear Pottery culture, eighteen settlements of Lendzielsko-Polgarski culture, and fifty-four emplacements of Funnelbeaker culture have been found there. From 3770/3710 BC to 3540 BC, Funnelbeaker culture existed on two hectares of land in Bronocice and then left. In 3500 BC, a group with Lendzielsko-Polgarski culture came. It was unique since it painted pottery white. It eventually left Bronocice. Around 3400 BC, a group with Funnelbeaker culture returned and established a settlement that occupied about eighteen hectares. It was east of its previous settlement. On its previous settled land, it built a cemetery. People with Funnelbeaker culture then left again. People with Corded Ware culture then migrated to Bronocice. During the early Neolithic Age, about 1,000 people may have lived in Bronocice, while about 4,000 could have lived during the Copper Age.

  From 5200 BC to 4300 BC, Ertebølle culture existed in the western part of the basin of the Baltic Sea. It is named after a location in Denmark. It evolved from Maglemosian culture. It had stable settlements. It hunted for animals of the forests, sea mammals, and birds. It also went fishing. It gathered snails, mussels, slugs, and plants. Ertebølle culture is known for its baggy pottery with conical bottoms. In Poland, it has been found in Dąbki on the shore of the Baltic Sea in northwestern Poland. It dates back to 5100 BC to 4500 BC. Ertebølle culture in Dąbki hunted deer, beavers, elk, and boars. It also went fishing for pike.

  From 3400 BC to 3300 BC, small groups with Baden culture came from northern Slovakia to the areas around Kraków in southern Poland. Funnelbeaker culture in the rest of Poland came in contact with Baden culture and adopted its pottery style. Evidence of it has been found in Bronocice northeast of Kraków, Upper Silesia in southern Poland, and Kujawy in central Poland. Its pottery had fluted ornamentation.

  From 4000 BC to 3500 BC, people migrated from the Pontic-Caspian steppes to the basin of the lower and central Danube River in Central Europe and the northern Balkans. When the process began, small groups of herdsmen appeared who then spread out to the northern part of Central Europe. The cultures that these migrations produced were Globular Amphora culture and Corded Ware culture. Sedentary cultures with domesticated crops and animal cultivation began a process to become mobile and pastoral during this time. Reasons why it happened include resources becoming depleted, fields becoming barren after intensive use, and climatic changes causing soil to dry up. People began to use land on which forests appeared by burning them down. From 3500 BC to 3000 BC, cultures in Poland adopted these regressive pastoral practices.

 From 4200 BC to 4000 BC, horses were first domesticated in Eastern Europe. It may have occurred earlier in the basin of the Danube River. Globular Amphora culture is the first in Poland to have domesticated horses, as proven by skeletal remains of horses.

 Globular Amphora culture developed in Brzesko and Kujawy. It built graves where Funnelbeaker culture built cemeteries. Globular Amphora culture’s graves had

  various stone constructions. Some graves were covered with cobblestone. Globular Amphora culture’s cemeteries were small. Some graves had one to three persons buried in them. Settlements have been found that were used seasonally. These settlements appear more frequently than cemeteries. Globular Amphora culture made chisels, axes, and arrowheads from flint. Beads and small items made out of amber were also made by Globular Amphora culture. It is possible that in eastern Pomerania a workplace existed that was used to make amber products.

 Globular Amphora culture had three regional groups. The first was in central Poland. Its expanse comprised the Vistula basin but without the Carpathian Foothills. The second was in western Poland in the basin of the Oder River and Elbe River. The third was in eastern Poland. It was in Podole, Wołyń, and the foothills of the eastern Carpathian Mountains. Globular Amphora culture in western Poland made graves from logs, while Globular Amphora culture in central and eastern Poland made graves with megalithic structures. Some graves had humans and animal bones in them. Globular Amphora culture raised animals as well as crops, such as peas, barley, and wheat.

  Corded Ware culture spread to the North European Plain by small groups of nomads. The lands it covered include Poland, central eastern Germany, the current Czech Republic, Holland, Denmark, southern Norway, Sweden, and Estonia. Corded Ware culture groups include nomadic groups, poor mobile groups of warriors and herdsmen, and pastoral/agricultural groups. Portable tents first appear among Corded Ware culture, even though no remains of them have been found. No pronounced hierarchies are believed to have existed in Corded Ware culture, albeit some graves were organized according to gender and age. Corded Ware culture had pottery with engravings and imprints of string. Its graves were surrounded by grooves. It also made small and circular burial mounds. Corded Ware culture in Poland buried its dead on an east-west line. Human remains have been found in fetal positions. Many remains have been found of cremated bodies. Animal sacrifice occurred, according to skeletons found of dogs and pigs. Fire was used in rituals tied to burial.

 Złota culture arose out of Corded Ware culture in Central Europe. Złota culture’s name derives from Złota in southeastern Poland. Złota means “golden” in English. About thirty settlements in the Sandomierz Uplands have been found of Złota culture. Pottery and tools made by Złota culture have influences of Globular Amphora culture, Corded Ware culture, and Baden culture. Złota culture’s amphorae have ornaments on them made by stamps just like Globular Amphora culture. Decorative items made of amber were also made by Złota culture. Unique items found in Złota culture are bowls with wavy impressions made with string and collective graves with chambers built into their walls. These collective graves stored the remains of many generations.

 Four groups arose in Poland with Corded Ware culture as a result of contact between Corded Ware culture from Central Europe and people with Globular Amphora culture and Baden culture. The first group is the Nadorzańska group in Greater Poland and western Pomerania. The Nadorzańska group is similar to Corded Ware culture in Central Europe. The second group is Lubaczowska group in southeastern Poland. It had very strong ties to Corded Ware culture in Central Europe. The third group is the Silesian group. It had similar elements that are found in the basin of the Laba River and Moravia. The fourth group is the Kraków-Sandomierz group. It had burial mounds and graves equipped with stone tools. This group domesticated cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Remains of grain and leguminous plants show that settlements of this group became more sedentary.

 Rzucewo culture appeared in eastern Pomerania in northeast Poland, by the Vistula Lagoon, and by the Curonian Lagoon in what is today Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia. Rzucewo culture is the result of the cross-pollination of Corded Ware culture and the culture of northeastern Europe. Rzucewo culture raised cattle and goats. It cultivated grain, fished, and hunted seals. Rzucewo culture also gathered amber on the shores of the Baltic Sea and made decorations out of it.

 Northeastern Poland, Podlasia, Mazovia, and the Masurian Lake District were not influenced by any culture from the lower Danube River. As a result, people in these lands never domesticated plants and animals. They were hunter-gather peoples. Maglemosian culture influenced culture in this part of Poland. What appeared from this influence was Niemeńska culture in Lithuania, Belarus, and northeastern Poland. Niemeńska culture receives its name from the Neman River in Lithuania and Belarus. Niemeńska culture made poorly kilned pottery with simple means. The clay it used to make pots had organic materials mixed into it. The earliest findings of Niemeńska culture in Poland are in Woźnawieś and Augustów. Other remains have been found in Linin in central Poland.

 Narva culture appeared in Estonia, Latvia, and northeastern Poland. Narva culture is christened after the city Narva in northeastern Estonia. It is similar to Ertebølle culture. Narva culture’s homes were rectangular and its sculptures were made out of bones, wood, and amber. Some graves of Narva culture have been found to contain ochre, which may have come from Brajniki and Prabuty in northern Poland.

Bronze Age

 From 2300 BC to 1600 BC, the Bronze Age began in Central Europe in the basin of the Danube River and Elbe River. Bronze Age Bell-Beaker culture came to the basins of the Vistula River and Oder River in Poland with small migrating groups from Moravia. It left small cemeteries in central Silesia, Upper Silesia, Lesser Poland, and around Sandomierz in southeastern Poland. New cultures formed as a result in Lesser Poland as well as outside Poland in Slovakia and western Ukraine. These new cultures had elements of Bell-Beaker culture as well as Corded Ware culture in them. It is during this time that Poland becomes divided into western and eastern Poland with western Poland being more developed and closer to important European roads and eastern Poland being more conservative, less developed, and resistant to change. From 2000 BC to 1600 BC, Otomani culture appeared in southern Poland. Otomani culture built streets that ran parallel to one another. It also built acropolises, defenses, and temples with geometric friezes. Otomani culture had hierarchy in its society. Important persons’ graves were located in the middle of Otomani culture’s cemeteries.

  Mierzanowicka culture appeared in the upper and central Vistula River in Poland. Its name comes from a cemetery in Mierzanowice in southeastern Poland. During Mierzanowicka culture’s early phase, its people were mobile with an economy based on animal cultivation. From 2300 BC to 2100 BC, some groups of Mierzanowicka culture confronted sedentary groups of people who domesticated crops and animals on both sides of the western Carpathian Mountains. The result was some groups with Mierzanowicka culture becoming sedentary and practicing agriculture.

 Mierzanowicka culture’s families consisted of four to five people. One settlement could have ten or more families that could in sum be fifty to 100 people. Two to three settlements made a microregion that could hold up to 200 people. 2% of graves in Mierzanowicka culture’s have luxurious items and special decorations. Only older men have these special graves. More graves of men appear than of women and children in Mierzanowicka culture. Beads have been found in graves in Mierzanowicka culture. Cemeteries in Mierzanowice and Szarbia in southern Poland have from 800 to 1,700 beads.

  Mierzanowicka culture built settlements next to cemeteries. In the case of a settlement in Iwanowice in southern Poland, it is separated from a cemetery by a deep ditch. Graves were made out of wooden blocks and rarely appear in stone. In the latter part of the Bronze Age, Mierzanowicka culture’s graves had luxurious goods that show that hierarchy became more important.

 Unetice culture was present in Lower Silesia in southwestern Poland and Lusatia in western Poland. Unetice culture made larger settlements that used more land for agriculture and animal cultivation. Unetice culture’s decorative items and tools made of bronze reached western Turkey and Scandinavia. During its existence, roads developed that linked northern Europe with southeastern Europe. Unetice culture appeared in central Silesia probably because of migrations of small groups of people from the central Danube River through Moravia, the current Czech Republic, and Kłodzko Valley in southwestern Poland. At around 2100 BC,   cemeteries appeared south of Wrocław that had graves with pots and items made of bronze, bones, and flint. From 2000 BC to 1800 BC, local groups appeared with Unetice culture in central Silesia, Lower Silesia, and western Greater Poland.

 Unetice culture had graves with many copper items. Dead bodies were placed in wooden blocks. Graves of important people were placed under burial mounds and decorated with luxurious copper, bronze, and gold items. These graves show that hierarchy was present, and that there was demand for luxury goods. Unetice culture made necklaces, braces, daggers, and pins. Its handmade items were exported through the valley of the Oder River and Elbe River to Pomerania in northern Poland, Mecklenburg in northern Germany, and Denmark. Exports such as amber, bronze, and gold also went south to the basin of the central Danube River and the Aegean Sea.

 Unetice culture fused with other cultures in Poland. One result of the fusion was Płoński group in western Pomerania in northwestern Poland. Its name is from Szczecin- Płonia. Płoński group’s graves had chests made of stone. The other product of Unetice culture’s fusion with other cultures was Iwieńska culture. Iwieńska culture appeared in Kujawy in central Poland. Its name comes from Iwno in north-central Poland. Iwieńska culture had similar traits to Mierzanowicka culture.

 Unetice culture and Mierzanowicka culture eventually disappeared. Their disappearance may be linked to the fall of Czech and German centers of extraction of copper and bronze, as well as the migration of Madziar culture from western Slovakia to southern Poland and northwestern Transylvania. From 1600 BC to 1300 BC, Tumulus culture existed in Poland. Tumulus culture appeared in Poland after Věteřov culture from Moravia or Mad'arovce culture from western Slovakia came to Upper Silesia. During this period, Nowocerekwiański culture appeared in Upper Silesia. Its name is from Nowa Cerekwia in southwestern Poland. Remains of Nowocerekwiański culture include workshops in Jędrychowice that were used to make bronze and copper items. Other items that have been found are tools from bones and horns.

 Pre-Lusatian culture appeared in Poland as the consequence of the migration of people with Tumulus culture to Poland. Pre-Lusatian culture was nomadic. No settlements of its have been found. It is possible that it had portable tents for households. It made copper pins, tools, bracelets, and daggers. Pre-Lusatian culture influenced culture in Pomerania and central Poland. It built burial mounds and placed bronze items in graves, such as pins, daggers, bracelets, and arrowheads. A few items made of stone have been found, such as staffs, arrowheads, and axes. Some bodies were cremated.

 At about 1700 BC, Trzciniec culture appears in the basin of the Vistula River. Trzciniec culture was influenced by different cultures depending on where it was located. In its eastern part, it had Bronze Age traditions. Its southeastern part had Transylvanian traditions. Its western part was under the influence of Tumulus culture. Trzciniec culture came into existence because of the diffusion of spiritual culture that built burial mounds and cremated bodies completely or partially. At about 1700 BC, Trzciniec culture appeared in some areas where Mierzanowicka culture dominated. Many of its graves had multiple people buried in them. When influences from Otomani culture and Tumulus culture appeared in Trzciniec culture later in the Bronze Age, Trzciniec culture adopted cremation and burial mounds from them. Trzciniec culture imported metal and made tools with its own metallurgical workplaces in the basin of the Nida River in western Lesser Poland and in Kujawy in the northern part of central Poland.

 Trzciniec culture had permanent settlements. Most of them appear in the forests and tablelands of Lesser Poland in southern Poland. Trzciniec culture was pastoral as well as sedentary with agriculture. It raised horned cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. It hunted deer, boar, and foxes. It gathered shells and shells of turtles. Its remains include grain and a plow. The plow was found under a burial mound in Okalewo in northern Poland. In 1300 BC, Trzciniec culture was replaced with Urnfield culture when it expanded into Poland.

 Urnfield culture was present in Poland as well as southern Slovakia, northern Hungary, the current Czech Republic, Moravia, Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, and Spain. Urnfield culture cremated its deceased members and placed their ashes in urns. It was sedentary and agriculture held a major important role in it. Fields rotated with different crops or were allowed to lay bare some seasons. Remains of rye have been found from Urnfield culture. Urnfield culture perfected the use of the plow. It raised animals and collected wool from sheep. It used wool to make textiles and it also practiced new techniques of weaving. It had hierarchy with political power, and it fortified its settlements.

 In 1300 BC, Lusatian culture may have arisen as the result of earlier migrations of people. The people who migrated may have had Tumulus culture and Trzciniecki culture. Tumulus culture’s influences can be seen in western Lusatian culture in Poland, while Trzciniecki culture’s influence can be seen in eastern Lusatian culture in Poland. Lusatian culture was a variant of Urnfield culture. It existed in the basins of the Vistula River and Oder River. Its economy was based on agriculture and animal cultivation. It built castle- towns that were tribal centers that served as a place for trade, meetings, and rituals. It practiced cremation.

 There are two periods in the Bronze Age when Lusatian pottery style and bronze decorations spread. The first is in the central part of the Bronze Age when bumps are added to pottery by pushing outward from the inside of pots. The second period is during the latter part of the Bronze Age when pottery is double-sided and fluted. During this second period of the latter part of the Bronze Age, Lusatian culture’s population grew and colonization of unsettled lands occurred in the North European Plain in Poland and the Carpathian Foothills.

 Lusatian culture grew grains such as oats, rye, wheat, spelt, and barley. The plants it grew were poppy-seed, flax, rapeseed, and oleaginous turnips. Better strains of them appeared that allowed them to grow in worse conditions such as the North European Plain in Poland. Lusatian culture burned its fields and used the plow. It raised pigs, horned cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.

 Bronze and lead were important metals to Lusatian culture. The only place to recover bronze ore in Poland was in Lower Silesia. It made sickles, axes, razors, and decorations out of bronze. The other metal used by Lusatian culture was lead that was taken around Olkusz in southern Poland.

 Lusatian culture in Poland imported many goods. Its imports include bronze tools and parts of weapons from Transylvania, northern Slovakia, the eastern Alps, and eastern Thuringia in west-central Germany. Items from Scandinavia were imported and have been found in northern Poland. Products of gold were imported from Slovakia and Transylvania. Some ready-made imports were bought intentionally to just melt them down to make other metal tools. They made a wax model of the tool they wanted first and then added clay to it. The wax was then discarded when the clay was dry and then they poured molten metal into it. Salt is an important item that Lusatian culture is known for. Salt was mined in Wieliczka and Bochnia in western Lesser Poland and by Inowrocław in north-central Poland. Lusatian culture took brine and then evaporated it in vessels to make salt.

 Lusatian culture’s nuclear families were parts of greater clans that consisted of 100 to 150 persons. The land they settled included a radius from twelve to eighteen miles (twenty to thirty kilometers). Thirty to forty clans made up a tribe. Three groups of people have been found in cemeteries of Lusatian culture who were divided according to age. The first group is of children up to six months old. The second group is persons from fifteen to twenty years old. The third group is of persons from twenty-five to thirty-five years old. Lifespans of Lusatian culture are averaged at twenty years. Graves in Lusatian culture rarely appear to have been decorated with luxurious items. No items have ever been found from Lusatian culture with any religious connotation.

 Lusatian culture had two groups. The first arose when Lusatian culture from Silesia migrated to western Lesser Poland and formed the Upper Silesian Lesser Poland group. It cremated its dead as well as buried them without cremating them. The second group was the Tarnobrzegian group. It was in southeastern Poland in the basin of the San River and Wisłoka River. The Tarnobrzegian group had more Transcarpathian influences than eastern Lusatian culture.

 Brandenburg-Lubuski culture appeared after Saxon-Lusatian culture migrated north. It was present in northwestern Greater Poland and Lubusz Land. Its pottery was two-sided.

Iron Age

 At about 750 BC, the Iron Age began in Central Europe. Iron spread very slowly in the Iron Age. Most tools were still made out of bronze. The technology to produce iron products came to Central Europe from the Balkan Peninsula. Iron began to be used in Europe with Halstatt culture and Scythian culture. Iron possessed better properties to create weapons, and it was more available in Europe than bronze. Hematite, limonite, and siderite were gathered to make iron products. These ores were grinded down, cleaned, and calcinated to remove all impurities. They were heated in ovens that could reach 2,373 degrees Fahrenheit (1300 Celcius). This method of producing iron came to Poland in the early Pre-Roman when it was under the influence of Celtic metallurgy.

 Halstatt culture was the first culture of the Iron Age. It is named after Hallstatt in Austria that has a very rich collection of items from the Iron Age. It began on the lands that Urnfield culture occupied after nomadic people from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, such as the Cimmerians, invaded. Halstatt culture in the Iron Age has two periods called Halstatt C that lasted from 750 BC to 600 BC and Halstatt D that lasted from 600 BC to 400 BC. In Poland, Halstatt C culture lasted until 550 BC.

 Halstatt culture had more advanced craftsmanship than Urnfield Culture. Its pottery and tools made from bronze and iron were more sophisticated. Halstatt culture extracted salt on a large scale. It developed trade with the Mediterranean Sea that led to greater wealth. Wealth then led to tribal aristocracies developing in Halstatt culture. Aristocrats built castle-towns and were buried with expensive Greek and Etruscan items in large burial mounds.

 Halstatt culture cremated and inhumed its dead. Inhumation was more often practiced. Some of its graves have two persons in them with one cremated and one inhumed. Items that were put into graves of important persons were bronze vessels, amphorae, and goblets. Some graves of warriors had swords or daggers made of bronze or iron. Other weapons these graves had were spears and bows. Graves of ordinary people had breastpins, pins, bracelets, and buckles of belts. Tools that were placed in graves include sickles, knives, and axes.

 Halstatt culture had many local and unique types of pottery. One characteristic that is present in almost all of them is painting them red on black backgrounds. Its pots were graphitized to make them shiny. Geometrical figures and animal heads were also painted on them. Most of Poland had Lusatian culture in the early part of the Iron Age. Halstatt culture came to Poland first by influence on the Silesian group of Lusatian culture in central Silesia, the southern part of Upper Silesia, and part of Greater Poland up to lower Warta River. Its influence came by means of trade that spread Halstatt culture’s breastpins, swords, and axes. Trade went up north through Silesia to the shores of the Baltic Sea. An item in this trade from the Baltic Sea that Halstatt culture favored was amber. At 550 BC when Halstatt D began, the Silesian group fell apart because of Scythian invasions. The Scythians and Sarmatians were important peoples in Eastern Europe who came from Iran. At around 700 BC, they occupied southern Russia on the border of Europe and Asia. From 700 BC to 600 BC, the Scythians appeared north of the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. From 500 BC to 300 BC, they expanded into the lower Danube River. After the Scythian expansion, the Sarmatians migrated from Iran. From 600 BC to 500 BC, they expanded west of the Don River in Russia where the Scythians previously   occupied. From 200 BC to 100 BC, the Sarmatians conquered the Pontic-Caspian steppes north of the Black Sea and the lands north of the Dniester and Danube River. The Sarmatians are important to Polish history, since from about 1500 AD to 1800 AD, Poland’s nobility believed in Sarmatism – the belief that Polish nobility descended from the Sarmatians.

 From about 600 BC to 580 BC, Scythians expanded to the Pannonian Basin and put a stop to the development of eastern Halstatt culture. Scythians went through the Moravian Gate and reached the left shore of the Oder River and Lusatia in eastern Germany and western Poland. The Scythians burned the castle-town in Wicina in western Poland. Remains of the Scythians in Poland include a golden dagger, armor, and decorations of a Scythian leader in Witaszkowo in western Poland. The Scythians also waged war against Lusatian culture in Chełmno Land in northern Poland. Scythian culture influenced Lusatian culture in Poland. Lusatian culture borrowed earrings, three- sided arrowheads, and pottery style from Scythian culture.

  Remains of the Scythians have been found in several other parts of Poland. Scythian arrowheads have been found in a castle-town in Kamieniec in central Poland that they destroyed. They burned its horses, inhabitants, and gates. Scythian arrowheads have been found in Lusatian culture in the Upper Silesian Lesser Poland group that inhabited the highlands from Częstochowa to Kraków. In Rzędkowice in southern Poland, Scythian weapons made of bronze and horns have been uncovered.

 Another group with Lusatian culture appeared during the Halstatt D period in Poland. Its specific location was in eastern Greater Poland. This group made pottery with inlays with human and animal features. Some pots from this group had scenes of hunting deer by mounted hunters. From Halstatt C to Halstatt D, defenses and castle-towns were built in Poland against military threats coming from the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Castle- towns were built on elevated lands, promontories, and islands. From about 400 BC to 380 BC, Lusatian culture can be found in the Głubczyce Plateau. During the La Tène period, it can also be found in Greater Poland and western   Lesser Poland. One other place where it remained longer was in Lusatia. La Tene culture’s expansion led to Lusatian culture’s demise.

A famous castle-town in Polish prehistory is Biskupin. It is located in eastern Greater Poland on the island of Lake Biskupin. Biskupin was erected from 738 BC to 737 BC. Biskupin had wooden roads. The entrance had a gate made out of oak and a tower. Behind the gate was a small square. Biskupin had over 100 homes built on eleven streets. The streets were from 8.2 to 9.18 feet wide (2.5 to 2.8 meters). Each home had two or three rooms, such as a vestibule, a main room, and a small room. The largest room had a furnace. Biskupin also had buildings used for economic ends. There were from 1,000 to 1,200 inhabitants in Biskupin. Biskupin had embankments that were 9.8 to thirteen feet wide (3 to 4 meters) that were made out of stones, oak, and soil. These embankments may have been 19.6 feet tall (6 meters). Breakwaters were built from thousands of stakes of wood. These breakwaters were from 6.5 to 29.5 feet wide (2 to 9 meters).

 There is only one other castle-town similar to Biskupin in Poland. It is found in Smuszewo in northwestern Poland. Smuszewo’s main street was 16.4 feet wide (5 meters). Smaller streets branched off it. Smuszewo had households similar to huts with a vestibule and a main room.

 At about 450 BC, the Subatlantic period began with cooler weather that changed the ecology in Europe and caused an environmental crisis. Agriculture weakened and disbanded. Economic, social, and settlement patterns changed. Forests regenerated in place of fields that used to have crops. Some parts of northern Europe changed their agricultural practices to adapt to the new environment. Instead of using heavy soil for agriculture, sandy soil was used. Pomeranian culture arose as a result of the new environment. It sprang up from the Kashubian group of Lusatian culture in Pomerania by Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea. It had dispersed settlements. Its people were mobile and were collected in small groups. Pomeranian culture favored land that had dry soil and was more elevated.

 Wielkowiejski culture arose from the Kashubian group of Lusatian culture. It is named after Wielka Wieś in northern Poland. It cremated its dead and placed them in urns shaped like homes and made of clay. House Urns culture in the northern part of central Germany is known for creating such urns. Wielkowiejski culture must have been in contact with House Urns culture.

 Eastern Pomeranian culture appeared in northeastern Poland during Halstatt D. It started out from just the area around Gdańsk in northern Poland and slowly spread in all directions within Poland but mainly southward. It eventually spread to Upper Silesia, Volhynia, Lesser Poland, and Polesia. Its graves were made of slabs or boulders in rectangular shapes. Up to thirty urns were put in such graves. Eastern Pomeranian culture drew faces on its urns. This tradition probably came to central Europe by trade contact with the Etruscans who made such urns from 800 BC to 600 BC in central Italy. From 400 BC to 300 BC, this practice disappeared in Eastern Pomeranian culture along with mass graves. Eastern Pomeranian culture placed inlays in its pottery and carved scenes into it. It also carved pictures of weapons, such as spears, shields, and axes on pottery. Some of its pottery was made in the shape of a human head. It placed breastplates, necklaces, and amber earrings on it. Cloche Grave culture was a branch of Pomeranian culture. It distinguished itself with the tradition of putting a vessel with a coarse exterior upside down on top of an urn. These types of graves can be found in Mazovia and Lesser Poland.

 Western Baltic Kurgan culture appeared in Sambia, Warmia, and Masuria in northeastern Poland during the early part of the Iron Age. It built small settlements with defenses on lakes and man-made islands built from wood. Western Baltic Kurgan culture cremated its dead and placed their ashes in urns, under burial mounds, and in graves made with stone slabs. Western Baltic Kurgan culture prevailingly used products made from bones and stones. It usually imported metal products from Lusatia, Pomerania, and Nordic cultures instead of making them themselves. Western Baltic Kurgan culture was based on an economy that raised animals above all. Agriculture held a small role in it.

La Tène Period

 La Tène culture existed from the 6th century BC to the end of the 1st century BC in Europe. The Celts are the ethnic group that dominated Europe during it. In Poland, both La Tène culture and the Celts existed during the La Tène period.

 The term La Tène comes from La Tène in Switzerland. In its beginning, La Tène culture was influenced by many cultures that include Halstatt culture, Etruscan culture, Greek culture, and Scythian culture. Early La Tène culture’s ornamentations had spirals, animal-shaped designs, and human-shaped designs. It liked to make motifs of human heads, since Celts believed that a decapitated head had magical power. La Tène culture is responsible for spreading richer equipped graves, iron, and blacksmithing.

 Early La Tène culture’s graves include wooden chambers covered with burial mounds. Some aristocratic graves had two-wheeled wagons with the deceased person’s body on them. La Tène culture imported many items from the Etruscans such as bronze bowls and jugs, while only a small amount of items from Greece have been found such as vases painted with red figures.

 The Celts are the main ethnic group that had La Tène culture. The Romans called the Celts Gauls. They were related to Venetian and Italian tribes. The Celts lived in many lands that include Poland, France, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, Belgium, northern Italy, Austria, the British Islands, Czech Republic, Moravia, parts of Hungary, Transylvania, the Balkans, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, parts of the Netherlands, and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine River.

 From around 400 BC to 380 BC, Celtic settlements appeared in southern Poland, Silesia, and Lesser Poland after Celtic expansion into Central Europe. La Tène B1 culture specifically appeared around Wrocław, and it lasted until about 200 BC to 180 BC. Almost thirty cemeteries have been found south of Wrocław in southwestern Poland. They had about twenty graves in each cemetery. The dead were placed on a north-south alignment with their heads facing north. Only a few graves have been found with two bodies. Male graves had shields, spearheads, and swords. Graves of warriors had bracelets, steel belts, clothes, pins, and clay vessels. Female graves had bracelets necklaces, and breastpins.

 Not many remains from the Celts have been found in Poland. Five large stone figures made by Celts have been found in Mount Ślęża in southwestern Poland. These figures include a bear, woman with a fish, mushroom, boar, and “monk.” All five of them have a slanted cross on them. These slanted crosses are cult symbols. The boar sculpture is similar to boar sculptures found in Celtic culture in the Iberian Peninsula.

 From 400 BC to 300 BC, a separate group of Celts migrated from Moravia and appeared in the southern part of Upper Silesia. In Kietrz, a large cemetery has been found with cremated and interred bodies. One grave in Kietrz has pottery made by Lusatian culture and La Tène culture. Its presence shows that both cultures interacted with one another. There is a Celtic settlement in Nowa Cerekwia that may have been a large defended settlement. It is located on a hill. Remains of craft production have been found in it. This settlement lasted from La Tène C to La Tène D. Celtic settlements disappeared on Głubczyce Plateau from about 120 BC to 100 BC. The reason for it vanishing was the migration of a Germanic tribe named the Cimbri from Denmark southward.

 There was a group of Celts called the Tyniecka group living in Lesser Poland north of the upper Vistula River. Its name comes from a village called Tyniec in southern Poland. The oldest remains of Tyniecka group in western Lesser Poland date back to La Tène B from about 300 BC to 280 BC. No burial remains have been found from Tyniecka group. Only remains of settlements have been unearthed.

 The Tyniecka group had three phases of development. The first phase had settlements in Pleszów, Pełczyska, Wyciąże, and Dalewice. It had typical pottery of La Tène culture that had clay mixed with graphite. The second phase started from about 200 BC to 180 BC, and it was characterized with pottery spun on a wheel. The third phase was from 100 BC to 1 BC. During this period, Celts made high-quality and thin pottery on spinning wheels in western Lesser Poland. Ovens have been found that were used to make pots and metal products.

 Celtic coins have been found in Poland that were imported as well as produced locally. The oldest Celtic coins have been found in Gorzów in southern Poland. They may have come from the lands that include the current Czech Republic. In Brzezinka Średzka in southwestern Poland, about thirty golden Celtic coins have been uncovered. At around 50 BC, Celts in Tyniecka group made coins locally in Poland that had equal parts of gold and silver. The molds the Celts used to produce these coins have been preserved to this day.

 Puchowska culture appeared in the Sądecka basin and Żywiecka basin from La Tène C2 and La Tène D2. It was the result of the migration of Celts who lived in western Slovakia. Only remnants of its settlements remain. There are no graves to be seen. It continued to exist during the early Roman period in western Lesser Poland after more Celts migrated out of Slovakia.

Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age

 The Pre-Roman Age took place from 200 BC to 1 BC, while the Roman Age took place from 1 AD to 375 AD. During the Pre-Roman Age in Poland, methods of tilling land changed. Seeds were rotated in fields. Rye was the most important out of all grains. Other grains that were planted include oats, millet, barley, and a few types of wheat. Flax, leguminous plants, and hemp were also planted. It is not known how much land each family used for agriculture in Poland, but in northwestern Barbaricum — land outside the Roman Empire — one family used about thirty hectares. Land was tilled with two kinds of plows that were transverse or multidirectional. During the Roman Age, better tools were used that allowed fields with heavier soil to be put to use. Better tools included sickles that allowed for more efficiency during harvest.

 Horned cattle was the most important type of animal in animal cultivation. Other important animals that were cultivated were geese, pigs, sheep, dogs, chickens, ducks, cats, and goats. Each culture during the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age had its own specific proportions of animals they raised. In Western Baltic culture, about 1/3 of all bones of domesticated animals were of sheep or goats. Not many bones of domesticated horses have been found from the Roman Age. Skeletal remains of horses show that animals had short or average height.

 Fishing and hunting were not very important during the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age. Only a small percentage of bones of animals have been found that came from hunting or fishing. The animals that were hunted were usually deer. Skeletal remains of oxen, boars, bison, and beavers have been found. However, they are rare.

 Artisanship progressed during the Roman Period. Some cultures made high- quality painted pottery and dishes. There were cases of highly-skilled artisans in Poland. The Świętokrzyskie Mountains in southern Poland were a particular point of concentration of about 3,000 metallurgical centers with ovens. Two other important areas in Poland that made iron products were Mazovia and Silesia. Iron products that were crafted included anvils, files, hammers, tongs, pestles, and chisels. Artisans who made these types of products were esteemed just like warriors, seeing that both of their graves were adorned with more items than usual.

 Demographics are difficult to reconstruct from the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age. Even from finding the remains of settlements, population numbers cannot be tallied accurately. Cemeteries may help give a glimpse into population numbers. Cemeteries usually have forty to sixty people buried in them. Some cemeteries have been found with over 100 graves. It has been estimated that there were anywhere from one to ten people per .62 square miles (1 kilometer).

 Open settlements were usually built during the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age. Defenses were present in some cultures. Settlements in Poland ranged in size from one hectare to several hectares. Homes were built from wood with posts and frames.

 During the early Roman Period, pottery was made with a pottery wheel in Barbaricum. In the beginning of the 3rd century AD, Przeworsk culture built bigger centers for pottery. It standardized the shapes of its pots with the use of pottery wheels. It was the result of adapting better technology and organization from Mediterranean cultures. Mass production was possible with these methods. Celts began to use the pottery wheel first in Poland during the Pre-Roman Age.

 Przeworsk culture had a few important areas where the pottery wheel was used. One is by Nowa Huta in southern Poland that existed from the 3rd century AD to the 4th century AD. 150 ovens have been found there that were used to make pottery with a pottery wheel. Another area where a similar amount of ovens have been found is in western Lesser Poland. During the latter part of the Roman Age, Kujawy, Greater Poland, Upper Silesia, and Lower Silesia had smaller production centers of pottery. Pottery wheels made two types of pottery. The first was used for decorations on tables. It had a smooth finish and several decorations. Its shapes were diverse. The second type was rough and used for kitchen use. Ovens with two chambers produced this pottery. 88  89 Not much is known about religion from the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age. In Kujawy in north-central Poland, there are remains of a building with a clay floor with white paint on it that may have been used for rituals. Similar remains have been found in other places. Humans, dogs, and pigs were sacrificed in them. In Otalążka in east-central Poland, there is a shrine between two small streams. Feasts and sacrifices may have occurred there. Weapons and other metallic items have been found in swamps, rivers, and lakes that may have been offered in cult practice. Tacitus says that these offerings were made to the goddess of fertility Nerthus in German paganism.

 Beads and coins are mostly found in Poland from trade with the Roman Empire. Other items that have been found follow in descending order: decorations; weapons; keys; compasses; bells; cotton; wine. These items began to be imported into Barbaricum during the 1st century BC. More began to be imported during the first half of the 1st century AD when the Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi were in contact with the Roman Empire. During this period, Roman items went as far as Scandinavia in Barbaricum.

 The Romans traded for amber in large amounts from the Baltic Sea from the 1st century AD until the 3rd century AD when Rome’s economic crisis began. During Nero’s reign from 54 AD to 68 AD, Romans sailed around Denmark, Germany, and Poland in the Baltic Sea to get amber. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) says in Naturalis Historia (Natural History) that the Romans reached the “coasts of Germania.” During the 4th century AD, imports of amber to Rome increased. Other items the Romans imported from Barbaricum may have been grain, leather, cattle, horses, and slaves.

 The oldest Roman coins in Central Europe come from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century BC. About 70,000 specimens of Roman coins have been found in Poland. In Połaniec in southwestern Poland, 148 Roman dinars have been found. The earliest of these dinars comes from the reign of Emperor Augustus from 27 BC to 14 AD.

 Przeworsk culture existed from 200 BC to 450 AD in Poland. Its name hails from Przeworsk in southeastern Poland. Przeworsk culture is related to Oksywska culture. Oksywska culture is named after a cemetery called Oksywie by Gdynia on the Baltic Sea  coast in Poland. Przeworsk culture and Oksywska culture evolved out of Pomeranian culture and Cloche Grave culture. They were also influenced by La Tène culture.

 Przeworsk culture appeared during a time of economic and social destabilization. There were migrations of the Germanic tribes Bastarnae and Scirii from the basin of the Laba River through Poland that changed Poland’s balance. Przeworsk culture in turn expanded and influenced culture in Denmark, southern Scandinavia, and central Germany.

 Przeworsk culture was present in southwestern Greater Poland, central Silesia, Lower Silesia, Kujawy, and Mazovia. During the early part of the Pre-Roman Age, it expanded into central Poland, northwestern Upper Silesia, Podlasia, and part of Lesser Poland. Its settlement density grew during this period in most places it was present except for Lower Silesia, where many abandoned their land.

 From 40 AD to 80 AD, Przeworsk culture expanded into areas that were not settled, such as Opole Silesia and lower Silesia. Its settlements enlarged. In western Lesser Poland, Przeworsk culture had elements of Celtic culture that can be found in painted pots. A large cemetery from this period is in Kryspinów in southern Poland that has about 120 graves. From 80 AD to 150 AD, Przeworsk culture’s settlements continued to grow in size, and it built completely new settlements. Przeworsk culture expanded southeastward to eastern Slovakia during this period. From 250 AD to 300 AD, Przeworsk culture migrated to northern Greater Poland where Wielbark culture was present. From 350 AD to 450 AD, Przeworsk culture’s extent in the north decreased and the number of its settlements also decreased.

 Przeworsk culture had a group called Masłomęcka group. It was located in the Hrubieszowska basin in southeastern Poland. It is named after a cemetery in Masłomęcz in the region. It buried several bodies in the same graves. Animal bones have been found in some of its graves.

 Przeworsk culture buried its dead with many items starting in the late Pre-Roman Age. Males were buried with knives, weapons, razors, spurs, whetstones, and tools of blacksmiths (anvils, hammers, files, and pliers). Females were buried with knives, breastpins, and buckles. Items that both sexes were buried with include needles, awls, and tweezers. During the early Pre-Roman Age, Przeworsk culture mainly cremated its dead. If it cremated them, their gifts were buried along with them. Larger items were broken. Some graves have been found with interred bodies in fetal positions, but they are rarely found in Przeworsk culture.

 During the Roman Age, Przeworsk culture placed many items in its graves. These items included weapons, decorations, parts of clothes, tools, and pots. When a body was cremated, these items were burned, destroyed, and placed in a grave. Male graves had spurs, weapons, flints, awls, knives, and one pin, while female graves had one or more pins. Male pins were simple, while female pins were decorated. When Przeworsk culture was in its last phase, it did not place many items in its graves.

 Przeworsk culture mainly made spears. They first had wide ends. Later on in the Pre-Roman Age, they became slender. At the end of the Pre-Roman Age, they made them with jagged edges. Long two-edged swords were also made. They were usually placed in iron sheathes, although some bronze sheathes have been uncovered. Celtic influence can be found in Przeworsk culture’s weapons.

 Many items have been found from Przeworsk culture’s settlements. Items that have been found include pottery, stone querns, and axes. There are two types of pottery that Przeworsk culture made. The first type had thin walls, various shapes, and was painted black. This pottery was usually found in graves. The second type is pottery that was less carefully made with thick walls and simple shapes. These pots were used for everyday life.

 Items were imported by Przeworsk culture to Poland from southern Europe. Some of these imports include La Tène culture’s items from Italy and the lands north of the Adriatic Sea. They came through the Amber Road that connected the North Sea and Baltic Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. Bronze items were imported to Poland from Italy that included buckets, bowls, and jugs. Other items that were imported were sheaths, breastpins, and swords. Trade contact with other cultures led to an exchange of artisanal, metallurgical, and blacksmithing techniques. Poland was the beneficiary of these contacts by adapting more advanced methods.

 Remains of Przeworsk culture from the 5th century AD in Jakuszowice in southern Poland show that there was contact with the Huns. It may be even possible that the Huns’ hegemony reached into some settlements in Poland. One grave in Jakuszowice has items that the Huns used in the burial of aristocrats. It has a man buried with his horse, a long sword, golden foil, metal attire, and many other items. He and his people probably adopted the Huns’ culture as a result of trade contact. This grave dates back to the 430s AD. Other items found at Jakuszowice include imports from Rome than include 110 coins, fibulas, glass beads, and rings.

 Remains of the Huns can be found in other parts of Poland. In Przemęczany in Lesser Poland, a grave of a warrior from 400 to 450 AD has an intentionally demented skull that is similar to skulls of the Huns. The Huns tied bandages around their children’s heads when they were very young so their skulls would be long and narrow. This warrior’s grave also has a golden earring that Huns wore. A similar earring has been found in Świlcza in southeastern Poland. In Jędrzychowice in Silesia near the border to Germany, a bronze pot has been found in a female grave that has Hunnic origins.

 Oksywska culture appeared during the Pre-Roman Age by Gdańsk in northern Poland. It last until about 20 AD. From around Gdańsk, Oksywska culture spread to central and western Pomerania. It cremated its dead and puts them in urns. Some burial sites have large processed stones at their heads. Cobblestone can also be found above graves. By the end of Oksywska culture’s existence, it began to bury its dead. It placed items in graves that include parts of tools, clothes, and weapons. Weapons that were included were swords and spearheads. These items were burned as well as destroyed at burial in a ritual.

 Jastorf culture was present in Western Pomerania in the Nadorzańska group from the Pre-Roman Age. It reached from the lower Oder River to the Parsęta river and Noteć River. Before adopting Jastorf culture, Pomeranian culture was present. Pomeranian culture adopted Jastorf culture after a migration of Jastorf culture eastward from its home in the basin of the Elbe River.

 The Nadorzańska group of Jastorf culture only cremated its dead. In its early phase, it usually placed their ashes in urns. Graves had stones at their heads or were covered with cobblestone. Female graves usually had parts of clothes and bronze items. Nadorzańska group did not place tools or weapons in its graves. The Nadorzańska group disappeared in the central part of the early Pre-Roman Age when Oksywska culture or eastern Pomeranian culture expanded.

 The Gubińska group of Jastorf culture was present northwest of Głogów in western Poland. It first appeared in the early Pre-Roman Age. It cremated its dead and placed them in urns. Sometimes it put stones at the heads of its graves. Gubińska group had influences of Przeworsk culture in its pottery. It disappeared after migrations of people from Central Europe westward and southward.

 Western Baltic Kurgan culture appeared in Poland from the lower Vistula River to the lower Nemen River during the early part of the Pre-Roman Age. It had three groups: the western Masurian group, the eastern Masurian group, and the Sambian group. Not much remains of these groups. As a result, little is known about them. It is known that Przeworsk culture had an influence on them, since graves have been found with decorations, cremated bodies, and weapons.

 Puchowska culture appeared in Lesser Poland during the early Pre-Roman Age. Its name derives from Púchov in northern Slovakia. Celtic tribes were present in Puchowska culture. No graves remain of Puchowska culture. Only remains of settlements and fortifications survive. Puchowska culture produced its own coinage. Tacitus says in Germania that other ethnic groups were present in Puchowska culture as well.

 Bogaczewska culture first appeared in the western part of the Baltic Sea during the early part of the Pre-Roman Age. At the end of the Pre-Roman Age and the beginning of the Roman Age, it reached its geographical apex by being present in the Masurian Plain and Masurian Lake District. It cremated and interred its dead. Some graves have the remains of horses and bronze Roman coins.

 Zarubintsy culture was in Polesia in southeastern Poland. It had local groups that include the Middle Dnieper group, Upper Dnieper group, and Polesie group. It arose as the result of many influences that include Jastorf culture, Milograd culture, La Tène culture, Pomeranian culture, cultures north of the Black Sea, and Scythian culture. Zarubintsy culture usually cremated its dead, but some skeletal remains have been found. Graves usually had parts of clothes and metal items in them. Zarubintsy culture disappeared in the early part of the Roman Age. Scythian invasions may have brought its collapse. Wielbark culture appeared on the lands Oksywska culture inhabited. Its name comes from a cemetery in Wielbark in northern Poland. It arose as the result of Roman influence. Wielbark culture went through two phases of development. The first phase is called the Lubowidzka phase that spans from the Pre-Roman Age to the beginning of the Roman Age. It is named after a cemetery in Lubowidz in northern Poland. The second phase is called the Cecelska phase. Its name is from the cemetery Cecele in eastern Poland. Wielbark culture was present mainly in northern Greater Poland, central Pomerania, and Chełmno Land during the Pre-Roman Age. From 150 AD, Wielbark culture expanded eastward into Mazovia, Polesia, and Podlasia.

 Wielbark culture usually cremated its dead, although skeletal remains have been found in some graves that prove that inhumation was practiced. If it buried dead bodies, it put them in coffins made of two halves of a tree trunk. From 80 AD to 150 AD, Wielbark culture settled in the Kashubian Uplands where it built cemeteries with stele, burial mounds, and graves covered with cobblestone. Scandinavian influence was present in the constructions in these cemeteries. Sarmatian influence can be seen in some graves too. Wielbark culture produced decorations out of gold, silver, and bronze. From about 80 AD to 230 AD, metal decorations were made more ornate with intricate detail. Some bracelets had glass beads and heads of snakes carved into them. Its pottery was similar to pottery found around the Elbe River during the latter part of the Roman Age.

 Luboszycka culture was present in Lubusz Land, the northern part of Lower Silesia, and Lusatia in Poland. It lasted up until the early part of the Migration Period that lasted from 300 AD to 500 AD. Luboszycka culture was influenced by Scandinavian   culture, Przeworsk culture, and Wielbark culture. It usually cremated its dead, but before it disappeared, it began to bury its dead without cremation. Its male graves have been found to possess axes.

 Dębczyńska group appeared in the 3rd century AD around the shores of central Pomerania and the basin of the Parsęta River and Rega River in northwestern Poland. It lasted until the end of the 4th century AD or the beginning of the 5th century AD. It was influenced by culture from around the Elbe River. Scandinavia also influenced it in its latter phase. The majority of its graves have skeletal remains. It did not place weapons in its graves.

 Puchowska culture was present in the early part of the Roman Period in the western part of the Carpathian Mountains in Poland. Its settlements expanded in size as the result of the migration of Przeworsk culture to it. Dacian culture from southeastern Europe influenced this region after the migration of the Carpi tribe northward from Dacia.

Ethnicity During the Pre-Roman Age and Roman Age

 From 400 BC to 300 AD, the Lugii lived in most of central and southern Poland in the specific areas of Lesser Poland, Greater Poland, Silesia, and Mazovia. They possessed Przeworsk culture. The word Lugii may come from the Slavonic word лю ́дїе that means people. Their name may also come from the Celtic god Luga or a Celtic location named Lugudunum. It is also possible that they are named after Lugius who was the leader of the Germanic Cimbri tribe. In Polish, Lusatia is Łużyce, which has a resemblance to the Latinized word Lugii. The Lusatian Sorbs may be the descendants of the Lugii. The Lugii were probably a mix of Celtic and Germanic tribes.

 The Lugii were composed of many tribes. Tacitus names the five most powerful tribes that he calls civitates (communities): Helisii, Harii, Helveconae, Manimi, and Nahanarvali. He says that on the lands of the Nahanarvali, there was a cult of the holy grove. Tacitus says the Harii were wild, their warriors defended themselves with black shields, and they painted their bodies. The Lugii were part of a federation that was ruled  by Marbod, who was the ruler of the Germanic Marcomanni tribe. It was based in Bohemia from 9 BC to 19 AD.

 Claudius Ptolemy (90-168 AD), a Greco-Roman writer living in Alexandria, Egypt, says in Geographia that the Lugii lived by the upper Vistula River in Germania Magna or southern Poland. Cassius Dio (155-235 AD), a Roman historian who wrote Roman History in eighty volumes, says that they may have lived in southern Moravia and northwestern Slovakia. Ptolemy also says that the Lugii had three subdivisions of the Lugi-Omani, Lugi-Diduni, and Lugi Buri. Tacitus says the Lugi Buri were a separate people. In 50 AD, Tacitus says in Annales that the Lugii were allied with the Romans when they conquered Vannius’ state of the Quadi in Moravia and Slovakia. From 91 AD to 92 AD, Cassius Dio says in Roman History that the Lugii asked for an alliance from Rome against the Germanic Suebi tribe whom they were waging war against. Emperor Domitian sent 100 horsemen to help them. From 1190 AD to 1208 AD, Wincenty Kadlubek, a famous bishop, historian, and saint, wrote Chronica seu originale regum et principum Poloniae (Chronicles of the Kings and Princes of Poland), in which he confirms that this event happened. From 166 AD to 180 AD, Ptolemy says the Buri, who were part of the Lugii, fought in bellum Germanicum et Sarmaticum (the Marcomannic Wars or the German and Sarmatian War). From 182 AD to 183 AD, emperor Commodus fought the Buri in the Expeditio Burica. In 279 AD, it may be possible that the Lugians were identified with the Longiones tribe according to Zosimus’s Historia Nova that says that emperor Probus defeated them in the province of Raetia by the Lygis River, which is probably Lech River in Austria and Bavaria. A map called Tabula Peutingeriana from the 5th century AD shows the Lupiones-Sarmatae, which may have been the Lugii. The Germanic Vandals lived on Polish lands. They came from today’s southern Norway and northern Denmark. In Poland, they lived between the Vistula River and Oder River. They possessed Przeworsk culture. Ptolemy writes that the Silingai tribe lived in the area that is today Lusatia in western Poland and eastern Germany. During the beginning of the 5th century AD, a document says the Sillingai were a branch of the East Germanic Vandals that migrated with the Hasdingi, Alammani, and Suebi tribes to Spain in 409 AD.

 The East Germanic Burgundians came from Scandinavia and migrated to the Baltic island of Bornhold from which they derive their name. Afterward, they continued to move southward by going to the Vistula basin in central Poland. They were localized north of the Lugii in Poland, and possessed Przeworsk culture. During the 2nd century AD, they may have migrated westward and formed Luboszycka culture that was present in Lusatia, Lubusz Land, part of Lower Silesia, and Brandenburg. Jordanes says in De origine actibusque Getarum (The Origin and Deeds of the Goths) (551 AD) that the Burgundians fought Festida, the king of the Gepids, in the 4th century AD.

 The East Germanic Gepids lived on Polish lands and were related to the Goths. They migrated from southern Sweden and inhabited the southern Baltic coast in the 1st century AD. Jordanes says that their name comes from the third and slowest ship that they sailed on from Sweden that was called gepanta (slow). The Gepids’ first settlements in Poland were at the mouth of the Vistula River in the Carpathian mountains in southern Poland. In the 3rd century AD, they migrated to the lands north of the Black Sea, and in the end of the 4th century AD, the Gepids became part of the Huns.

 Tacitus says that Goths lived north of the Lugii in Poland. The specific lands in Poland that they occupied were probably around the lower Vistula River and Chełmno Land. In the early part of the 1st century AD, the Goths came from Sweden to northern Poland. When they arrived in the southern Baltic Sea coast in and around Poland, they conquered the Ulmerugi and Vandal tribes. Their name may be derived from the Swedish provinces of Östergötland and Västergötland, the island of Gotland, or the term Götar that meant an inhabitant of southern Sweden. In Poland, they created Wielbark culture. In the second half of the 2nd century AD, Goths with Wielbark culture expanded northeastward into Mazovia by pushing out people with Przeworsk culture. Tacitus says that the Goths had five kings when they lived in the lower Vistula River in Poland before they migrated southward to the area north of the Black Sea in the beginning of the 3rd century AD. They may have lived in Poland for over 150 years.

 The Vistula Veneti’s base was at the mouth of the Vistula River in northern Poland. Ptolemy (90-168 AD) says in Geographia that they lived in Sarmatia above the lower Vistula River and around the Gdańsk Bay. From the 2nd century AD, the Romans believed that Germania stretched from the Rhine River to the Vistula River, while Sarmatia was east of the Vistula River. They may have lived along the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. The Tabula Peutingeriana shows the Veneti lived north of Dacia. It gives them the name V enadisarmatae. Some ancient sources say the V eneti inhabited northeastern Italy, Macedonia, and Brittany. Later sources, such as Jordanes’ De origine actibusque Getarum, say the Veneti are Slavic.

 The Aesti lived in northeastern Poland. Ptolemy wrote about them in Geografia and Cassiodorus (485-585 AD) wrote in Variae that king Theodoric of the Ostrogoths wrote a letter to them. Tacitus says they gathered amber, and that they were conquered by the Ostrogothic king Hermanaryk. The Aesti were probably a Baltic people that belonged to Western Baltic culture. Eesti in Estonian means Estonia. Some Latin sources called them Estia or Hestia.

 The Galindae and Soudinoi may have lived by the Masurian Lake District in northeastern Poland. Ptolemy says in Geografia that they lived from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Azov in southeastern Europe. Both of these tribes belonged to Western Baltic culture. In 1326, Peter of Dusburg wrote in Chronicon terrae Prussiae (The Chronicle of the Prussian Land) that the Galindo and Sudua lived in the Masurian Lake District. They are the ancestors to the Baltic Prussians who the Germans assimilated after the Teutonic Knights began their crusade against them to make them Christian during the 13th century AD.

 Maps from antiquity show what the ancients knew about the lands that Poland current possesses. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa’s (64/63 BC to 12 BC) map of the world from 44 BC to 27 BC shows that the Vistla, Visvla, or Vistula River was the border between Germania and Dacia. In 43 AD, Pomponius Mela’s map says the Vistula River is the border between Sarmatia and Asia. Maps created on the basis of Ptolemy’s Geographia show that the Vistula was the border between Germania and Sarmatia.

 The Sarmatians are important to understand, since much of Poland was called Sarmatia according to the Romans. After the Sarmatians supplanted the Scythians north of the Black Sea, ancient Romans began to use the term Sarmatia instead of Scythia for much of Eastern Europe even though Sarmatians did not inhabit all the lands that they named after them. Agrippa’s map shows that Sarmatia and Dacia were part of old Scythia. Slavic tribes inhabited much of ancient Sarmatia in later centuries.

Migration Period

 The Migration Period lasted from 300 AD to 700 AD. The oldest remains that have been found from this era in Poland are gold and silver items in Świlcza that date back to 433 AD and two other items found in Sławęcin that date from 450 AD to 457 AD and Prusiek from 435 AD to 450 AD. From 450 AD to the beginning of the 6th century AD, remains have been found in central Poland, the basin of the Warta River, and the central parts of the Bzura River and Prosna River that show Roman influence. In a cemetery in Oszczywilk, three skeletal remains have been found that date from 450 AD to 600 AD. A skeleton in Mniszki dates from around 550 AD. A glass cup has been found in Piwonice that dates to 450 AD to 500 AD. In Przewóz, a richly decorated buckle has been found that comes from the end of the 5th century AD or the beginning of the 6th century AD. In Konarzewo, a Roman coin has been unearthed with emperor Zeno on it that was minted by Flavius Odoacer who deposed Rome’s final emperor Romulus Augustus in 476 AD.

  Small items have been found in other parts of Poland. In Radziejów in Kujawy, a bronze breastpin has been found that dates to around 500 AD. In Wapno in northwestern Poland, Scandinavian bracteates have been found that date from 450 AD to the beginning of the 5th century AD.

 From 450 AD to 525 AD, many items have been found in Pomerania in northern Poland. These items include remains of graves, settlements, weapons, late Roman coins, and early Byzantine coins. At about 550 AD, coins stopped appearing in Pomerania, as the result of collapse of the Gepids, the departure of the Langobards to Italy, and the expansion of the Avars to the Pannonian Basin. The last coins found there are from Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I Dicorus’ reign from 491 AD to 518 AD. These coins appeared as the result of trade and migrations.

 Western Balkan culture may have continually been inhabited during the first part of the Migration Period from 300 AD to 500 AD. During this period, it expanded westward by occupying the right shore of the lower Vistula River in two phases. The first was from about 450 AD to the beginning of the 6th century AD, while the second was from 550 AD to the 7th century AD. It left behind cemeteries in these lands.

 Western Balkan culture had a group called Olsztyńska group that first appeared from 450 AD to 500 AD. It is named after Olsztyn in northeastern Poland. It was present in the Masurian Lake District in northeastern Poland. It cremated its dead and left them in urns with windows. Some male graves have skeletal remains of horses. These graves have their own designated area in cemeteries. Tumiany in northern Poland and Kielary in northeastern Poland have two cemeteries of the Olsztyńska group. The graves there have items from other parts of Europe that came as the result of trade contact. Some of the items that have been found in graves include richly decorated pins that were usually silver and sometimes golden. Other items include bronze and silver buckles. A buckle with eagle heads or griffins has been found in Kosew in central Poland.

 During the early part of the Migration Period, cultures collapsed on the majority of Polish lands. During the first half of the 5th century AD, Przeworsk culture had many settlements in the basin of the upper Vistula River, but during the second half of that same century, there were no remains of settlements in that area as well as central and southern Poland. During that same period, Mazovia and Podlasia are also believed to have been uninhabited. During the beginning of the 6th century AD, Silesia and Lusatia may have not been inhabited. It is possible that the people who inhabited these lands previously migrated out of Poland.


  During the 530s AD, the first phase of Slavic migration started by moving to the lower Danube River. Afterward, they migrated southward to the Balkans and the Peloponnesian Peninsula and northward to eastern Slovakia. From 550 AD to 600 AD, Slavs appeared in Moravia and the current Czech Republic. Around 550 AD, Slavs migrated to the lands between the Oder River and Elbe River in today’s Germany and Poland. They also moved to Mecklenburg in northern Germany.

 The first traces of Slavs appear in Poland in the 6th century AD. They left undecorated pots, items in graves, and the remains of settlements behind. Jordanes says in De origine actibusque Getarum (551 AD) that the Slavs had two branches. The first branch was the Antae who were a tribal union that lived north of the lower Danube River and Black Sea in today’s Moldavia and Ukraine from the 6th century AD to the 7th century AD. They possessed Penkovka culture. They were an early-Slavic speaking people that may have spoke Iranian or East Germanic. They had a foedus (alliance) with the Byzantine Empire. The second branch was the Sclaveni who lived by the Antae. The lands they occupied were in the lower Danube River in today’s Wallachia in Romania and Moldavia in southeastern Europe. Their settlements went as far as the source of the Vistula River in southern Poland.

 Greeks in the Byzantine Empire called Slavs Σκλαβινίαι. Western Romans called them Sclavinae in Latin. Procopius of Caesarea (500-565 AD) says that the Antae and Sclaveni had a common language, fought with spears and no shields, believed in gods that threw thunder, and lived in poorly made homes. In The Wars of Justinian, Procopius of Caesarea says that that when the Heruli tribe left the area of the central Danube River back to Scandinavia in 512 AD, they went through the lands of Slavic tribes that were north of the Carpathian Mountains and then through Silesia and Lusatia.

 Many cultures were present in the lands that the early Slavs inhabited. Prague culture was present in southeastern Poland during the 5th century AD. It arose in the central basin of the Dnieper River and spread to Poland. The eastern part of Prague culture is called Korchak culture. It is present in the lower Prut River, Dniester River, and southern Boh River around today’s Romania and Ukraine. Penkovka culture was present from the Seversky Donets River in the Central Russian Upland east of today’s Ukraine to the Sula River in central Ukraine to the Ros River in Ukraine. The Antae inhabited these lands. Kołoczin culture was present from the upper Dnieper River in Ukraine to the Desna River that is in western Russia and northern Ukraine. Bancerowszczina-Tuszemla culture was north of Kołoczin culture in the upper Dnieper River, the upper Daugava River, and upper Neman River. It may have been Slavic or Baltic.

 Prague culture, Penkovka culture, and Kołoczin culture pasted their pottery together. Penkovka culture and Korchak culture had elements of culture from the Pontic-Caspian steppe. All of these Slavic cultures used simple means to make pottery. They did not use pottery wheels, and they did not possess any centers that produced iron. However, metal objects have been found. Iron knives and hooks have been uncovered. Bronze pins have also been found. Their settlements were usually small and open. During the end of the 6th century AD or during the 7th century AD, fortifications arose.

 Early Slavic cultures settled near rivers outside of valleys. In Poland, Slavs settled in lands that were close to areas rich in plants and animals. Most early Slavic settlements in Poland were small and unsophisticated, although some settlements by Nowa Huta and Kraków say otherwise. Eleven Slavic homes have been found on the left bank of the Vistula River in between Kraków and Igołomia. It is the largest concentration of homes made by the earliest Slavs in Poland.

 A typical early Slavic home is square with four walls. It is about 32.8 feet (10 meters) by 49.2 feet (15 meters). It has an oven or furnace. There is also a small pit built into some. Some homes also have rooms for animals. No organic items remain from early Slavic homes.

 Early Slavs usually cremated their dead and placed them in urns in individual graves in small cemeteries. Agriculture was most important to their sustenance, while animal cultivation was less significant. Wheat and millet were the main crops they planted. Cattle was mostly raised, while goats, pigs, and sheep were of secondary importance. Fishing, hunting, and gathering played important roles for the early Slavs.

 Early Slavic cultures settled near rivers outside of valleys. In Poland, Slavs settled in lands that were close to areas rich in plants and animals. Most early Slavic settlements in Poland were small and unsophisticated, although some settlements by Nowa Huta and Kraków say otherwise. Eleven Slavic homes have been found on the left bank of the Vistula River in between Kraków and Igołomia. It is the largest concentration of homes made by the earliest Slavs in Poland.

 The earliest Slavic settlements in Poland were in the basin of the San River, the upper Vistula River by Kraków, the Sądecka basin, by Sandomierz, and by Lublin. Other early Slavic settlements have been found in Mazovia and by Żukowice. They appeared from 450 AD to 600 AD. During the end of the 6th century AD and the beginning of the 7th century AD, Slavs appeared in western Pomerania. A group called Sukow-Dziedzice appeared in Greater Poland and Lower Silesia that did not leave behind any graves. 122 Slavs in Poland were in contact with the Avars. The Avars were nomadic warriors who ruled parts of Central and Eastern Europe from the 6th century AD to the 9th century AD. They came from the Pontic-Caspian steppe that is in today’s southwestern Russia and western Kazahkstan. From 567 AD to 568 AD, they occupied the land by the central Danube River and Tisza River. From 600 AD to 650 AD, items made of bronze and horns by the Avars have been found in two places by Kraków-Nowa Huta in southern Poland. During the 8th century AD, other items made by the Avars have been found. Their presence show that there was contact between the earliest of Slavs in Poland and the Avars.

 During the 7th century AD, many changes occurred in Poland. Slavic settlements grew in size. At about 650 AD, Slavs began to use pottery wheels and make pottery with ornamentation. They also began to build burial mounds in their cemeteries. From 600 AD to 650 AD, they began to build settlements with defenses. They can be found in Szeligi in central Poland and Haćki in eastern Poland. From the 7th century AD to the 10th century AD, Slavic settlements continued to grow in size, their use of the pottery wheel spread, and the practice of building burial mounds widened among them. During the 8th century AD, Slavic castle-towns first appeared in Poland.