Settlements Pottery of the pre-Roman Iron Age in Central European Barbaricum - new research perspectives

International Workshop

Poznań, December 2-5, 2015


Instytut Prahistorii Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Zakład Chemii Analitycznej Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Centrum Archeologiczne Fundacji Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Institut für Prähistorische Archäologie Freie Universität Berlin

Time stops for no one. It has already been two years since the Berlin workshop Eisenzeitliche Siedlungskeramik der Przeworsk-Kultur. The subject matter of that meeting, which was to be focused on the pottery of the earlier pre-Roman period, reminiscent of the so-called Przeworsk-style, actually revealed a much more complex image of the pottery traditions of the period. Studies, conducted mostly in connection with large-scale investments that are currently under way both in Germany as well as in Poland, have led to a significant increase in the amount of new source materials. Numerous pottery collections gathered in the course of said studies provided a new quality of sources that do not entirely conform to our present understanding of pottery production in the pre-Roman times. The unique character of these new artifacts is undoubtedly due to the fact that most collections comprise residual materials, which undoubtedly differ from items found in burial complexes, based on which our current understanding of the subject was built. The Berlin workshop also proved that our systems for defining ceramic artifacts of the period, existing separately in Polish, German, Danish or Czech archaeology, are not always compatible. This led to the observation that trends in pottery identified for the earlier pre-Roman period and the territory of Central European Barbaricum do not fit the classic definitions and, as such, go beyond the generally accepted wisdom on the subject. One very important conclusion reached in Berlin was that in the earlier pre-Roman period in Central Europe we can talk about a broadly-understood stylistic trend characteristic for all cultural regions of the area; similar, yet showing evident local differences. It may be the result of the high level of activity and mobility of then-existing societies, whose representatives would travel hundreds of miles and interact with other cultures and at the same time contribute to the development of specific styles used by said cultures. Maybe this is exactly why we’ve recently seen a surge in the discovery of ceramic materials classified as belonging to the Przeworsk culture west of the homogenous area of settlement of Przeworsk-type communities? Or a similar increase of Jastorf-type findings to the east of that cultural region? And to what extent could these artifacts have been affected by Celtic culture through the process of latenization? The questions became very topical recently, providing a basis for further studies of the aforementioned issues. We hope that the subject will be touched upon during the upcoming meeting.

For this year's workshop we intend to turn our attention to other groups of materials, dated to between the 3rd and 1st century B.C., to study examples of how this ceramic trend, characteristic for the earlier pre-Roman period in Central Europe, developed. The focus will be placed on items that in recent years in Poland have been defined as "Jastorf-type ceramics". Comparing those, both in terms of technology and style, primarily with materials collected in the actual Jastorf region, we will attempt to identify any similarities and differences. Based on these observations we would like to conclude if the pottery collections from Poland, the Czech Republic or Romania have in fact been influenced by communities inhabiting the western section of Central Europe? And if so, do these influences originate from one or rather several regions of the broadly-defined Jastorf civilization? Was this impact direct or maybe indirect? Perhaps we will also be able to conclude to what extent do these materials overlap with or differ from ceramic items defined as belonging to the Przeworsk culture? To that effect we will look at new methods of researching earthenware materials, particularly at interdisciplinary archaeometric studies that combine the traditional approach of archaeology with modern chemistry-based methods of analyzing historical artifacts, seeking to identify "fingerprint" qualities, which could aid in determining features characteristic for the pottery of specific cultural-chronological units of the earlier pre-Roman period. Additionally, we wish to determine their usefulness in defining the hetero/homogeneity of presently discovered collections. We hope that new research perspectives will become the leitmotif of our meeting and the starting point for our talks, which should result in a deeper understanding of not only pottery, but also the actual cultural composition of Central Europe in the final two centuries before the Common Era.

We invite you to join us in Poznań, and also to bring with you examples of artifacts that will complement your presentations, so as to lend a practical aspect to our discussions.


of Prehistory ..