Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 2 (seven earthen mounds), Guciów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 2 (seven earthen mounds)

Guciów

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The barrow cemetery contains the remains of a large settlement complex dating from the Early Middle Ages, which is one of the best preserved complexes of this type in Poland. The complex includes: a fortified settlement and open ancillary settlements adjacent to the fortified centre, and several barrow cemeteries (whose number currently ranges from several to over a hundred barrows), located mostly along the left bank of the Wieprz river. The site is a unique feature of the landscape of the Roztocze National Park and Roztocze.

Location and description

The cemetery in Guciów (site 2) is located approx. 300 m to the west of the western end of the village, to the south of the road leading from Guciów towards Obrocz and the barrow cemetery (site 1), in the part of the forest known locally as ‘Popławek’, right alongside the ditch that separates the private forests from state forests (to the west of it). It is situated on the alluvial terrace of the large valley of the Wieprz river, in the state forest belonging to the Roztocze National Part, within forest division no. 101 of the Zwierzyniec Forest District. Due to additional legal protection the site and the immediate surroundings have been excluded from forest management. The cemetery, which is located on two small sand hills (dunes), consists of seven earthen mounds numbered 26 to 32, situated in two groups of three and four barrows. Their earthen structures are roughly circular in shape, and measure, on average, about 0.5-0,7 m in height and about 7-8 m in diameter. Researchers have not noted any intensive levelling of the mounds, since the forest surroundings effectively protects the earthen structure against erosion by water or other natural agents, as well as any traces of activity of ‘treasure hunters’ in this area. The location of the barrows within the boundaries of the Roztocze National Park is conducive to their protection and protects them against unwanted interference with the historic structure of the site.

History

The barrow cemetery (site 2) which is located within the area of the current village of Guciów was functioning in the Early Middle Ages (7th/8th c. - 9th c.). It was founded as one of several cemeteries in the vicinity of a dynamically functioning fortified settlement and open ancillary settlements adjacent to it.

The barrows in Guciów were recorded for the first time by Mikołaj Stworzyński in the early 19th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Exploratory investigations were carried out by J. Machnik and A. Kulczycka-Leciejewiczowa (Department of Archaeology of Lesser Poland of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków) in 1959. The investigations of site 2 involved excavating an elongated 0.5-metre wide survey ditch through the whole earthen structure of burial mound no. 29. The location and height plan of the site and preliminary inventory of the barrows were drawn up by J. Fellmann under the supervision of M. Drewki in 1955. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out by H. Wróbel in 1983. Burial mound no. 29, which has been partially investigated based on a survey excavation, is located in the northern group of four barrows. Prior to archaeological investigations the earthen structure of the mound was 0.6 m in height. The base was circular in shape and was around 7-8 m in diameter. Investigations of the northern and western side of the mound have revealed traces of a ditch running alongside the barrow. During the investigations researchers determined the layering of the interior of the earthen structure of the mound, including traces of burnt material at the base of the mound, while an investigation of the layer of an undisturbed sand soil revealed two obscurations positioned across the excavation, at a distance of 0.8 m in parallel to each other. Researchers have found that originally the mound was smaller in diameter than currently. The earthen structure of the burial mound was limited by a ditch alongside the mound. The barrow contained an unspecified number of cremation urn graves, most probably on the surface of the mound. Excavations of the site have uncovered fragments of three vessels, including two vessels under the turf on the northern and southern slopes and in the fill of the ditch running alongside the barrow, and the third vessel in the cremation layer. During the later surface surveys and ad-hoc reconnaissance investigations of the earthen structure of the mounds and the immediate surroundings did not reveal the presence of movable archaeological monuments.

Limited access to the monument. Viewing of the cemetery is only possible by arrangement with the management of the Roztocze National Park.

Compiled by Ewa Prusicka-Kołcon, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 15.09.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Fellmann J., Pomiary grodzisk i cmentarzysk w Polsce. Metody geodezyjnej inwentaryzacji powierzchniowej, [in:] Metodyka naukowo-techniczna badań archeologicznych i antropologicznych, „Rozprawy Zespołu Badań nad Polskim Średniowieczem UW i PW” 1967, vol. 4, p. 29, 46-48, table XXVI-XXVII.
  • Gurba J., Orłowski R., Mikołaj Stworzyński - nieznany inwentaryzator grodzisk południowej Lubelszczyzny z początków XX w., „Wiadomości Archeologiczne” 1956, vol. 23, pp. 69-70.
  • Kaczanowski K., Analiza antropologiczna wczesnośredniowiecznych pochówków ciałopalnych z Guciowa, pow. Zamość, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, p. 183 et seq.
  • Machnik J., Badania archeologiczne na Roztoczu Lubelskim w 1959 roku, „Sprawozdania
  • Archeologiczne” 1961, vol. 12, pp. 89, 95-99.
  • Nosek S., Materiały do badań nad historią starożytną i wczesnośredniowieczną międzyrzecza Wisły i Bugu, „Annales UMCS” 1951, vol. 6, sec. F, pp. 365, 380.
  • Pawlikowa B., Węgle drzewne z wczesnośredniowiecznych kurhanów ciałopalnych w Guciowie, pow. Zamość i Kornatce, pow. Myślenice, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, p. 192.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wczesnośredniowieczne cmentarzyska ciałopalne na terenie Polski, Wrocław 1975, part 1: Źródła, pp. 80-81.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wyniki wstępnych badań wczesnośredniowiecznego zespołu w Guciowie, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, pp. 115-126.

General information

  • Type: Barrow
  • Chronology: wczesne średniowiecze (VII/VIII - IX w.)
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Guciów
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district zamojski, commune Zwierzyniec - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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