Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 3 (twenty four earthen mounds), Guciów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 3 (twenty four 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 barrow cemetery in Guciów (site 3) is located about 500 m to the west of the Guciów village buildings and about 300 m to the south of the road leading from Guciów towards Obrocz. It is situated on a small hill the left-bank part of the valley of a nameless watercourse flowing into the Wieprz river. It is located within the boundaries of forest division no. 195 of the Zwierzyniec Forest District, at the site known locally as ‘Popławek’, in the area of the Roztocze National Park. Due to additional legal protection the site and the immediate surroundings have been excluded from forest management. The cemetery consists of twenty four burial mounds numbered 36 to 59, which are arranged in a semicircle from the north to the south and to the south-west. Small earthen mounds are located in three clusters (three barrows and eight and thirteen barrows in each) in an area covering about 1 ha. Their earthen structures are roughly circular and oval in shape, and measure, on average, 0.3-0,7 m in height and 7-8 m in diameter. Researchers have not noted any severe 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 under consideration 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 3) which is located within the area of the current village of Guciów was functioning in the Early Middle Ages (7th/8th c. - 8th/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. At that time, burial mound no. 43 was entirely investigated. 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. Mound no. 43, which has been entirely investigated, is located in the group of eight barrows situated in the northern part of the cemetery. The poor state of preservation of the structure at this location is due to the erosion of the layers which proceeds on steeply sloping surface of the mound to the north. Prior to archaeological investigations the earthen structure of the burial mound was 0.6 m in height. The base was circular in shape and was 7-8 m in diameter. During the investigations researchers determined the layering of the mound and found hollows formed by excavating earth to the north-west. The hollows have the shape of a ditch which is 1.5 m wide and 0.4 m thick. Researchers found that it was highly probable that the burial mound contained an urn grave located in the pit and a certain form of a grave on the surface of the mound, in which most likely one dead person (or a few more) was buried. Archaeologists also analysed pieces of ceramics and managed to identify fragments of fifteen vessels, which were deposited in several clusters, with the exception of several dozens of shells of one specimen and single fragments of ceramics from six different vessels found within one cluster. 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 barrow 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, 16.08.2014.

 

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. 85-86.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wyniki wstępnych badań wczesnośredniowiecznego zespołu w Guciowie, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, pp. 115-126.

General information

  • Type: Barrow
  • Chronology: koniec VII w. - początek 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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