Inheritance, social network or local adaptation? Bronze and Early Iron Age societies in western Małopolska – general objectives and assumptions of the project ?>

Inheritance, social network or local adaptation? Bronze and Early Iron Age societies in western Małopolska – general objectives and assumptions of the project

Marcin S. Przybyła, Karol Dzięgielewski, Anna Gawlik, Marta M. Korczyńska, Michał Mazur, Tobias L. Kienlin, Jan Chochorowski

To cite this article please use the following: Przybyła M.S., Dzięgielewski K., Gawlik A., Korczyńska M.M., Mazur M., Kienlin T.L., Chochorowski J. 2015 Inheritance, social network or local adaptation? Bronze and Early Iron Age societies in western Małopolska – general objectives and assumptions of the project, article submitted to the website at

Abstract: The basic goal of the project is an attempt to formulate an answer to the following question: when, and in what circumstances, the culture of past societies was determined by such factors as vertical and horizontal transmission of cultural attributes, and when the decisive role was played by the adaptation to local environment. The dynamics of cultural change in four thoroughly investigated settlement regions (test areas) in western Małopolska (southern Poland), intensively occupied for a long time and representing various ecological zones, will be compared to achieve this goal. Our research will not be limited to tracing selected attributes and verifying single hypotheses, but we will instead attempt to formulate a comprehensive answer to the question of which of the attributes were purely adaptive, which reflected the inter-generation transfer of tradition, and which were the derivatives of events occurring within the network of inter-population contact.


Scientific objectives of the project

            The basic goal of the project is to attempt formulating an universal answer to the following question: when, and in what circumstances, the culture of past societies was determined by such factors as vertical and horizontal transmission of cultural attributes, and when the decisive role was played by the adaptation to local environment (Figs. 1-3). In the field of anthropology and archaeology, such a goal can only be achieved based on large collection of source material representing adequately long chronological perspective and originating from adequately diversified eco- and geo-systems. Apparently, the above criteria are met by the collection, which have been gathered for years, of Bronze and Early Iron Age materials (2400-350 BC) originating from several selected regions in Małopolska (southern Poland).


Figs 1-3 (from the left): Vertical transmission of culture – autonomous, conservative societies; Horizontal transmission of culture – network societies; Environmental adaptation – autonomous, flexible societies

The problem outlined above has long been discussed in archaeology and – broader – in social sciences. There are not many scholars radical enough to explain the cultural diversity of man with a single reason, although usually one particular model is emphasised in such explanations. Is cultural diversity similar – as proposed by the culture-historical school, recently supported by many evolutionists – to biodiversity and develops through branching of traditions inherited between generations with only slight modifications (so that we can speak of an ‘essence’ of cultural tradition, typical of certain groups in long cycles of historic processes) (e.g. O’Brien, Lyman 2005; Collard et al. 2006; Mesoudi 2011)? Or perhaps is the decisive role played by diffusion – blending of cultural traditions as a result of unique historical events, and the horizontal transmission of patterns within ‘network society’ (e.g. Bentley, Lake, Shennan 2005; Brughmans 2013)? Or, finally, does the diversity of culture result from tight adaptation to local ecological niche, as adaptationists (e.g. Nettle 2009) propose?

            In anthropology, recent decades have brought the renewed interest in this discussion, mainly due to the development of comparative methods and the accompanying tools for verifying the affinity between the analysed populations (e.g. Mace, Jordan 2011). The basic methodological assumptions of comparative anthropology consist in gathering standardised data about as many societies as possible, and using them to verify research hypotheses by means of the analysis of correlations between particular variables. The scientific interest is focused here on the attributes and their changeability in various contexts rather than on single, holistically analysed cases. Regardless of the discussion on its details (e.g. Testart 2013), the undisputed successes of this method in anthropology encourage undertaking similar studies based on archaeological record.

            Although the comparative method itself is very popular in prehistoric research, and the attempts at standardisation of selected categories of sources in regional scale often produced inspiring results (e.g. Czebreszuk 2001), there are only very few works which apply this method and adopt the deductive manner of reasoning, typical of comparative anthropology. What is more, they are usually focused on the analysis of single behaviours or social institutions based on the data sets in which the traditions are described in a rather simplified manner and defined at the level of archaeological cultures or groups exploiting single sites (Peregrine 2001; Przybyła 2013).

            The research procedure we propose is different. We are going to apply the comparative method to analyse the dynamics of cultural change in several thoroughly investigated settlement areas, intensively occupied for a long time and evenly distributed within a wider territory, but at the same time representing various ecological zones. Moreover, our research will not be limited to tracing selected attributes and verifying single hypotheses, but we will instead attempt to formulate a comprehensive answer to the question of which of these attributes were purely adaptive (fig. 1), which reflected the inter-generation transfer of tradition (fig. 2), and which were the derivatives of events occurring within the network of inter-population contact (fig. 3).


Fig. 4. Location of test areas 1-4 in western Małopolska (southern Poland)

With the research objective defined as above, maintaining the proper methodological regime requires adequate construction of the source basis, which should not only be standardised, but also contain as complete and detailed set as possible of empirically detectable attributes of culture. In this context, it is worth emphasising the advantages of the group of sources proposed for the analysis. The data come from four settlement areas (fig. 4), situated in four different landscape zones in the upper Vistula basin (Western Little Poland Loess Upland, the upper Vistula valley, the Carpathian Foreland, the West Carpathians – fig. 5) and which functioned throughout nearly entire Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. Although western Małopolska has been the place of intensive archaeological investigation for more than half a century (e.g. the excavations in Kraków-Nowa Huta), we selected the regions which only in the last decade became place of modern research conducted by the investigators of this project. For most of these areas, the examination of artefacts from selected sites has been completed or is highly advanced, and the settlement network is well investigated (compare chapter 2; table 1 below the text). Moreover, the data are already standardised to a considerable degree due to the fact that the methodological approach adopted in excavating particular sites was influenced by the discussion and mutual inspirations within the group of project investigators. The part of project description which addresses the methodology of research (chapter 4) offers the description of the applied research procedures and contains the list of variables which will be included into the comparative analysis.


Fig. 5. Location of the test areas within various geosystems: 1 – Loess Upland of western Małopolska – Nida valley, 2 – the upper Vistula valley – western part of the Sandomierz Basin, 3 – Carpathian Foreland – middle Dunajec valley, 4 – West Carpathians – upper Dunajec valley

The significance of the project and the state of research

            The importance of the proposed project can be analysed/seen from three perspectives. As the project’s goal is to use particular example to thoroughly analyse a more general issue of the role of adaptation and ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ cultural transmission, the results will provide important arguments in the current debate on these issues. This is especially important given the still small number of studies in this field which would base on large and adequately standardised sets of archaeological data (see Collard et al. 2006 – with discussion therein). The second perspective is the development of the methodology of comparative analyses in archaeology. We have access to the collection of sources which is unique in terms of its diversity and the extent of its investigation, and we are going to make use of it to test new techniques of description and exploration of archaeological data (based on qualitative and quantitative data) and to develop the methodological tools for their interpretation. The third field where the project results may prove beneficial are regional studies on the Bronze and Early Iron Age in western Małopolska. Although the planned publication will be an extensive case study rather than the monographic study of a region, it will nevertheless be the first comprehensive synthesis of archaeological sources from the discussed region and time since more than half a century (compare Durczewski 1946; Gedl 1982). Its additional value lies in the fact that it may serve as a benchmark for further regional studies.

            The final, measurable result of the project will be a monograph presenting the sources, the results of comparative analyses and the conclusions, discussed in broader theoretical context. Due to the universal character of the researched issues we also intend to publish the results in shortened form as a paper in one of interdisciplinary journals dedicated to studies on cultural evolution. Partial results of research, as well as detailed source studies, will be regularly published in professional journals and presented on archaeological conferences and congresses. The very important, and active, element of the project will be its web site. It will be used not only to present the project assumptions and current progress in its realisation, but also to popularise the  analytical approach in archaeology. The site will also present exemplary analyses with detailed description of the techniques applied, short papers about interpretational problems, and ready templates (e.g. technological databases for pottery) which will help in standardising the description of archaeological sources.

Table 1 (at the end of the paper) presents the current state of archaeological and paleoenvironmental investigation of the test areas (compare fig. 6), adjusted to the need of the planned comparative analysis. It also lists the tasks necessary to standardise the data from particular regions. Some of these tasks are common for all the test areas, while other are required only for selected regions.


Fig. 6. State of archaeological investigation of four test areas in western Małopolska in 2014


Research procedure: general assumptions

            At the beginning of the project, three equivalent research hypotheses are taken into account. They posit that the diversity of archaeological record linked with the Bronze and Early Iron Age in Western Małopolska results from: a) the presence of inherited and socially sanctioned norms, generating long-lasting patterns of behaviour in particular regions; b) the operation in this area of a network of contact between individuals and societies, which ensured the permanent flow of ideas and innovations and systematically modified the “everyday practice”; c) integral relationship between local cultural tradition and other factors that go into the making of the ecological niche where given individual or group lives.

            In order to verify the above hypotheses we are going to implement a very strict research procedure, comprising the following stages:

  1. The list of variables for a comparative database (see chapter 4.2) and the related methodological aspects will be precisely defined. Some of them refer to the main axes of the planned analyses, namely the time, space and environment that require adaptation. Some describe the archaeologically detectable phenomena, which may reflect certain social and economic behaviours (e.g. differences in the size of pits on settlements seen as the manifestation of unequal access to resources). At the initial stage of research it will become necessary to create the list of ‘middle range theories’ describing the relationships between archaeological record and the culture of past societies. To achieve this goal, we intend to use some of the concepts already known from the literature and propose some of our own ideas.
  2. The list of variables will be confronted with the available sets of source data. As the progress of research varies between particular test areas, it will be necessary to bridge the existing gaps to make the data comparable (performing or completing the studies of artefacts, supplementary field-walking surveys, specialist analyses).
  3. Full standardisation of the data describing particular test areas (standardisation of the methods used for data gathering and description, application of statistical tools for quantitative description of particular categories of sources, standardisation of local periodization systems and referring them to the historical timescale).
  4. Performing statistical analyses to estimate the degree of affinity between settlement phases in particular test areas, and confronting the results with the models of social networks of contact.
  5. Tracing the correlations between the variables within the entire researched region. Establishing the nature of identified correlations and identification of potential causal relations.
  6. Description of cultural development in particular test areas – confronting universal tendencies with unique individual histories.

Research procedure: groups of variables included into the comparative database

Time (the pace and synchronicity of change in particular test areas)

            In this context, several chronological aspects will be analysed: (1) chronology of the environmental transformations in particular test areas (e.g. based on palinological profiles); (2) synchronisation with global climatic changes, based on the recent geoarchaeological research in the analysed test areas (Dzięgielewski et al. 2013); (3) dynamics of settlement at the micro-regional level (based on the verification of field-walking data, with the attribution of collected pottery to technological groups linked with particular phases defined for ‘benchmark’ sites); (4) periodization of sources and settlement episodes on particular sites within the three types of classification: occupation, construction and stylistic phases (for example, based on spatial analyses within particular regions and sites, analyses of frequency of pottery groups in stratigraphic units, analysis of taphonomic processes, local systems of periodization for pottery development, radiocarbon dates for key sites in particular regions).

Space (communication factors in inter-population transmission of cultural attributes)

            This group of variables will also comprise two aspects. The first concerns the criteria of spatial organisation in test areas (e.g. classic spatial analyses). The second refers to the communication potential between particular test areas. Therefore, the project envisages developing the map of potential communication routes, which will be based on GIS analyses (cost surface analysis) and on the analysis of the social network of contact (for example, using the PAJEK software).

Environment, and its natural and anthropogenic transformations in time

            Analysing the environmental context of cultural processes we wish to emphasise two issues which has often been paid only limited attention thus far. Firstly, we want to take into account as fully as it is possible the chronological aspect, which means not only the difference between present and past environmental conditions, but also the changes that took place within the investigated segment of time (compare the discussion in: Dennel 1978: 44-56; Bailey 2005). Secondly, according to the so-called ‘niche construction theory’ (e.g. Laland, O’Brien 2010) currently adopted in ecology, the environment that shapes adaptation is understood as the whole of the factors of natural origin, cultural transformations of ecosystems (biosphere included) and infrastructural and structural cultural factors.

            The planned comparative studies will take into account such traits of site location as: (1) general geomorphologic location (e.g. flood plain, slope, exposed location – they will be precisely defined thanks to i.a. supplementary field-walking surveys), (2) soil types (taking into account potential corrections of the present-day picture – investigation of buried soil levels, selected drilling verification), (3) water resources – their availability and changes in time (studies on the fluctuation of ground water level, e.g. based on the depth of gleyic soil levels, average depth of pits on settlements, the range of flooded area).

            The examination of factors connected with anthropogenic intervention in environment include, among others, investigating the extent of deforestation, based on both general (e.g. palinology) and local data (frequency of tree species used as fuel), or the studies on the human impact on environment in particular time periods, based on the concentration of settlements traces.

Subsistence economy based on ‘on-site’ data

            Here will be included all the data available in archaeological record and referring to the acquisition and distribution of food. This applies to: (1) examination of various groups of ecofacts (e.g. species distribution of botanical and faunal remains and their spatial distribution within the site); (2) diachronic changes in the pattern of spatial organisation on settlements (distribution of storage pits in relation to dwellings); (3) size and differentiation of storage pits; (4) changes in the frequency of vessels of various function (e.g. large storage vessels, containers for liquid and loose products – see Juhl 1995); (5) organic remains in pottery (e.g. organic residue analyses); (6) traseological analyses of flint and bone tools; (7) patterns of waste disposal (e.g. animal remains) on settlements.

Organisation of the settlement area at the site and micro-region levels

            The hypotheses we will put forward here concern the reasons behind the existence of particular settlement patterns – to what extent are they determined by environment, culturally inherited, or determined by the multi-segment social structure (e.g. the size of so-called ‘security groups’ – compare Roscoe 2009).

            The variables discussed in this point concern the general models of spatial organisation within particular settlement micro-regions (e.g. the relations: stronghold – open settlement – camp site – cemetery), as well as the detailed patterns of distribution of structures within single sites (e.g. including the results of taphonomic analyses). The goal is to create general model of settlement organisation for each of the test areas and in each of the defined phases of development. The shortcomings in source material will be compensated for mainly by means of non-invasive methods of survey (geophysics). Moreover, the studies on the development of construction techniques will be taken into account here, which are based on the analysis of daub or the parameters of construction-related features (e.g. post-holes).

Social relationships (hierarchy, distribution of resources)

            The factors from this group describe societies inhabiting the analysed regions in terms of dynamic systems of fission and fusion, which means the combination of various interest groups (e.g. kinship groups, economic groups, networks of exchange) which clashed, competed, merged, or dissolved depending on the context (Aureli et al. 2008).

            The analyses will address the following issues: demographic parameters of the investigated populations, based on settlement data (size and arrangement of settlements, density of settlement network and intensity of site occupation), cemeteries (if cemeteries occur in give test area) and on paleoeconomic estimations. Other variables include: the presence and nature of potential means of status manifestation (strongholds, hoards and grave inventories); selected quantitative data connected with accumulation of resources (e.g. the diversification of storage pit sizes) which may point to the differences in their accessibility (interpretations oriented on ‘communal’ or individual ownership of crops – compare e.g. Shennan 2011); patterns in distribution of selected categories (functional or raw material) of artefacts within the site (including the ‘exotic’ objects); relations between the assemblages representing local manufacturing tradition and ‘foreign’ stylistic groups (their co-occurrence or mutual exclusion within the settlement).

Stylistic diversity in manufacturing traditions

            Proceeding from the theoretical studies and physico-chemical analyses, the relation will be examined between the function and style in pottery. Moreover, the following factors will be considered: stylistic changes in time, convergence/divergence in the development of pottery style and decoration, relations between vessel function and manufacture, diversity of manufacturing traditions (diachronic and territorial diversity). Detailed factors, e.g. the fluctuations in the share of pottery made of chamotte-tempered clay, will be derived from the currently available databases or those developed within the frameworks of the project. The data for the diversity in pottery will be examined using statistical tools, in particular the multidimensional techniques of data exploration, and compared with the phylogenetic model (e.g. by means of the MEGA software).

Access to rare resources and their exploitation

            In the case of the analysed test areas this applies first of all to salt and the manner of its exploitation. Salt was of a strategic importance in area 2 (the Upper Vistula valley, salt deposits in the Wieliczka-Bochnia region), but its considerable role may also be assumed for area 4 (the upper Dunajec valley) due to the presence of brine springs.

            The following factors will be considered: changes in the techniques of salt exploitation, diversity of pottery forms related with salt production, specialisation (social or territorial – production sites) in salt exploitation, the symptoms of control over the access to resources, manifestation (or the lack of such) of wealth resulting from the control over the access to salt.

            Another subject of our interest will be bronze. There is no evidence for local acquisition and smelting of copper and tin, and no direct proofs for metalwork have been found as yet in the test areas. However, the project envisages performing the analyses of distribution of bronze objects at the region- and site- level (settlements and cemeteries), where the following factors will be taken into account: diachronic aspect (periods of intensified occurrence of bronze objects), correlation with other categories of artefacts, especially with foreign pottery forms (e.g. the Belegiš type).

Instead of conclusion

The answer to the question asked in the title (on the key factors of the transmission of culture in given conditions) shall possibly be formulated only on completion of research stages described above. Nonetheless, we hope that the project will significantly contribute to the development and popularization of comparative analyses in archaeology. The collection of sources on which the project is based is unique in terms of its diversity and the extent of its investigation, and we make use of it to test new techniques of description and exploration of archaeological data (based on qualitative and quantitative data) and to develop the methodological tools for their interpretation. The project will also serve as a benchmark for further studies on the Bronze and Early Iron Age in Małopolska.


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Przybyła M.M., Byrska-Fudali M. 2012 Kraków-Bieżanów, stanowisko 15 (nr autostradowy 99, 101 i 209), Kraków (unpublished monograph in the archive of CT for ASMC).

Przybyła M.M., Przybyła M.S., Skoneczna M., Szczepanik P. in print Fortyfikacje osiedla z epoki brązu i epoki żelaza w Maszkowicach (Karpaty Zachodnie) w świetle badań geofizycznych i nowych badań wykopaliskowych, (in:) Pradziejowe osady obronne w Karpatach (ed. J. Gancarski), Krosno.

Przybyła M.S. 2013 Mating systems in prehistoric populations. An evolutionary approach and archaeological evidence, Praehistorische Zeitschrift 88, in print.

Przybyła M.S., Skoneczna M. 2011 The fortified settlement from the Early and Middle Bronze Age at Maszkowice, Nowy Sącz district (Western Carpathians). Preliminary results of studies conducted in the years 2009–2012, Recherches Archéologiques NS 3: 5-66

in print The Bronze Age settlement in Maszkowice (Western Carpathians) – analyses and interpretations, (in:) Settlement, Communication and Exchange around the Western Carpathians. International Workshop at the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University in Kraków October 27–28, 2012 (T. Kienlin et al. eds), British Archaeological Reports IS, Oxford.

Przybyła M.S., Skoneczna M., Vitoš A. 2012 Interregional contacts or local adaptation? Studies on the defensive settlement from the Bronze and Early Iron Age in Maszkowice (Western Carpathians), (in:) Enclosed Space – Open Society. Contact and exchange in the context of Bronze Age Defensive Settlements in Central Europe (M. Jaeger et al. eds), Studia nad Pradziejami Europy Środkowej – Studien zur Archäologie in Ostmitteleuropa, 7, Bonn 2012, 227-275.

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Table 1. The state of archaeological and paleoenvironmental investigation of the test areas at the onset of the project

Abbreviations used: AZP – Archeologiczne Zdjęcie Polski (Archaeological Survey of Poland) programme, EBA – Early Bronze Age; EIA – Early Iron Age, LBA – Late Bronze Age (Urnfield), LC – Lusatian Culture, MBA – Middle Bronze Age


     Test area







Group of attributes


Loess Upland of western Małopolska between the Nida and Szreniawa rivers

(the region of Witów, Grodowice and Zagórzyce)


The upper Vistula valley – western part of the Sandomierz Basin

(the region of Kraków-Bieżanów, Podłęże and Brzezie)


Carpathian Foreland – middle Dunajec valley – northern part of the Rożnów foothills

(the region of Janowice)


West Carpathians – upper Dunajec valley – Łącko Basin

(the region of Maszkowice)

Geographic description of the region; emphasising unique traits, range and borders



– uplands;

– hills cut with numerous loess gorges;

– diversified geologic and geomorphologic structure –Proszowice Plateau: the Nida valley is the western border of loess areas

– relics of Pleistocene terraces – river valleys (e.g. the Vistula valley).

– great valley;

– diversified geologic and geomorphologic structure (flood plains, relics of Pleistocene terraces, so-called ‘accumulation terraces’, Miocene salt-bearing deposits, subsoil: sand, loam, clay, peat etc.);

– clearly defined borders: the edge of the Sandomierz Basin to the W, loess terraces to the N, Carpathian Foreland to the S, valley of the Raba to the E.

– hills-mountains, cut with river valleys;

– diversified landscape: Holocene flood plains, Pleistocene and Holocene terraces, mountain ranges, inter-mountain depressions;

– diversified soils (mostly clay and loess);

– Dunajec valley and Wiśnicz Foothills to the W, the edge of the Tarnów Plateau to the N, the valley of the Biała and Ciężkowice foothills to the E, Rożnów Plateau to the S.

– inter-mountain basin, encompassing various landscape zones: flood plain, Pleistocene terraces, high promontories (up to 400 m a.s.l.) and ranges (up to 600 m a.s.l.);

– Łącko Basin being the expansion of the Dunajec valley, and adjacent ranges of Beskid Wyspowy and Beskid Sądecki.

State of research on the settlement network in the region




– full AZP survey;

– verification of AZP around Witów (so-called Witów spur), Zagórzyce and Grodowice.



– uniform verification of AZP sources is required, especially of archival data;

– there is no database of settlement facts.


– full AZP survey

– verification of AZP during A4 motorway construction;

– large-scale rescue excavations in the S part of the region (A4 motorway);

– few test excavations in selected parts of the region.



– there is no database of settlement facts;

– uniform verification of AZP sources is required, especially of archival data.


– full AZP survey;

– field-walking verification for the majority of sites (DGPS);

– initial remote sensing analyses;

– aerial survey for selected sites;

– database of settlement facts for the entire area;

– studies based on inter-site spatial analyses (GIS).



– verification of AZP sources, especially of archival data.


– full AZP survey;

– verification of AZP materials (catalogue, and chronological re-evaluation based on the models developed for the Maszkowice settlement);

– field-walking verification in accessible areas, and examination of the collected material.

Chronology of benchmark sites



– differences in state of research on settlements dated to MBA (Jakuszowice site 1, Koszyce site 3, Zagórzyce site 1 and 3, Michałowice site 1);

– sites from LBA and EIA are best investigated (Witów site 1, Zagórzyce site 1, Grodowice site 1).



– a series of radiocarbon dates is needed.

PRESENT STATE:   – sites from LBA and EIA are best investigated (Kraków-Bieżanów sites 11-12, 15, 20, 27, 30), Zakrzów site 1, Podłęże site 17, Zakrzowiec site 7; Brzezie site 17, Targowisko sites 10-13);

– settlements from EBA and MBA are less thoroughly investigated (e.g. Kraków-Bieżanów, site 15).



– a series of supplementary radiocarbon dates is needed.


– best investigated sites include the settlements from EBA, MBA and LBA at Janowice site 13,  Wróblowice site 23 and Zakliczyn site 6, and the cemetery from LBA and EIA at Janowice site 44;

– a series of radiocarbon dates available.



– supplementary series of radiocarbon dates is needed.


PRESENT STATE:   – large-scale excavations at Maszkowice site 1 (multi-phase settlement, intensively used since EBA till late La Tene period);

– Zabrzeż site 1, EIA settlement;

– vast majority of sites recorded during field-walking surveys date to LBA and EIA.



– series of radiocarbon dates.

Character of settlements



– excavated stronghold (Witów): fortifications have been investigated (earth-and-stone rampart and moat in the western part of the site);

– various types of settlement features and burials discovered within the settlement;

– occupation spanning from early phases of LC (Bronze Age Period III) till the final phase (HaD).



– Witów: lack of geomagnetic survey for a vast area of the stronghold;

– plan of the site with chronological and functional differentiation of settlement features (e.g. based on geochemical analyses of fills);

– lack of spatial analyses (GIS).


PRESENT STATE:   – ca 10 settlements excavated on considerable scale;

– only open settlements, some with the division into dwelling and ‘economic’ areas, sometimes as places of production (salt);

– diversified forms of dwellings and household features on settlements.



– lack of geophysical survey;

– lack of studies based on spatial analyses (GIS);

– making more detailed conclusions as to settlement preferences and the exploitation of the area within and in the vicinity of sites (e.g. zones of production of salt-making vessels versus the location of salty deposits).


PRESENT STATE:   – three excavated settlements (including large-scale excavations of at Janowice site 13);

– geophysical survey on 15 sites;

– only open settlements (including upland settlements: Janowice 13 and Wróblowice 23).



– analyses of settlement layout;

– detailed analyses of the character of archaeological features explored on benchmark sites (e.g. geochemical analyses);

– database of settlement features and studies based on spatial intra-site analyses (GIS).



– Maszkowice – defensive settlement with stone and timber-and-earth fortifications; thick cultural layers, relics of occupation levels from various chronological phases, remains of stone structures and clusters of storage features, structures identified outside the ramparts;

– geomagnetic survey within the settlement.



– geomagnetic survey on other sites;

– studies based on spatial analyses (GIS);

– verification of old excavations is necessary;

– geochemical analyses of deposits from the benchmark site.


Information about cemeteries, state of research, anthropological analyses



– more thoroughly investigated cemeteries: Grodowice site 1 (excavations, geomagnetic survey); Stradów site 4;

– single graves: Michałowice site 1

– burials/deposits of human remains in settlement pits: Witów site 1, Jakuszowice site 1, Koszyce site 3;

– recently discovered cemetery near site 1 at Witów.



– Grodowice: examination of grave inventories and performing certain analyses (e.g. social index);

– analysis of stable isotopes in human remains (diet, origin).

PRESENT STATE:   – limited number of cemeteries, usually poorly investigated except for Kraków-Bieżanów site 30,  Wieliczka site 112; Targowisko site 10-11;

– anthropological analyses available;

– due to the soil type (sands and loamy sands), the state of bone preservation in some parts of the area makes any analyses impossible.



– performing some analyses of grave inventories (e.g. social index);

– demographic analyses.


– one cemetery – Janowice site 44;

– anthropological analyses available.



– analysis of grave inventories (e.g. social index);

– demographic analyses.




– absolute lack of known cemeteries in the area (currently running program of field-walking search, including geomagnetic survey).


State of studies on materials




– partial examination of archaeological sources from benchmark sites (pottery reconstruction, drawings, technological database for pottery, part of the typological analysis).



– examination of sources from selected parts of the sites needs to be completed (completing technological databases for pottery, typological analysis of vessel forms, identification of local and foreign forms);

– specialist analysis of vessels technology and function;

– traseological analyses of stone and bone artefacts.




– full examination of archaeological materials from benchmark sites (including pottery: reconstruction, technological analysis, drawings and photographs);

– identification of local and foreign forms;

– draft version of periodisation and classification systems for pottery.



– analyses of manufacturing technology and manners of exploitation of ceramic vessels (fabric analyses, organic residue analyses);

– physico-chemical examination of salt-making pottery;

– traseological analyses of stone artefacts.



– partial examination of archaeological material from benchmark sites (including pottery: reconstruction and drawings – advanced, and technological analysis – initial stage).



– completing the technological database for pottery;

– identification of local and foreign forms;

– analysis of technological traits and vessel forms (statistical description);

– analyses of manufacturing technology and manners of exploitation of ceramic vessels (fabric analyses, organic residue analyses);

– traseological analyses of stone artefacts.



– materials from the benchmark site at Maszkowice have been partially examined. Full analysis of EBA and MBA materials, which were used to develop a system of sources periodisation. Majority of the materials from the site reveals broad cultural connections.



– analyses of manufacturing technology and manners of exploitation of ceramic vessels (fabric analyses, organic residue analyses);

– complete examination of material from selected zones of the Maszkowice settlement;

– complete examination of materials from Zabrzeż.


State of research and potential for studies on botanical and faunal remains collected from archaeological contexts




– partial examination of bone remains from settlements (Witów, Zagórzyce)



– full analysis of bone remains from Witów;

– archaeobotanical analyses (e.g. of daub).



– examined botanical and faunal remains from several sites, including benchmark sites (Kraków-Bieżanów, Podłęże, Brzezie).



– isotope and radiocarbon examination of animal bones from stratified contexts (e.g. peat bogs) to correlate them with occupation episodes.




– archaeobotanical and anthracological analyses available for all botanical remains from sites Wróblowice 23 and Zakliczyn 6 and for approximately half of the botanical samples from Janowice 13.



– full archaeobotanical analysis for Janowice 13;

– analysis of plant imprints in daub for Janowice 13.

PRESENT STATE: – partially examined bone material, especially from EBA contexts (ca 2000 records in database)

– currently running examination of botanical macro-remains.



– analysis of animal bones from younger phases;

– analyses of animal bones distribution within the site;

– anthracological analyses.

Research from the field of natural science: existing studies, perspectives



– geomorphological analyses are available for the loess zone in western Małopolska.



– palinological analyses in the valleys of Vistula or Szreniawa

– detailed geomorphological examination in the vicinity of the sites, oriented e.g. on the accessibility of clay for pottery production



– palinological analyses of several profiles of ‘in site’ and ‘off site’ type (Podłęże, Stanisławice);

– geomorphological analyses available for the region.



– detailed geomorphological examination, oriented e.g. on the accessibility of clay for pottery production;

– establishing the range of brine springs.


– general geomorphological analyses available e.g. for Wiśnicz foothills.



– palinological studies;

– detailed geomorphological studies;

– analyses oriented on the accessibility of clay for pottery production.



– general geomorphological analyses available.



– detailed geomorphological studies in the basin edge zone: identification of potential paleochannels and landslide zones;

– identification of brine springs;

– paleobotanical studies.




Selected literature


Górski 1990; Gawlik 2012; Gawlik, Godlewski 2006, 2009, 2010; Godlewski 2009; Gocman, Pieńkos 2011; Kruk 1997; Marciniak 1965; Rydzewski 1972. Byrska et al. 2006; Dzięgielewski 2010;  2012a; 2012b; 2012c; Dzięgielewski et al. 2011; Mazur 2012; Jodłowski 1976; Kadrow ed. 2003; Przybyła 2010; Przybyła, Byrska-Fudali 2012; Reguła 1984; Rydzewski 1989. Kienlin et al. 2010; 2011; 2013; in print; Kienlin, Valde-Nowak 2008; Korczyńska et al. 2012; Lityńska-Zając et al. in print; Szczepanek in print. Cabalska 1977; Klimek, Trafas 1972; Przybyła et al. 2012; Przybyła, Skoneczna 2011; in print;  Przybyła et al. in print; Vitoš 2013; Zuchiewicz 1992.
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