The plate from Szczecin
Dear visitors, welcome to the next article!
This time I would like to draw your attention to a find that is – as far as I know – unique and has no closer parallels. The artefact I would like to describe in this article is the plate from Szczecin.
A fragment of the edge of the wooden plate was found during excavations carried out at the site “Vegetable market” (Rynek Warzywny) in Szczecin sometime during the second half of the 20th century (Kowalska 2011: 100-104, Fig. 13). The rim of the plate was decorated with a Scandinavian Borre style, which consisted of partially overlapping triangular motifs, supplemented by overlapping loops above them and a line below them. Reconstruction of the plate suggests that the original diameter was about 40 cm, with the bottom diameter about 16 cm. The plate was shallow; it was about 5 cm tall. The drawn reconstruction was carried out by H. Bona. There is no doubt that the plate was first turned and then decorated.
The dating of the object points to the end of the 11th century. At the same site, which represented the production complex – suburbium – under the fort, a number of other objects were found decorated with the same decorative style that lasted in the area of modern Poland (from the Baltic Sea to Silesia) until the 12th century. We can name the most important assemblages of decorated finds: besides the relatively well-known metal, bone and wood pieces from Wolin (eg Wojtkowiak 2012; Stanisławski 2013b), there are large sets of decorated material from Wrocław – Ostrów Tumski (Jaworski et al. 2013) , Żółte (eg Chudziak 2013) and Kamień Pomorski (Kowalska 2013: Fig. 4-5), while a number of isolated finds are scattered across other sites. There has been a lively debate on the origin of these objects in the Polish academia for many decades, which oscillates between two positions and touches on the very essence of Polish statehood – were objects made by settled Scandinavians who participated in shaping Polish culture up to the 12th century, or were they domestic imitations that copied the Scandinavian fashion (Kowalska 2013)?
Reconstruction of the plate made by Kram Liwocz.
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Chudziak, Wojciech (2013). Remarks on particular material traces of Scandinavian culture in Pomerania. In: Scandinavian culture in medieval Poland, Wrocław, 151–178.
Jaworski, Krzysztof et al. (2013). Artefacts of Scandinavian origin from the Cathedral Island (Ostrow Tumski) in Wroclaw. In: Scandinavian culture in medieval Poland, Wrocław, 279–314.
Kowalska, Anna B. (2011). Scandinavian Elements in the Culture of the Early Medieval Szczecin (8th–12th Century). In: Beiträge zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte Mitteleuropas (BUFM) 60, 97–110.
Kowalska, Anna B. (2013). Original or imitation? Comments on the presence of the Scandinavians at the estuary of the Oder River in the Early Middle Ages. In: Scandinavian culture in medieval Poland, Wrocław, 247–265.
Stanisławski, Błażej (2013a). Jómswikingowie z Wolina-Jómsborga: studium archeologiczne przenikania kultury skandynawskiej na ziemie polskie, Wrocław.
Stanisławski, Błażej (2013b). Norse culture in Wolin-Jómsborg. In: Scandinavian culture in medieval Poland, Wrocław, 193–246.
Wojtkowiak, Joanna (2012). Skandynawskie wpływy kulturowe w Wolinie (IX–XI wiek), Wrocław.