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The plate from Szczecin, Poland

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 that I would like to discuss in this article is the plate from Szczecin, Poland.

The plate from Szczecin. Stanisławski 2013a: Ryc. 12a.

A fragment of the edge of a wooden plate was found during excavations at the “Cabbage Market” (Rynek Warzywny) in Szczecin sometime during the second half of the 20th century (Kowalska 2011: 100-104, Fig. 13). The edge of the plate was decorated around the perimeter with a plait ornament in the Scandinavian style of Borre, which consisted of partially overlapping triangular motifs, which were complemented on the top by overlapping loops on the upper side and then lined with a line on the underside. Reconstruction of the plate indicates that the original diameter was about 40 cm, with a bottom diameter of about 16 cm. The plate was shallow, about 5 cm tall. The drawing reconstruction was performed by H. Bona. There is no doubt that the plate was first turned and then decorated.

The dating of this object points to the end of the 11th century. In the same locality, which formed the production complex in settlement around the Szczecin fortress, a number of other objects decorated with the same decorative style were found, which lasted in the Polish area from the Baltic Sea to Silesia until the 12th century. We can name the most important sets of finds – in addition to relatively well-known metal, bone and wooden 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 isolated finds are scattered in a number of other sites. For many decades, academia have been lively debating about the origin of these objects, which oscillates between two positions and touches on the very essence of Polish statehood – are the objects made by settled Scandinavians who were involved in shaping local culture until the 12th century, or were they domestic imitations copying Scandinavian fashion (Kowalska 2013)?

Reconstruction of the plate made by the workshop Kram Liwocz.

Reconstruction of the plate made by the workshop Dřevo krásné, dřevo mé.


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Bibliography

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.

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