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Archaeologists have unearthed an exceptional Scythian-era warrior’s tomb in Sobiecin, near Jarosław, in the Podkarpackie region of Poland. This discovery, dating back 2,500 years, is not only unique in Poland but also in the surrounding regions, shedding light on the historical significance of the Scythian culture.
Scythians and Their Cultural Influence:
The Scythians were nomadic warriors who migrated to Europe from the eastern steppes of Central Asia between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. From the 8th to the 4th century BCE, they established a vast empire stretching from western Asia to eastern Europe. They were renowned for their fearless warrior culture, with their invasions causing widespread devastation in the known world at that time.
Scythian Influence in Southeastern Poland:
In the 7th and 6th centuries BCE, representatives of the Scythian cultural circle settled in what is now southeastern Poland, creating a small enclave with a fortress in Chotynec, in the Jarosław district. The existence of this Scythian-influenced community was confirmed by archaeological findings in recent years.
Ongoing Research in Chotynec:
Since 2016, a team of scientists from the University of Rzeszów has been conducting research on the so-called Chotynec agglomeration. Among them is Dr. Marcin Burghardt from the Kamienica Orsettich Museum in Jarosław.
Dr. Burghardt pointed out that while extensive research had been carried out on the Chotynec settlement, no graves of the Scythian-influenced population had been discovered until recently.
Recent Discovery in Sobiecin:
The remarkable discovery was made by accident in Sobiecin, near Jarosław, during excavation work related to the construction of a new section of the Jarosław–Oleszyce-Cieszanów-Bełżec provincial road, including a bridge over the San River. The archaeological research was commissioned by the Podkarpackie Provincial Roads Authority in Rzeszów and conducted by the Archaeological Consultancy and Research Service led by Mirosław Kuś.
Scythian-Era Tombs in Poland:
In Sobiecin, researchers uncovered a total of five graves, generally dated to the early Iron Age, between 800 and 400-300 BCE. Three of these are so-called urn graves, characteristic of the local population referred to by archaeologists as the Tarnobrzeg Lusatian culture. This culture practiced cremation, and the ashes of the deceased were placed in ceramic urns.
However, two of the newly discovered graves stand out due to their differences. In one, the remains of two individuals were found, and their bodies had not been cremated before burial. Alongside the remains, they found a ceramic vessel, an iron knife, and iron weaponry elements, including a spearhead and a light ax, indicating a significant contrast to the traditional Tarnobrzeg Lusatian culture practices.
Significance of the Discovery:
Dr. Burghardt emphasized the importance of the iron ax, noting that it aligns with the Scythian cultural circle’s typical weapons. These small, axe-like weapons on long shafts were favored by steppe nomads of that era, known for their deadly effectiveness.
The proximity of these unique Scythian-era burials to the local population’s cemetery suggests the possibility of significant cultural interactions between the two groups in southeastern Poland during that time.
In the coming months, further research and analysis of the discovered artifacts and human and animal remains will be conducted. The artifacts will eventually be displayed at the Jarosław museum as part of an exhibition on the region’s ancient history, set to open in June next year. This discovery offers valuable insights into Poland’s historical connections to the Scythian culture.