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9 March 2015
Prehistoric burial mound excavated in Poland

Researchers analysing the results of laser scanning from aircraft are able to virtually remove trees and other obstacles, and obtain terrain elevation data. This makes it possible to discover old man-made structures, including mounds.
     "It turned out that the recorded object was in fact an ancient burial mound," explains Professor Piotr Wlodarczak. "Importantly, the mound is the first known structure of this type in the Lublin Upland, as well as throughout Malopolska, probably dating back to the turn of the third and second millennium BC[E]".
     The barrow measures around 13 metres in diameter. Inside, archaeologists discovered four skeletal graves belonging to a community whose material remains are referred to as the 'Strzyzow culture', and who were engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry.
     All burials were similarly equipped. Archaeologists discovered hundreds of beads made from clam shells, along with copper jewellery, animal fang pendants, and flint tools.
     On the basis of three Carbon-14 tests for bones from three of the burials, the structure was raised between 2100 BCE and 1900 BCE, in the beginning latter stages of the early Bronze Age.
     According to the researcher, mound burial was reserved for a selected, privileged group. The rest of the dead were interred in flat cemeteries. The appearance of barrow graves about four thousand years ago coincided with contacts between the communities inhabiting upland areas with those from the steppes on the border of Europe and Asia.
     The archaeologists will continue the study this year, and then reconstruct the mound.

Edited from Science & SCholarship in Poland (20 February 2015)

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