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The Museum

MAZOVIAN CENTRE OF METALLURGY

The Mazovian Centre of Metallurgy is a major prehistoric centre of iron metallurgy of “barbarian” Europe: a group of approximately 240 archaeological sites spread across an area of 300 km² in western Mazovia that document the mass production of iron by the people of the archaeological Przeworsk culture of the younger Pre-Roman period and the Roman period (2nd c. BC – AD 4th century).

The settlement sites associated with ironworking, despite their substantial variation in their size, number and nature of archaeological material and evidence of production activity found in them, represent two models. Model I are permanent and seasonal sites able to meet the basic needs of the local community – with a surface area of between several hundred square meters and 10 hectares. Model II are sites of short-term human activity, some of them without evidence of ironworking, situated in the immediate hinterland of the first type of settlement site.

The total number of iron smelting furnaces recorded in the Mazovian Centre of Metallurgy is between 120 000 and 150 000. In what appears to be the largest settlement site – at Milanówek-Falęcin – their number is estimated at 15 000. The settlements at Brwinów, Parzniew and Pęcice had a smaller number, but still, several thousand each; at Biskupice some 3500 iron smelting furnaces have been identified. Other sites may be expected to have had between a few score and a few thousand such smelters. There is evidence that the metallurgical production varied from one site to the next, but in any case its size and level of organization were exceptional for “barbarian” Europe.

GALLERY