Bronze- and Iron-Age Poland

The Bronze and Iron Age cultures in Poland are known mainly from archeological research. Early Bronze Age cultures in Poland began around 2400–2300 BCE,[1] while the Iron Age commenced in approximately 750–700 BCE.[2] The Iron Age archeological cultures no longer existed by the start of the Common Era. The subject of the ethnicity and linguistic affiliation of the groups living in Central Europe at that time is, given the absence of written records, speculative, and accordingly there is considerable disagreement. In Poland the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became particularly prominent. The most famous archeological finding from that period is the Biskupin fortified settlement (gord) on the lake from which it takes its name, representing the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age.[3]

The Bronze Age in Poland consisted of Period I (early), 2300 to 1600 BC; Period II (older), 1600 to 1350 BC; Period III (middle), 1350 to 1100 BC; Period IV (younger), 1100 to 900 BC; Period V (late), 900 to 700 BC. The Early Iron Age included Hallstatt Period C, 700 to 600 BC, and Hallstatt Period D, 600 to 450 BC.[4]

Bronze items present in Poland around 2300 BC were brought through the Carpathian Basin. The native Early Bronze Age that followed was dominated by the innovative Unetice culture in western Poland, and by the conservative Mierzanowice culture in the east. Those were replaced in their respective territories, for the duration of the second, the Older Bronze Period, by the (pre-Lusatian) Tumulus culture and the Trzciniec culture. Characteristic of the remaining bronze periods were the Urnfield cultures; within their range skeletal burials had been replaced by cremation of bodies throughout much of Europe. In Poland the Lusatian culture settlements dominated the landscape for nearly a thousand years, continuing into and including the Early Iron Age. A series of Scythian invasions, beginning in the 6th century BC, precipitated the demise of the Lusatian culture. The Hallstatt Period D was the time of expansion of the Pomeranian culture, while the Western Baltic Kurgans culture occupied the Masuria-Warmia region of contemporary Poland.[5][6]