Unique Scythian settlement found in Subcarpathian Poland

Archaeologists discovered a 2500-years-old fortified settlement in the vicinity of Chotyniec, in the Subcarpathian region of South-east Poland. The settlement is linked to the Scythian people and is the farthest to the West ever discovered.

Aerial view of the site (by Uniwersytet Rzeszowski)

The settlement is said to have been once massive and enormous, with a ringfort secured with still preserved walls – at present to the hight of 3.5 metres and width between 30-40 metres, and encompassing an area of more than 35 hectares. Some parts of the ringfort are at present destroyed by a modern road and buildings, but the general layout of the structure is visible through aerial photographs. According to archaeologists, the site might have been inhabited by the “Neuri” tribe described by Herodotus in 5th century BC, as nomads living beyond the main Scythian area to the West, being their allies and sharing customs. The discovery suggests that over 2500 years ago these nomadic people settled in the area which is now South-eastern Poland.

Soilmarks of the enclosure (by Uniwersytet Rzeszowski)

The researchers argue whether the settlement was continuously occupied, as it is possible that it served as a refuge in times of unrest, or served religious purposes. It is believed that every-day activities took place in lesser settlement scattered around the fortified area. Archaeologists plan to excavate the area which is believed to contain remains of the religious and cult activities, known from similar Scythian settlements.

Excavations at the site (by Uniwersytet Rzeszowski)

During the excavations, archaeologists have found numerous artefacts dating to between 9-5th century BC, including glass beads, parts of horse harnesses, shards of distinctive pottery vessels, and weapons. Bones of numerous horses were also discovered, attesting to high value and role of this animal within the society. According to the experts many of the objects were made by people who travelled to this region from the East. The artefacts are said to differ from those similar found in other regions of Poland. According to archaeologists, this is the farthest West settlement of the Scythian sphere of cultural influence and peoples connected with this nomadic civilisation. So far such settlements were found in the area of Middle Dniester and Dniepr rivers.

Skeleton unearthed by archaeologists (by Uniwersytet Rzeszowski)

(after Uniwersytet Rzeszowski & Nauka w Polsce)

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