ELITE CEMETERY FROM THE TURN OF THE 11TH CENTURY AD AT KONINKO, SITE 65, KÓRNIK COMMUNE, WIELKOPOLSKA VOIVODESHIP (Elitarne cmentarzysko z przelomu XI / XII wieku w Koninku, stan. 65, woj. Wielkopolskie)i
Early Medieval cemetery was discovered during rescue excavations at Koninko, Drukarska 61 street (plot 34/3). It was located on the north-east slope of smali eminence near the Swiatnica stream. The Koninko cemetery is a non-churchyard burial ground with no a row-grave arrangement. The deceased were placed along E-W alignment with a slight variation and with heads facing west in most cases (12 out of 16). There was no sex specific rules in this regard. They were buried in a single burial pit directly in the earth. However, in a few cases elements of wooden construction and yet unspecified grave constructions were discovered. Elements of stone construction were found in grave 15. Skeletons were placed in extended position with arms along the body and slightly bent at elbow. A relatively tight placement of trunk, legs and arms bent towards the womb may indicate that bodies might have been shackled by a winding sheet. Depth and size of the pit at the Koninko cemetery is to be related to social position of the deceased. In grave 11 an individual was buried with a sword. The deceased male was c. 50-60 years of age and was 170,3 cm in height. Grave 15 had a stone construction, which in places had a form of stony cover placed partly on female skeleton. Both burials had richer grave goods than remaining graves. Grave goods were relatively impecunious. The most popular were little iron knifes, some of them in bronze mounted sheaths. Furthermore, grave 11 had additional sword of the X type of 'alpha' variant dated to the turn of the 11th - 12th century AD in addition to S-shaped head-band of A variant and little knife in a bronze mounted leather sheath.The studied burial ground is characterised by a smali number of burials which not exceeded 20 including possibly destroyed burials (e.g. a child burial). More than 50% of burials had no grave goods, however, the remaining ones got luxury grave goods. Anthropological investigations further imply certain diversity but at the same time homogeneity of the population buried at this place. It is worth mentioning that an average height of the deceased females at the Koninko cemetery was slightly above average for the period in question while males were considerably higher.There is no indication of considerable temporal differences between burials. Inhumation non-churchyard burial grounds appear along with emergence of the Christianity at the turn of the 10th century and are in place until the first half of the 12th century. It is when the eastem alignment of burials disappear. All grave goods discovered at Koninko were used at roughly the same time. To sum up, one can conclude that the cemetery at Koninko was used by a smali group for a very short time at the turn of the 11th century. Analysis of grave goods along with results of human remains studies imply the group of a relatively high social status possibly linked with the court and the princely squad. Cemetery size along with a number of burials are additionally indicative of a communal attempt to stress the group's peculiarity and its elitist character.
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