Ancient ritual centre discovered in Poland

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient ritual centre near the village of Kaczków in east-central Poland.

The site was identified while conducting a drone survey of several fields adjacent to Kaczków. Due to a recent drought in the region, the variations in the moisture retained within the soil revealed crop marks that provided an outline of the monument from above.

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The site consists of two partial rings of palisades in the interior of the monument, surrounded by three semi-circle roundels, also known as Neolithic circular ditch systems (NCDS).

Similar types of roundel enclosures are found at sites across central Europe during the Neolithic period. They are attributed to several archaeological cultures of the early to mid-5th millennium BC, cultures which developed from the Linear Pottery culture.

Although the function of roundel sites is speculated, one of the most prominent theories suggests that they served a cultic purpose as a calendar or observatory, with many sites having openings aligned with the solstices.

Despite apparently sharing some common characteristics with the henge monuments of the British Isles, the Central European Neolithic circular ditch systems have no direct relations and were built around 1800 years earlier.

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The area around Kaczków has been studied by archaeologists since 2021. Previous excavations and surveys have uncovered long houses with an elongated trapezoid plan, with around 160 structures being documented in the vicinity to date.

According to lead archaeologist, Jerzy Czerniec, the structures appear to have been constructed around a central point, being the location of the rondels which served as a ritual centre. Czerniec also suggests that the monument was used as an astronomical observatory associated with the summer solstice.


Header Image Credit : J. Czerniec

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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