Museum of Archeology, Gdańsk
We have visited the Museum of Archeology in Gdańsk yesterday, as usual searching for early medieval stuff. And we found some interesting pieces. Unfortunately we didn’t take the normal camera with us – we did all pics with a cell phone camera which is quite poor.
The museum itself is placed in one of the most interesting parts of Gdańsk (or Danzig) Old Town – on Mariacka street, next to Długie Pobrzeże pier. It can be missed easilly in between all these magnificent Old Town buildings, and I am the best proof – living for 5 years now in Tricity and visited the museum for the first time.
A word on Gdańsk/Danzig. Majority knows the city was a subject to constant arguments between the Polish and the German which was one of the reasons of II World War start – actually it started in Gdańsk, Westerplatte. However, apart of various propagandas, origins of the city are quite foggy. We know there was a trade factory in Roman times in Gdańsk – one of the amber route’s most important points- the amount of Roman sestertii and amber found in Gdańsk is astonishing. Additionally there’s a lot of remains of other cultures in Gdańsk; beginning from 15000 BC to 1300 AD various traces of various cultures can be found in Gdańsk – from the oldest paleolitic and neolitic cultures, through the bronze age – so called Funnelbeaker culture and Lusatian culture – to Roman times. German propaganda claimed the name of Gdańsk/Danzig is from Gothishanza – “The harbour of Goths”, while Polish said it’s from “danisko” – “the harbour, the watery, the murky”. Well, both seem to prove that the founders of early medieval Gdańsk/Danzig very probably were of germanic origin – they probably were …. the Danes (the Danish, take a look at the spelling: “gDANSK”, “DANZig” ; the oldest written form of the city’s name is “GYDDANYZC” – 997 A.D. in Vita Prior, then in XII c- “KDANZC”), and it seems that the great harbour of Truso was abandoned just because of founding (or repopulating/rebuilding) of Gdańsk, by the people of Truso, who wanted to have better harbour next to the big gulf instead of difficult in navigation, constatly shallowing Estmere (Zalew Wiślany); or maybe by some competition to Truso. Truth be told, it’s hard to say that the place was “germanic”, just because of the same reason the Truso cannot be called “strictly Norse” – those were borderland harbours, on the verge of many different cultures – Slavonic, Norse, Borussian, trade centers deliberately founded on the borders to have better trade and the bigger variety of commodities, Therefore population of those towns was mixed in the Dark Ages and claims of these people who lived peacefuly among others were used by various propaganda machines in the future times.
We were amazed by the amount of slavonic urns found in the vinicity of Rumia where we live. Truly, a great area for an early medieval scholar 😉 There’s also a very interesting part of the display with human skeletons and pathology studies – there are several skulls with axe/sword damage, tuberculosis-eaten bones and so on… A really interesting display, although a little severe – I know many people who feel disturbed by looking at real human skeletons.
Some pics taken at the museum:
Sources: Norman Davies “The Lost Kingdoms”, collective work: “Truso. Between Weonodland and Witland”