Barbarian tsunami Migration Period between the Odra and the Vistula

Exhibition Barbarian Tsunami is dedicated to dramatic events in the history of Europe which disturbed the civilization of Late Antiquity between the end of the 4th and the early 6th century, the time known as the Migration Period. Those were the days of intense migration of Barbarian tribes which invaded the Roman Empire with territories throughout Europe and North Africa and struck the final blow to the Western Roman Empire. They often established their own kingdoms over its ruins. Some of these tribes, recorded in Late Antique written sources, originated from the Odra and the Vistula river basin region which they inhabited in the first centuries AD. They played a crucial role in the events of the Migration Period creating the new order in medieval Europe. Evidence of their presence on the territory of Poland as well as contacts with other Barbarian communities and the Roman civilization is discovered in different regions between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian Mountains. These are very often some of the most spectacular archaeological finds from the territory of Poland which are later of great value in museum collections of archaeological objects.

Barbarian tsunami Migration Period between the Odra and the Vistula

Forging Society at Late Bronze Age Mycenae

Person conducting research: Dr Stephanie Aulsebrook
Country: Greece
Site name: Mycenae
Type of the site: settlement and extra-mural cemeteries
Involved institutions: IAUW

Description of the research: This project is focused on Mycenae, the foremost centre on mainland Greece during the Late Bronze Age (17th – 11th C BC) and the relationship between its inhabitants and metals. Metals have a very varied role in prehistoric societies; they can be used for the manufacture of a diverse range of objects including tools, weapons, vessels, jewellery and armour but their comparative rarity and unique properties meant that they also had a significant role in the political economy.

In general, archaeologists have directed their attention towards the latter and that has meant that our understanding of the use of metals in the daily life of the community as a whole is not so well understood. To address this imbalance, my project has three underlying objectives:

1) to ascertain which social practices included metal artefacts and which did not.

2) to investigate access to metals within the community.

3) to reconstruct the typical biographies for different types of metal artefacts and explore atypical situations.

To achieve these aims, the first part of this project involves the creation of a database covering all known metals finds from Mycenae, as far as is possible. Published data will be supplemented by hands-on examination of the material. Once the database is completed, the data will be subjected to a series of qualitative and quantitative analysis, with the production of distribution plans a key priority. This type of holistic approach has not been attempted before and it is envisaged that this methodology ought to provide information concerning the usage of metals across the entirety of the community at Mycenae.

Project financing: SONATA 14 NCN competition

Current progress: the bespoke project database has been designed and is now live. Data entry is currently focused on the main publications of the site. Here is an example of a catalogue entry:

Example of Entry in Database

Stephanie Aulsebrook

Stephanie Aulsebrook
PhD Stephanie Aulsebrook


duty hours:
wtorek 12:00 – 14:00

research interests:
Aegean Late Bronze Age, metal artefacts, object biographies

Forging Society at Late Bronze Age Mycenae


Aulsebrook, S. 2019. Crisis at the Cult Centre: Evidence from the Megaron Basements, in K. Żebrowska, A. Ulanowska and K. Lewartowski (eds.) Sympozjum Egejskie. Papers in Aegean Archaeology 4 and 5. Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press: 111-121.

Aulsebrook, S. 2019. Materialising Mythology: the Cup of Nestor from Shaft Grave IV at Mycenae, in K. Żebrowska, A. Ulanowska and K. Lewartowski (eds.) Sympozjum Egejskie. Papers in Aegean Archaeology 4 and 5. Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press: 79-89.

French, E.B. and S. Aulsebrook. 2018. Italy and Mycenae, in M. Bettelli, M. Del Freo and G.J. van Wijngaarden (eds.) Mediterranea Itinera. Studies in Honour of Lucia Vagnetti. Rome: CNR – Istituto di studi sul Mediterraneo antico: 67-76.

Demakopoulou, K. and S. Aulsebrook. 2018. The Gold and Silver Vessels and Other Precious Finds from the Tholos Tomb at Kokla in the Argolid. Annual of the British School at Athens 113: 119-142.

Aulsebrook, S. 2018. Chicken or egg? Rethinking the relationship between the silver and tinned ceramic vessel assemblages. Annual of the British School at Athens 113: 75-118.

Aulsebrook, S. 2018. Rethinking standardisation: the social meanings of Mycenaean metal cups. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 37: 147-163.

Aulsebrook, S. 2017. Repair, recycle or modify? The response to damage and/or obsolescence in Mycenaean metal vessels during the Prepalatial and Palatial Periods and its implications for understanding metal recycling. Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici NS 3: 7-26.

Aulsebrook, S. 2017. Late Bronze Age manipulation of light and colour in metal, in C. Duckworth and A. Sassin (eds.) Colour and Light in Ancient and Medieval Art. London: Routledge: 35-45.

Aulsebrook, S. 2016. Placed with care: interaction with decorated Mycenaean metal vessels, in M. Mina, Y. Papadatos, and S. Triantafyllou (eds.) An Archaeology of Prehistoric Bodies and Embodied Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Proceedings of a conference held 10-12 April 2012, Nicosia, Cyprus. Oxford: Oxbow Books: 71-77.

Aulsebrook, S. 2015. Retrieving capacity data from crushed lead vessels: an example from the House of Lead, Mycenae. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 15.3: 201-211.

Marea – settlement and cemetery (Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods)

Person conducting excavation: dr hab. prof. UW Tomasz Derda
Country: Egypt
Site name: Marea
Type of the site: settlement and cemetery (Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Early Islamic periods)
Involved institutions: Institute of Archaeology University of Warsaw, Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw, Archaeological Museum in Krakow
Description of the research: On the southern shore of Lake Mariout, 45 kilometres west of Alexandria, Polish archaeologists have been excavating for several years the ruins of a large Byzantine city. The city, patiently uncovered structure after structure, was built exactly on the spot of an industrial centre and a harbour which functioned until the third century AD. Traditionally, the place was called Marea, following its (uncertain) identification with the most important urban centre in this part of the Mediterranean before the foundation of Alexandria of which we learn from Herodotus and Thucydides. A great transept basilica built in the end of the fifth century, the second largest church in Egypt (49 x 47 m), is the most magnificent building on the site. Next to the basilica, the archaeologists uncovered two bath complexes, a large house dating to the Late Antique period, warehouses, and latrines. Four massive piers (the longest measuring over 120 metres) extending deep into the lake date to the Roman period; they could serve several ships simultaneously. We know that large production workshops manufacturing pottery on a mass scale, as well as glass workshops, were located nearby. The apse of the basilica was constructed right on a pottery kiln which with its diameter of more than eight metres is one of the largest in Egypt. The kiln was used until the beginning of the third century AD, as indicated by the chronology of the last batch of amphorae prepared for firing which was found under the apse. Our neighbours on the site, archaeologists from France, have discovered on the peninsula a warehouse building functionally connected with the harbour. This structure was in use in the Ptolemaic and Early Roman periods. The remains, dated to the first century BC – beginning of the third century AD point to an intensive industrial exploitation of the area. We are in a region that produced wine on a great scale and exported it in amphorae which were also locally manufactured. The size of the kiln, the proportions of the warehouse, and the sweeping scale of the piers’ construction show that “Marea” was at the same time a remarkable industrial centre and a significant harbour.

Erazm Majewski – Exhibition

Archaeology at the University of Warsaw is celebrating its round 100 (!) birthday this year! We would like to invite you to join us in celebrating our anniversary, starting with an exhibition devoted to the professor with whom that history began.

Erazm Majewski (1858-1922), a chemist and pharmacist by education, industrialist and businessman by profession, was self-taught in the field of archaeology. With his own resources and personal enthusiasm, he gained knowledge of the history of the past, and at the beginning of the 20th century he was honoured with the title of Professor at one of the oldest Polish universities.

Erazm Majewski

We invite you to join us in celebrating the jubilee anniversary of our discipline!

Department of Classical Tradition in the Visual Arts

Arcadia Romantic Park near Nieborów
Arcadia Romantic Park near Nieborów

Address: 00-927 Warsaw, Krakowskie Przedmieście st. 26/28, Szkoła Główna, phon. 55 22 815, pok. 3.15, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 32, Pałac Tyszkiewiczów-Potockich, phon. 55 21 523, room B14.

Head of department:
prof. Jerzy Miziołek

PhD Jerzy Żelazowski
PhD hab. Hubert Kowalski

‘Let us return to the classics and a veritable renaissance of form and content will ensue.’ These words of a 19th-century thinker could be used as the motto to best describe the Department’s modus operandi; its main aim is to explore all manifestations of the reception of Greek and Roman art—from the late Antique period to the beginning of the 21st century. Being the outcome of a fascination with archaeology and antiquarian studies, they are ubiquitous in the visual culture of subsequent periods: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the classicism of recent centuries. Detailed studies of the history of classical archaeology and thousands of monuments—both Polish and foreign—from a realm which lies somewhere between archaeology and art history, await in-depth studies and interdisciplinary exploration.

Rome and Warsaw: reception of the Antique and artistic education during the Enlightenment period (NPRH2/H11/81/2013)

Reconstruction and display of fragments of the Vasa residences found in the bed of the Vistula river. Regaining national heritage while undertaking interdisciplinary research of the river bed (NPRH/11H 13 0031 82/2015)

Archaeological research: campus of the University of Warsaw
Archaeological research: 517 km of the Vistula River
Archaeological investigation in Italy (Locri, Volterra), in preparation

Department of Relation between Mediterranean World and Barbaricum

Barbarzyńskie naśladownictwo rzymskiej monety, fot. M. Bogacki
A barbaric imitation of a Roman coin, photo by M. Bogacki

Address: 00-927 Warsaw, str. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, Szkoła Główna, room 327
tel. +48 22 5522 827

dr hab. Roksana Chowaniec

prof. dr hab. Aleksander Bursche
dr hab. Roksana Chowaniec
dr Kyrylo Myzgin
dr Emilia Smagur
mgr Tomasz Więcek
dr Anna Zapolska

dr hab. Arkadiusz Dymowski
dr Ireneusz Jakubczyk
mgr Monika Stobiecka

List of currently directed grants by employees of the department:
Grant NCN Maestro, agreement DEC-2011/02/A/HS3/00389 Okres Wędrówek Ludów w dorzeczu Odry i Wisły, years 2012-2018 – prof. dr hab. Aleksander Bursche

Grant MNiSW NPRH, agreement 11H 12 0230 81 Znaleziska monet rzymskich z ziem Polski i historycznie z Polską związanych (FMRPl), years 2012-2018 – prof. dr hab. Aleksander Bursche,

Grant NCN i DFG Beethoven realizowany wraz z Niemieckim Instytutem Archeologicznym, agreement DEC-2014/15/G/HS3/04583 Imagines Maiestatis: Monety barbarzyńskie, elity władzy i narodziny Europy, years 2015-2018 – prof. dr hab. Aleksander Bursche

Grant NCN OPUS, agreement UMO-2016/21/B/HS3/00026 On the borders of Syracuse. Multidisciplinary studies of the ancient town Akrai/Acrae, south-eastern Sicily, Italy, years 2017-2020 – dr hab. Roksana Chowaniec,

Grant MNiSW SPUB, agreement4815/E-343/SPUB/2016/2-1 Baza wykopaliskowa Instytutu Archeologii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego w Palazzolo Acreide, Sycylia, Włochy, years 2016-2018 – dr hab. Roksana Chowaniec,

Grant MNiSW SPUB, agreement 4815/E-343/SPUB/2018/1 Baza wykopaliskowa Instytutu Archeologii Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego w Palazzolo Acreide, Sycylia, Włochy, years 2018-2019 – dr hab. Roksana Chowaniec,

Grant NCN FUGA, agreement 2015/16/S/HS3/00180 Między morzami: przemiany kulturowe między Bałtykiem a Morzem Czarnym w świetle znalezisk monet rzymskich, years 2015-2018 – dr Kyrylo Myzgin

Grant NCN SONATINA, agreement 2017/24/C/HS3/00120 Nowe spojrzenie na znaleziska złotych monet rzymskich z Indii: ich kontekst i funkcja w pierwszych pięciu wiekach naszej ery, years 2017-2020 – dr Emilia Smagur

Grant NCN OPUS, agreement 2016/23/B/HS3/00173 Użytkowanie monet antycznych w Europie Środkowo-Wschodniej w średniowieczu i w okresie nowożytnym, years 2017-2020 – dr hab. Arkadiusz Dymowski

List of excavation sites
Akrai/Acrae, Palazzolo Acreide, prov. Syracuse, south-eastern Sicily, Italy, greek-Roman town (mid-7th century B.C. – beginning 8th century A.D.)

Jasknia Wisielca, Kroczyce-Okupne, prov. Zawiercie, multicultural settlement and necropolis (Neolithic Period – modern times, the Migration Period deposits (late 4th-beginning 5th century A.D.)

Krosno, prov. Pasłęk, Wielbark culture necropolis (Roman Iron Age)

Suchań, prov. stargardzki, multicultural settlement (Late Bronze Period – Middle Ages, treasure of golden artefacts of Scandinavian origin from the Migration Period (6th century A.D.)

Dr JM Toyne’s Lectures

Dr hab. Miłosz Giersz and Dr. Wiesław Więckowski would like to invite everyone to participate in lectures by Dr J. Marla Toyne from the University of Central Florida, Orlando, U.S.A. They will take place at the Institute of Archeology of the University of Warsaw on 27-30 May 2019.

Details here: JMToyne