Department of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic

Address: 00-927 Warszawa, str. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, , tel. +48 55 22 842, office room 2.15 and 0.30.

Head of department:
dr Michał Przeździecki

Prof. dr hab. Karol Szymczak
dr Małgorzata Kot

PhD students:
mgr Natalia Gryczewska


Archaeological fieldworks in Uzbekistan have been conducted by Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Department already for 25 years. Currently we focus on excavating several sites in Katta Sai and Ertash Sai gorges, which are located in Western Tian Shan piedmonts. Breath-taking scenery and unforgettable adventure of travelling through Central Asia accompany us while excavating remnants of late Middle Palaeolithic campsites. Who made them? Was it Neanderthal, Modern human or Denisovan? We try to find it out within next fieldwork seasons.
If you want to find more, please join the lectures of prof. Karol Szymczak about Central Asian archaeology or take part in our fieldworks.
The fieldworks are conducted in a cooperation with Institute of Archaeology, Uzbek Academy of Sciences and Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk. The project “Multidisciplinary microregional studies of the Middle Palaeolithic in the south-western Chatkal Range (western Tian Shan piedmonts, Uzbekistan)” is financed by National Science Centre (grant No 2017/25/B/HS3/00520).
Krajcarz M., Kot M., Pavlenok K., Fedorowicz S., Krajcarz M., Lazarev S., Mroczek R., Radzhabov A., Shnaider S., Szymanek M., Szymczak K., 2016, Middle Palaeolithic sites of Kattasai in western Tian Shan piedmont, Central Asiatic loess zone: geoarchaeological investigation of the site formation and the integrity of the lithic assemblages, Quaternary International, vol. 399, pp. 136 – 150:
Kot M., Szymczak K., Khudzhanazarov M., Sayfullaev B.,Hushvaktov N., Ergashev O., 2015, Kukayaz Revisited. A Problem with Dating the Bifacial Technology in Central Asia, [in:] Coming Back to the Beginnings. In Memory of an Outstanding Archaeologist Vadim Ranov, edited by A. P. Derevianko and M. V. Chunkov, Publishing Department of the Institute of Archaeology SB RAS, Novosibirsk, pp. 215 – 226:
Derevanko A. P., Lazarev S. Yu., Pavlenok K. K., Sneider S. V., Szymczak K., Kot M., Ralzhabov A., Khudzhanazarov M., 2014, UtochnenyestratigraficheskoysituatsiinapaleoliticheskoystoyankeKattasai (Tashkentskaya oblast, Uzbekistan), Ethnography, Anthropology of Siberia and Cross-Border Regions, vol. XX, pp. 32 – 35, article in Russian/.
Kot M., Pavlenok K., Radzhabov A., Sneider S.,Szymczak K., 2014, Katta Sai: a Palaeolithic site in the Tian Shan piedmont, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, Antiquity, vol. 88, issue 340:
Derevanko A. P., Islamov U. I., Pavlenok K. K., Shnayder S. V., Szymczak K., Kot M., Radzhabov A., Lazarev S. Yu., 2013, PredvaritelniyerezultatiissledovaniyastoyankiKattasai (Uzbekistan) v 2013 godu, ProblemiArckeologii, Etnografii, AntropologiiSibiriiSopredelnikhTerritorii, tom XIX, pp. 60 – 65 /article, in Russian/.

In the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Department we are currently conducting a projectconcerning testing methods of stone artefacts analyses. A new method of analysing mostly bifacial stone artefacts, aims at reconstructing the history of production/knapping certain tool. It based on following the chronology of scars visible on a surface of the tool. Although the method is used more more often, the analysis has been never comprehensivelytested. Therefore nowadays we are not able to determine how big is an observatory or the method’s error. Our project aim at testing this analysis which is called „scar pattern analysis” comprehensively. We knapped the copies of stone artefacts; the group of participant makes the analyses of the knapped tools and we check the results by using the method of refittings. As simple as that. If you would like to take part in the project, you can join our classes on Methods of stone artefacts analyses or simple contact the Departmentcrew.
The project „Scar pattern analysis method. Testing the procedures” is financed by National Science Cente (grant No 2016/21/D/HS3/02665).

It is the biggest project conducted in our department, which aims not only to fulfil the research tasks but also to create a new, interdisciplinary research team. The project concerns analysing and publishing the unpublished results of archaeological fieldworks conducted in the second half of XX century by prof. WaldemarChmielewski in 12 caves located in Saspów Valley in Polish Jura. Beside analysing the artefacts found during old excavations, we plan to reopen trenches in several caves in order to check the stratigraphy and collect samples for geological, paleontological, palinological, atracological and other analyses.
The cave under research shows traces of settlement starting in Middle Palaeolithic up to modern Ages. Each opened box with artefacts brings a surprise.Why the child in TunelWielki cave was buried with a finch’s skull in its mouth? Why the Pottermanrockshelter was such a good place to put a potter man workshop there? Who occupied Koziarnia cave during Middle-Upper Palaeolithic transition? Was the newborn found in Bramkarockshelter buried in Mesolithic? Who made the charcoal piles next to the Kamienisterockshelter? Our research team of 22 researchers tries to find out the answer on those and few dozens other questions?
The project „ Settlement of the Sąspów Valley from Palaeolithic up to Modern times- elaboration of the unpublished fieldwork results of prof. WaldemarChmielewski” is financed by National Science Cente(grant No 2016/22/E/HS3/00486).

100 years ago in 1916 Stefan Krukowski was one of the first archaeologist conducting archaeological fieldworks on Palaeolithicsite in territory of Georgia. He worked in theCaucasian Museum in Tbilisi for the moment and till the end of the I World War he managed to analyse the collection of app. 30 000 Upper Palaeolithic artefacts which he collected during the two months of fieldworks in Gvardjilas Klde cave in Imereti region. While leaving Tbilisi in 1918 S. Krukowski had the manuscript of the monographybook ready for publishing. Unfortunately the book was never published.
100 years later in a cooperation with National Archaeological Museum in Warsaw where the manuscript is stored, we work on publishing the book. The work is not easy at all because all the plates with original drawings are lost. The only material we have is a manuscript written in Russian, part of the French translation and the fieldwork diary made by Krukowski during excavations. Luckily thanks to Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi we had opportunity to study the original collection of artefacts. The book will be published in Polish, Georgian, Russian and English at the beginning of 2019.

Department of Non-Invasive Surveys

Geophysics Survey
Geophysics Survey in Ptolemais in Libya

Address: 00-927 Warsaw, str. Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28, Szkoła Główna, tel.  22-55-22-816, room 3.16

dr hab. prof. UW Krzysztof Misiewicz

dr Ewa Marczak-Łukaszewicz
dr Miron Bogacki
mgr Wiesław Małkowski
dr hab. prof. UW Krzysztof Misiewicz prof. UW

Doctoral students:
Julia Chyla

The Department conducts activities concerned with:
● geophysical methods applied to archaeology (geo-electric, magnetic and electromagnetic) ;
● integration of physical and geophysical methods for non-destructive analysis of archaeological sites and historical monuments;
in collaboration with the Department of hydrogeology and engineering geophysics the Faculty of Geology of the University of Warsaw
● integrated geophysical studies for geological, geotechnical, hydrogeological and environmental issues;
● acquisition and processing of seismic reflection and electro tomography data for archaeological purposes as well as for physical and mechanical characterization of materials;
● geophysical methods applied to non-invasive diagnosis of reinforced concrete structures;
● landslide study;
We conduct also studies related to airborne photography by means of drones, satellites or planes, Airborne Laser Scanning(ALS)and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)with the purpose to take aerial prospection to another level by converting photographs into precise 3D terrain-mapping models with horizontal and vertical resolutions.

Department of Aegean and Textile Archaeology

Didactical study tour in Greece – Mycenae’ 2017, photo A. Łaszcz
Didactical study tour in Greece – Mycenae’ 2017, photo A. Łaszcz

Kazimierz Lewartowski is interested first of all in Mycenaean civilization, Bronze Age and Classical burial habits, and memory of the Bronze Age in the Classical Greece.

Małgorzata Siennicka’s research interests focus on the Bronze Age Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, and more specifically on early balance weights and metrology, small finds, textile production, craftsmanship, settlements and architecture. In her PhD thesis (“OIKIΣMOΣ. Spatial and Social Organisation of Late Helladic III Mycenae and Contemporary Settlements in the Argolid” (2010, Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw) she studied the Mycenaean settlements in the Argolid in Greece. 2013-2017 she was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the Centre for Textile Research at the University of Copenhagen with the project “Greek Textile Tools. Continuity and changes in textile production in Early Bronze Age Greece” (PIEF-GA-2012-329910 Marie Curie Actions Intra-European Fellowship FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF). While in Copenhagen, she managed an international research project “First Textiles”. She joined a number of excavation projects in Greece, Russia and Poland. She has gained substantial teaching experience at the University of Warsaw and University of Copenhagen, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 2017-2020 she is an ERC Associate at the University of Göttingen in the ERC Consolidator Project “WEIGHTANDVALUE. Weight metrology and its economic and social impact on Bronze Age Europe, West and South Asia” (ERC-CoG-2014 – ERC Consolidator Grant, Project ID: 648055) with the project “Uncanonical weights and metal ingots from the Aegean and Cyprus in the Bronze Age”.

Dr Agata Ulanowska, an Assistant Professor.
Her research interests focus on the Bronze Age Aegean, specifically on textile production and technology, experimental and experience archaeology, and Aegean seals and sealing practices. She holds a PhD in Aegean archaeology from the University of Warsaw. Since 2013, she has continued a pioneering and innovative project, in which the process of gaining hands-on experience in textile techniques from the Aegean Bronze Age is documented, assessed and monitored. The collected records make it possible to compare the work and experience of modern actors, e.g. students and scholars, in an objective manner, and to draw conclusions about the tacit dimensions of textile work, such as kinaesthetics, efficiency, experienced level of difficulty, or attention required at consecutive operational sequences of textile making. She was awarded with two grants of the National Science Centre in Poland for the research project investigating weaving techniques in the Aegean Bronze Age (2015–2017) and the ongoing project investigating relations between textile production and seals and sealing practices in the Aegean Bronze Age (2018–2021)

Dr Stephanie Aulsebrook, an Assistant Professor.

Her project, Forging Society at Late Bronze Age Mycenae, focuses on the role of metal at Mycenae, the leading centre of the Late Bronze Age Mycenaean Greek mainland. Metals have a wide range of uses, with their importance within the political economy garnering the majority of scholarly attention. Yet metals are also a fundamental part of everyday life in a Mycenaean community and this project is designed to develop and apply innovative approaches to investigate this relatively understudied aspect of their role. This work is financed by a grant from the Polish National Science Centre.  She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2013, has held a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and has contributed to the Well Built Mycenae project.

Research in Greece – The Polish Archaeological Institute at Athens


Agata Ulanowska

2018 –Textiles and Seals. Relations between Textile Production  and Seals and Sealing Practices in Bronze Age Greece
research project at the Institute of Archaeology UW, financed by the programme SONATA 13 of the National Science Centre in Poland (UMO-2017/26/D/HS3/00145, 637 052 PLN)

2015 – 2017  Textile Production in Bronze Age Greece – Comparative Studies of the Aegean Weaving Techniques
Post-doctoral internship of The National Science Centre in Poland to the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Centre for Research on Ancient Technologies in Łódź (UMO-2015/16/S/HS3/00085, 300 000 PLN)

Stephanie Aulsebrook

2019 – 2022 Forging Society at Late Bronze Age Mycenae: the Relationships between People and Metals.
Research project at the Institute of Archaeology UW, financed by the programme SONATA 14 of the National Science Centre in Poland (UMO-2018/31/D/HS3/02231, 736,310 PLN)

Katarzyna Żebrowska

2017-2019 “Sicilian Textile Tools from the Bronze Age: Examination of Finds and Comparative Studies on Their Functionality”
Research project (ref. nr 2016/21/N/HS3/02926) financed by PRELUDIUM 11 program of the National Science Centre, Poland