The aim of this study is to present a full characterization and catalogue of the graves of the early medieval inhumation necropolis that was recently found at the edge of the loess uplands in the western part of Małopolska (Lesser Poland) – specifically, in Grodowice, Kazimierza Wielka district. The second aim is to determine the matrilineal genetic structure and to present the first medieval population-level human DNA study from Małopolska. ; The necropolis, which was excavated in 2005-2008 at site 1, is situated in an open field on the culmination of a broad, flat hill being part of a longitudinal range of hills separating the valleys of two larger rivers – namely, the Nidzica and Młyńska. The excavations resulted in the discovery of 35 inhumation graves, partly arranged in regular rows, dating to the early medieval period. The deceased were placed mostly in regular pits with their heads to the west. Very few traces of wooden coffins were recorded. 32 skeletons were classified in anthropological analysis. They present all age classes: Infans/Juvenis (13 graves), Juvenis/Adultus (8 graves, incl. 3 females and 3 males), Adultus/Maturus (9 graves, incl. 3 females and 3 males), and Senilis (1 grave). Various pathological changes and injuries were recorded: teeth plaque, enamel hypoplasia, caries, spine and long bone degenerations, cribra orbitalia, Schmorl’s nodes. Thirteen mtDNA sequences were made which encompass almost the entire range of Western Eurasian macro-haplogroups. ; Artefacts were recorded in 11 graves, such as: temple rings, coins, finger rings, beads, and coins. They occurred in female, male, and child graves alike. ; The cemetery at Grodowice, like the majority of inhumation cemeteries in Małopolska, was probably founded in the second half or towards the end of the 10th century. Graves with coins indicate that it still functioned in the late 11th century. It cannot be ruled out that the Grodowice necropolis ceased to function as a result of the construction of churches in nearby Kazimierza Mała (probably as early as in the 11th century) and Bejsce (12th century or the first half of the 13th century).
Apr 18, 2021