Centre for Applied Archaeology

About the lab

Centre for Applied Archaeology (CAA) is part of the "Excellence Initiative – Research University" at NCU in Toruń, which is established to respond to the growing interest in a scientific approach to archaeological heritage in Poland and the challenges of modern archaeology. Archaeometallurgy is one of the main areas interest of the CAA aiming to tackle the metal movement and consumption in ancient Poland, with a special focus on metalwork provenancing and research into workshop practices and organization. In addition, geophysical survey and fieldwork will be run at Neolithic roundels and Lusatian strongholds in the Kuyavia region and Chełmno land. The CAA will also apply lipid analyses and paleoproteomics to archaeological ceramics to uncover Neolithic cooking and cuisine in the region.

Featured projects (1)

For a long period of 1200–450 BC, the region of Chełmno land in northern Poland was home for one of the northernmost Lusatian people and provides a particularly interesting framework to discuss the metal movement and consumption in the wider "Urnfield Barbaricum". It was a time when access to metal trading networks and metal(work) consumption became significant in political and socio-economic negotiations between the Lusatian power elites from the region of northern Poland. However, these cultural trajectories cannot be firmly set into archaeometallurgical context since the supporting lead isotope data from the region is still yet to come. This project aims to break that deadlock in Polish archaeometallurgy by addressing the metal movement and consumption in the Chełmno group of the Lusatian culture (1200–450 BC) through a lead isotope oriented perspective. A corpus of 100 metal artefacts will be investigated for lead isotope (using MC-ICP-MS) and elemental (using ED XRF) compositions to determine the possible origin of metal sourced for the production of the selected artefacts, and to trace their movement. The most important part of this assemblage are metal hoards consisting of body ornaments, tools and weapon, horse gear items, and the imported luxury metal goods. The other important part of the metalwork included in this project encompasses semi-products and waste (casting jets, bronze drops, rods and wires) coming from local workshops (e.g. Kamieniec, Kałdus, Ruda), and other metal goods from settlement and mortuary context or found with no associated material or structures, including bronze scrap and metal commodities (some types of necklaces and D-shaped ingots). Little portion of metal artefacts in this group will be from the region of Kuyavia and Eastern Pomerania. These would form a reference group for monitoring metal trading networks that safeguarded local metalwork production and consumption in the Chełmno land, and will be used for testing the origin (locally made vs. imported) of metalwork hoarded in the region during the Lusatian era in Poland. The project results will give a background to discuss the metal trading networks, and metal(work) movement and consumption in the Chełmno group in relation to their kinsmen from the northern parts of Lusatian culture and Eastern Pomerania. This project will provide precise lead isotope data for the Lusatian metal(work) from northern Poland and will help to install the northern parts of the Lusatian culture in the ongoing international debate on metal movement and consumption in the later European Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, and may thus drive Polish academia to catch up with the rest of Europe in metal provenance studies.

Featured research (2)

The detection of dairy processing is pivotal to our understanding of ancient subsistence strategies. This culinary process is linked to key arguments surrounding the evolution of lactase persistence in prehistory. Despite extensive evidence indicating the presence of dairy products in ceramics in the European Neolithic, questions remain about the nature and extent of milk (and lactose) processing and consumption. In order to investigate past patterns of dairy processing, here we analyse ancient proteins identified from Late Neolithic Funnel Beaker ceramics, scrutinizing the principle that curd and whey proteins partition during the production of dairy foods from milk. Our results indicate the presence of casein-rich dairy products in these vessels suggesting the creation of curd-enriched products from raw milk. Moreover, this analysis reveals the use of multiple species for their dairy products in the Late Neolithic, adding to a growing body of evidence for the period. Alongside palaeoproteomic analysis, we applied well-established lipid residue analysis. Differential interpretations between these two approaches show that palaeoproteomics is especially useful where the effects from isotope mixing may underestimate the frequency of dairy products in archaeological ceramics, highlighting the potential utility of a multi-stranded approach to understand life histories of vessel use.
In 2018, excavations at Markowice in central Poland produced sound evidence for the uptake of the Baden Culture in the region: the remains of a young male interred with two cattle drawing a funerary sledge were unearthed, along with several other Funnel Beaker (TRB) inhumations that date to 3500–3100 BC.

Lab head

Kamil Adamczak
  • Department of Prehistory

Members (7)

Łukasz Kowalski
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
Kamil Nowak
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
Magdalena Kozicka
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
Jacek Gackowski
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
Hanna Połeć
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
Jakub Wojtecki
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University
Maciej Urban
  • Nicolaus Copernicus University