10th International Conference on Geomorphology
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The environmental context of Subneolithis settlement of Nieman Culture in Podlasie region (NE Poland)

Marcin Frączek1, Tomasz Kalicki1, and Adam Wawrusiewicz2
Marcin Frączek et al.
  • 1Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Institute of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Kielce, Poland
  • 2Department of Archaeology, Podlaskie Museum in Białystok, Poland.

The evolution of these regions included several stages of transformation during the last two Pleistocene glaciations and two interglacial periods – Eemian and Holocene. The origin and age of Biebrza Basin (Podlasie) were associated with erosional processes connected with Oder and Wartha (Saalian) ice sheet or Vistulian – Świecie stadial before LGM.

Results of studies indicate some periods of climatic changes and an increase in morphogenetic processes. The oldest phase of cool and humid climate was dated at Preboreal/Boreal period (Lipsk site) and the beginning of Atlantic (growth of peat bogs in valley floor, river channel cut off at Lipowo site). The next humid period at the end of the Atlantic indicated subfossil trees (trees couldn’t grow on a peat-bog in the valley bottom at the Krasnoborki site). The youngest humid period and beginning of peat accumulation on Subboreal colluvia (delluvia) occurred about 3200-3100 BP (comparison with the Krasnoborki site). Climate fluctuations correlate very well with phases distinguished in Centraleuropean river valleys. 

Geoarchaeological research in the Podlasie region confirmed the common settlement points of hunter-gatherer communities from the middle and late stone ages. 

We can decline two types of settlement: first hunter character (Krasnoborki, Lipowo, Lipsk), and second much more complicated and multifunctional site (Grądy-Woniecko).

 The Subneolithis population inhabited dry elevations at the bottom of the river valley and over the water reservoir. Encampments were established in places with the highest biodiversity at the boundary between flooded and non-flooded, forested, and non-forested areas. Environmental changes did not significantly affect subneolitic settlement. Also, the impact of this population on the environment was negligible, which was related to the type of assimilated economy based on hunting and gathering. Subneolitic populations have started the aeolian processes (Grądy-Woniecko site) and the dunes have been transformed, while the colluvial (delluvial) cover at the slope of the sandy elevations is likely to be younger than the period of functioning of the Niemen culture.

Investigations of subneolitic sites on sandy elevations surrounded by organic sediments allow capturing homogenous groups of artifacts of the Niemen culture. Organic layers with well-preserved ecodesign make an opportunity to determine the economical and food characteristics of the societies surveyed, which in the case of "classic" sandy sites is unreachable.

Well-preserved organic remains allow to determine the environmental conditions of settlement and, above all, allow obtaining the absolute chronology thanks to 14C dating.

How to cite: Frączek, M., Kalicki, T., and Wawrusiewicz, A.: The environmental context of Subneolithis settlement of Nieman Culture in Podlasie region (NE Poland), 10th International Conference on Geomorphology, Coimbra, Portugal, 12–16 Sep 2022, ICG2022-703, https://doi.org/10.5194/icg2022-703, 2022.