Wietrzychowice – long barrows

History

   The tombs were erected by tribes of shepherds and farmers living in the surrounding areas around 3500 BC. The builders are connected with the Funnelbeaker culture. They created a system of religious beliefs, the manifestation of which was the erection of massive stone and earth structures. It were probably places of eternal rest for chiefs, local rulers, priests or tribal elders. On the tops of the tombs, the remains of later feasts and celebrations, in honor of the deceased, were found, therefore it is assumed that they were probably also a places of cult rituals carried out with the participation of the entire community. As the barrows constituted a distinctive element in the space inhabited and managed by farmers, they could also serve for the Neolithic communities as a visible symbol of ownership of a specific area. Sometimes attention is also paid to their relationship with communication routes, which could suggest the role of specific signposts.

Architecture

   The tombs were created in the form of embankments in the shape of elongated triangles, often reaching up to 100 – 115 meters in length. It were covered with boulders and larger stones, the mass of which in the top part reached 7-10 tons. As the tomb narrowed, the stones were smaller and smaller. The great ones were from the front of the tombs, smaller along the “tail”, sometimes ended with one larger boulder. The highest embankments are from the front of the tombs, that is from the south, then it clearly decrease and narrow into characteristic “tails”. In the front parts there are breaks in the stone band. These were probably entrances to timber chambers intended for the celebration of funeral rites. On average, about 150 m3 of stones and about 1,000 m3 of earth were used to erect one tomb. Transportation of building material, due to the size and considerable weight of stone blocks, probably took place with the help of oxen.
  
Only men were buried in these graves. Studies have shown that these were single burials, although there are cases of finding two men buried at the same time simultaneously. The dead were laid in an upright position, on his back. The heads of the deceased were directed to the head of the tomb. Modest burial equipment was usually limited only to one flint tool, a part of a vessel or a limestone, which indicates its symbolic character. The vessels and clay spoons, relics made of flint, including arrowheads, axes and battle axes have also survived to our times.

Current state

   Kuyavian barrows are the oldest architectural monuments in Poland. Until today in the archaeological park in Wietrzychowice there are five tombs. Earth embankments which before the excavations were supposedly from 80 cm to 1 meter high, after reconstruction reach over 2 meters. The tombs are located about 500 meters from the road.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

bibliography:
Papiernik P., Płaza D.K., Park kulturowy Wietrzychowice na europejskim szlaku megalitów, Łódź 2017.

Website odznaka.kuj-pom.bydgoszcz.pttk.pl, Rezerwat archeologiczny w Wietrzychowicach.
Website wikipedia.org, Wietrzychowice (województwo kujawsko-pomorskie).