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I published recently an article under a similar title in 'Slavia Antiqua'. Yet it was significantly deficient, for I passed over issues connected with the production of raw material for the guilds. Here I will venture to fill this gap. Prof. Przemyslaw Urbanczyk's contribution (1995) drew my attention to this issue. In my belief, the author identified the device used in the production properly, considering it as a continuation of the Roman mixers used to stir gypsum-lime mortars, such as were still in use in Early Medieval times. The discovery of this device in Poznan is of utmost importance for the study of building in Early Medieval Poland. Its presence points to the importance that building guilds attached to spatial planning. At the same time, it facilitated the construction of great architectural complexes, which in turn served the purpose of propagating Christianity. Thus, it is quite reasonable for an installation of this kind to be found in a place, which after 996 was to become a center of the newly introduced cult. Importantly, Urbanczyk explains the system of propagating the new cult and the role of the Ostrow Tumski in Poznan in this case. His assertions confirm to some extent my earlier hypothesis and discussion of the issue. The cited contribution by Urbanczyk supports previous deliberations, demanding a more correct look at the function of the device as such. It brings order to the discussion and gives new direction to the debate over this important discovery. It permits a suitable evaluation of the extremely complex and well organized process of propagating a new cult, without needing to refer to hypotheses that, while alluring, could be distant from historical reality. In no way does it undermine the importance of the Poznan discoveries; quite the opposite in fact, it permits a conscientious evaluation.
In this presentation, I would like to draw attention to Prof. Z. Kurnatowska's excellent study (1993) of Mieszko I. I have repeatedly devoted attention to this ruler, considering him as the more prominent personality in the building of the state compared to Boleslaus the Brave. Let me cite just one opinion in confirmation: 'He was a remarkable army commander, but an excellent politician as well. A statesman who understood one of the fundamental wisdoms of politics and power: knowing when to stop, when to restrain himself and control his armed intoxication'. It is in this aspect that I judge Prof. Kurnatowska's study. The qualifying adjectives are hardly a diplomatic measure; they assess a truly excellent presentation, particularly the documentation based on her own studies. I have written of these before, in 1974. Her approach deserves to be commended for its variety as much as for its innovativeness. It is rightly enriching at times, and occasionally exceeding a literal understanding of the subject scope. One should mention her modern study of the communication network including waterways, written together with her husband, Prof. Stanislaw Kurnatowski. On the margin, I would opt for adding natural resources. They are important, for example, for the Goplo borderlands, which I prefer to call the Goplo-Venetic borderland. What I have in mind is salt. The Goplo-Venetic borderland is in itself an ethnic and cultural hybrid. It included, among others, Venetic elements intermixed with doubtful Goplo ones, some Polan ones, Celtic (possibly in Czech disguise) and Germanic ones occasionally suggested for Kruszwica. I have thus touched upon the debate over the ethnogenezology of Polish lands. It is yet another variant of the previously accepted hybridism, already formulated a number of times in cartographic form, not always recognized by other scholars in their transformed versions. Needless to say, while rightly opining in such positive light Z. Kurnatowska's study, I cannot refrain from a little nit-picking. Let me say that the author has treated the opinions of others with some disdain, considering them as misguided at the very least. Thus, I find in this important article lapses, such as the information about the ruins of a rampart uncovered in Poznan in 1938, now dated by the dendrochronological method to the middle of the 10th century, which is fortunately in accordance with my dating of 1938, based still on the old methods. Kurnatowska has overlooked the ruins of a purely wooden rampart discovered 10 m to the west of the above-cited fortifications. This other defense structure is usually forgotten, presumably overshadowed by the latter, monumental rampart. It was published in Kronika miasta Poznania (Chronicle of the Town of Poznan), a publication that is not easily available for consideration. It had not been possible to date this rampart at the time of discovery, nor had it been possible to determine its further course. I am presently of the opinion that it could have preceded Mieszko I's rampart by a mere few years. It was in the same fifth layer as the other rampart. Also, a formal analysis, the absence of any forked boughs used as anchoring elements and the inconsiderable width (4.5 m) of this fortification could point to the first half of the 10th century as a possible date of its construction.
The oldest ducal 'castrum' of the Piasts stood at the foot of Lech's Hill and not on it. There has been general agreement on this so far. Evoking the old record in conjunction with the results of archaeological research largely deflates earlier suggestions concerning the old 'castrum', which now appears to have been much more modest. Neither is it true that the boroughs were located here. The 'castrum' itself was a modest palisade-and-moat stronghold. Unfortunately, Koczy's information on the existence of a barrier in the form of extensive lengthwise mounds to the east has also gone unnoticed. The localization of these mounds should be established and the chronology potentially determined. The small fort of 'Gniezninek' in the city park and the conical stronghold Zbar on Trzemeszenska Street (the localization of which continues to be debated), where the St. Michael Church stands today, could be part of the remains of these defensive installations. In the light of the above remarks, a new vision of the oldest 'castrum' in Gniezno should be developed along with a more in-depth history of the local 'castra'. Apart from houses belonging to those charged with caring for the 'sacrum', the top of the hill contained the Sacred Grove with the idol(s) and a stone hearth for the sacred fire burning in the solar cult. Even so, the Church of St. George is not, as the author assumed (2001), the remains of a pagan temple. Thus, the first capital of the Piasts awaits a new and talented visionary researcher. No traces of the alleged archbishop's residence, the existence of which he suggested, have come to light so far. Its builder is commonly believed to be the archbishop Jarosław Bogoria Skotnicki, responsible for the Gothic cathedral in Gniezno. Considering the decoration of this cathedral, any palace erected by the same person would have had to be exceptional.
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