Baffling 3,000-year-old Out of Place Mace Head Found in Poland
An amateur Polish archaeologist has made an astonishing discovery that is 3,000 years old - he unearthed a Bronze Age mace head . This find is rather baffling as it does not appear to belong to any of the known cultures that once inhabited this part of Poland. Furthermore, the mace head seems to have originated in the distant Middle East , which is adding to the mystery.
The Discovery of the Mace Head
The ancient object was found “during a licensed search of an area near Dukla by the Galicja Exploratory Historical Society” according to The First News . This group of amateur archaeologists was looking for artifacts and objects from WWII . They had been informed that there had been a battle in the area in 1939 and during their investigations, they found some shells and coins but then one of them found the mace head . It was found by an amateur archaeologist, Krzysztof Wiśniewski, who works in a local mine.
The mace head was discovered by amateur archaeologists in Poland. (Zawiadowca Historii / Fair Use )
Initially, he believed, that he had found something that had come from an old vehicle, such as a tractor. The Archaeology News Network , quotes Wiśniewski, as saying that “we soon realized that it could be important”. The amateur archaeologists contacted a local expert Dr. Wojciech Pasterkiewicz and he visited them at the site.
Bronze Age Weapon
He examined the object and made a stunning discovery. The object was not from the Twentieth Century but from 1000 BC. The First News site quotes Dr. Pasterkiewicz “We know it comes from that time because it fits in with the chronology of similar objects found in other regions”.
The archaeologist also revealed that the object was a mace head. It measures about 3 inches (10 centimeters) long, is made of bronze, and it is very well-preserved. The mace was a common weapon in the ancient world , and it was used by many cultures, including Ancient Egypt. The weapon was used to hit the enemy and often used to crush skulls . Their used continued well into the Middle Ages.
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The mace head, made of bronze, measures about 3 inches (10 centimeters) long. (Zawiadowca Historii / Fair Use )
According to the Archaeology News Network they typically had “a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, and a head made of stone, bone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel”.
When the item was made, bronze was rare, and it could only have belonged to a member of the elite. The mace was also a symbol of authority and would have been owned by a chieftain or even a king. Indeed, it remains a symbol of power today and can still be found in many Parliaments and Senates around the globe.
The Mysterious Origins of the Mace Head
It was easy for the archaeologist to determine what was the object and its date. It was far harder to determine who made the weapon and what were its origins. There are no similar examples of the object, dating from 1000 BC, found in this part of Europe. It does not appear to have originated from any of the societies that once inhabited the area.
Who the makers and the owners of the mace head are is an enigma. According to The First News website, Dr. Pasterkiewicz believes that it is “impossible to say exactly where it came from, but it was most likely a Middle Eastern culture”. This is based on the similarities between the object and other maces that have been uncovered in the Middle East.
Other types of mace heads discovered in the past in Romania. (Codrinb / CC BY-SA 3.0 )
This raises an important question. Why was this object, that originated so far away, found in the south of Poland? It is possible that it may have found its way to the area via ancient trade routes . Interestingly, the site is located near the Dukla Pass in the Carpathian Mountains and would have been used by any invaders entering the region in the ancient past . The mace head may, therefore, have once been owned by a commander of a foreign army campaigning in the region some 3000 years ago.
Location of discovery of the mace head in Poland - satellite map of the Carpathian Mountains with Dukla Pass in the Carpathian Mountains noted as red dot. (Qorilla / Public Domain )
The mace head is now legally owned by the Polish state . It is expected that it will go on public display in a museum in Rzeszów, which is in the south-east of Poland. More analysis is going to be carried out on the bronze used in the weapon and this may help to solve the mystery of how a Middle Eastern mace head came to be found in Poland.
Top image: The bronze mace head, found near Dukla. Source: Zawiadowca Historii / Fair Use .
By Ed Whelan