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» Departments » Departments of Research on Ancient Technologies » History of Department Research on Ancient Technologies
History of Department Research on Ancient Technologies

The Department Research on Ancient Technologies (formerly the Central Poland Archaeology Department of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), as well as the Łódź Branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences) was founded in 1953, at the time when the Institute was established, from the laboratories of the Research Management Office for the Origins of the Polish State in Łódź - the Excavation Works Management Office in Gdańsk, the Excavation Works Management Office in Łęczyca and the Excavation Works Management Office in Lutomiersk. It was initially headed by Prof. Konrad Jażdżewski, who was also director of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum in Łódź; the Museum's premises housed the team. In 1960 the institution was headed by Prof. Andrzej Nadolski. In 1992, Prof. Tadeusz Poklewski became the head of the department, and from 2001 it was headed by Prof. Jerzy Maik. At present, this position is held by Prof. Mariusz Mielczarek.


After the end of work on the millennium of the Polish state, the Department was engaged in research on the material culture of early medieval Poland. Cooperation with École des Hautes Études et Science Sociales was initiated. As a result of the cooperation, research on French medieval abandoned villages was undertaken. In the early 1990s, archaeological research was conducted on the castles of Alsace, initially in cooperation with the Centre d'Archéologie Médiévale de Strasbourg, and later independently. At the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, three larger research teams also began to take shape at the department. The first, headed by Professor A. Nadolski, dealt with the history of ancient armaments, the second - under the supervision of Professor T. Poklewski - with the history of brick architecture, and the third - headed by Professor A. Abramowicz - with the history of Polish archaeology. In addition, research was conducted on the nomads of the Great Steppe, ancient military and numismatic studies, archaeology of the Black Sea region (participation in works at the site of ancient Nikonion), tiles and bricks as building materials in the Middle Ages and in modern times, textile industry in prehistory and in the Middle Ages.  Cemeteries of Polish officers murdered in the Soviet Union were also explored.


The most important excavations carried out by the Centre include those at Tum near Leczyca (hillfort and collegiate church from the 8th-14th centuries), Gdańsk (town from the 10th-13th centuries), Lutomiersk (cemetery from the 11th century), Bolesławiec (castle from the 14th-18th centuries), Kalisz (castle and town from the 14th-18th centuries), Dracy in Burgundy (village from the 13th-15th centuries), Lubieszewo (battlefield from 1576), Grunwald (battlefield from 1410), Petit-Koenigsbourg in Alsace (castle from the 13th to the 15th century), Dąbrówno (town from the 14th to the 20th century), Katyń, Russia (graves of Polish officers - 1940). Since 1995, the Centre has carried out archaeological rescue research on large investments (the JAMAL gas pipeline, the Bełchatów lignite mine, the A1 and A2 motorways). The most interesting sites include: Chrząstów Folwarczny, Zgierz District (multicultural settlement - Bronze Age-Roman period), Pomorzany, Kutno District (farmstead - 14th-18th century) and Pomorzanki, Gostynin District (hillfort - 14th century, village - 14th-18th century).


In the first decade of the 21st century, two research teams were formed at the Institute, and on their basis, as part of the Institute's reform, the Team of Research on Old Armour (T. Kurasiński, P. Strzyż) and the Team of Research on Old Textile Manufacturing (Ł. Antosik, J. Maik, A. Rybarczyk, J. Słomska-Bolonek) were established. There are also studies on archaeology and numismatics of the ancient world (A. Jankowska, M. Mielczarek) and social and economic questions from the Roman Period to the early Middle Ages (M. Piotrowska, K. Skóra).