The Przeworsk culture is part of an Iron Age archaeological complex that dates from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. It was located in what is now central and southern Poland, later spreading to parts of eastern Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia ranging between the Oder and the middle and upper Vistula Rivers into the headwaters of the Dniester and Tisza Rivers. It takes its name from the village near the town Przeworsk where the first artefacts were found.


Scholars view the Przeworsk culture as an amalgam of a series of localized cultures. Continuity with the preceding Pomeranian culture is observed, albeit modified by significant influences from the La Tene and Jastorf cultures.

To the east, in what is now northern Ukraine and southern Belarus, was the Zarubintsy culture, to which it is linked as a larger archaeological complex. Much of this area was subsequently absorbed by the Wielbark culture[1].

Ethnic affiliationEdit

Roman-era writers report this area as being occupied by Veneti, as well as Lugians, to the south. The Burgundians and Vandals are known to have been settled in portions of the area, prior to their outmigration, toward the end of this cultural period.

Early twentieth century scholars often engaged in heated debates as to the bearers of the Przeworsk culture. A substantial effort has been expended in the past to characterize the latter as an early Slavic-speaking community, whilst German scholars attributed it to Vandals and Burgundians. However, it is impossible to believe that a single people could lay behind such a territorially wide and culturally varied zone. Therefore, modern thinking leans towards assigning the culture to an association of tribes of proto-Slavic, Germanic and Celtic origins.


The main feature of the Przeworsk culture are burials. These are mostly cremations, with occasional inhumation. Warrior burials are notable, which often include horsegear and spurs. Some burials are exceptionally rich, overshadowing the graves of Germanic groups further west, especially after 400 AD.[2] Pottery and metalwork are often rich and show a great variety [3]


The culture's decline in the late fourth century coincides with arrival of Huns and subsequent westward movement of Germanic groups[4]. Others, on the otherhand, argue that there was considerable population continuity. They instead emphasize the role of the social crisis which occurred as a result of the collapse of the Roman world and the trade contacts it maintained with peoples beyond its borders.[5] In the late fifth century, the Prague-Korchak culture appears in the Vistula basin.


  1. Heather (1998, p. 38)
  2. Vandals, Romans and Berbers. New Perspectives on Late Antique North Africa. A H Merrills. 2004, Ashgate. Page 35
  3. Todd. Pg 26
  4. Cunliffe (2003, p. 452)
  5. The Archaeology of early medieval Poland. A Buzko. Brill 2008. Page 62


  • Heather, Peter (2006), The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195159543 
  • Cunliffe, Barry; Todd, Malcolm (2001), The Oxford Illustrated History of Prehistoric Europe, Oxford, ISBN 0192854410 

See alsoEdit

it:Cultura di Przeworsk lt:Pševorsko kultūra pl:Kultura przeworska ru:Пшеворская культура sv:Przeworsk-kulturen uk:Пшеворська культура

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