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European early Iron Age cultures:
dark green - Nordic group
dark red - Jastorf culture
yellow - Harpstedt-Nienburger group
orange - Celtic groups
olive-green - Pomeranic culture
bold green - House Urn culture
light red - east-Baltic cultures of forest zone
violet - west-Baltic culture of cairns
turquoise - Milogrady culture
black - Estonic group

The Pomeranian culture, also Pomeranian or Pomerelian Face Urn culture[1] was an Iron Age culture in Pomerelia, northern Poland. About 650 BC, it evolved from the Lusatian culture between the lower Vistula and Parseta rivers,[2] and subsequently expanded southward. Between 200 and 150 BC, it was succeeded by the Oxhöft (Oksywie) culture in eastern Pomerania and the Przeworsk culture at the upper Vistula and Oder rivers.[3]. The Pomeranian culture is considered by German scholars to mark the (proto-)Germanic-Baltic frontier, yet a linguistic classification, whether Baltic, Germanic, or interlink, is not possible.[4] Most Ukrainian, Polish and Russian scholars, including Kostrzewski, Hensel, Sedov, Terpilovski, Oblomski, Rusanova, Baran and Artamonov have considered it to be proto-Slavic and ancestral to both the Przeworsk and the Zarubintsy cultue. Marija Gimbutas ascribed Pomeranian culture to West Balts.



Pomeranian faced urns
Reconstructed stone cist

The most characteristic feature was the use of burial urns with faces. The urns were often contained in stone cists. The face-urns have lids in the form of hats, often miniature ear-rings of real bronze are added. The faces are sometimes modelled very naturalistically, and no two urns show the same face. Incised drawings on the urns show hunting scenes, chariot races or riders. Brooches of Tłukom-type and necklaces of multiple bronze rings are typical examples of metal work.

The economy was similar to that of the Lusatian culture. Rye was systematically cultivated for the first time, but still formed a minor component of the cereals. There were fewer hill forts than in the area of the Lusatian culture further west. Southern imports were sparse as well.

Related cultures

A related culture of the same age was the House Urn culture in central Germany.[5]


In the later Iron Age, the Pomeranian culture spread southward, into areas formerly belonging to the Lusatian, Wysoko- and Milograd cultures. In Masovia and Poland this mixture led to the development of the group with bell-shaped burials (Glockengräbergruppe).

Ethnic speculation

Polish authors identify the Pomeranian culture with Vistula Veneti, while German authors tend to identify it with the Bastarnae, though those are described by Tacitus and other classic authors only at a later age, when they arrived and settled in the lower Danubian region.


  1. ^ Anthropological Literature, Tozzer Library, The Pomerelian Face Urn culture: a report on the status of the research, Acta praehistorica et archaeologica Berlin, no. 11/12, 1980/81. p. 219-304., Redgrave Pub. Co., 1982
  2. ^ Jan M Piskorski, Pommern im Wandel der Zeit, 1999, p.23, ISBN 8390618486
  3. ^ J. B. Rives, Tacitus' Germania, Oxford University Press, 1999, p.8, ISBN 0199240000
  4. ^ Heinrich Beck, Heiko Steuer, Rosemarie Müller, Dieter Timpe, Germanen, Germania, germanische Altertumskunde: Studienausgabe, 2nd edition, Walter de Gruyter, 1998, p.114, ISBN 3110163837 [1]
  5. ^ Peter Neal Peregrine, Melvin Ember, Human Relations Area Files, inc, Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Springer, 2001, p.406, ISBN 0306462583


  • Hallstattzeit, Die Altertümer im Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Bd. 2 , 1999, ISBN 3-8053-2566-5
  • Tacitus: Germania


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