Wielun and the Warta River Amber Route

mapaNSB

Part of the amber route between Acquileia and the Baltic coast, related to long-distance trade, and certainly also for internal trade within the so-called Barbaricum, led along the southern run of the River Prosna. The Prosna River Basin had a large concentration of settlement during the Period of Roman Influence with numerous imports found especially on the vicinity of the town of Kalisz.

The Warta River trade route, which was especially active in the first centuries CE, likely linked a settlement cluster in the area of today’s Cracow with settlements by Lake Gopło and the River Bzura. The same route was probably used much earlier, during the times of the Lusatian Culture, to bring other southern imports to the upper Warta such as bonzeware, glass beads, bronze pins and certain tools. In the Middle Ages, the Upper Warta linked Cracow wth Kalisz, i.e. western Lesser Poland with eastern Greater Poland.

In the studies about the trade contacts of these lands with the Roman provinces published so far, the areas lying along the Upper Warta were largely ignored. The already discovered numerous group of imports in the entire doab between the Prosna and the Warta indicates the important role of the area and the River Warta in trade relations with the Roman Provinces between the Danube and the Baltic.

Today, the region is one of many which eagerly tap into this tradition. The Polish Amber Route Society, established in 2006, takes up many initiatives to promote the Warta River Amber Route, including books, plein-air workshops, conferences, bicycle expeditions and perhaps most famous of all, the European Amber Day in Wielun.