Wislanie Snapshot
Research Notes by Dennis Benarz
  • Latin sources in the Ist and 2nd Centuries, including Tacitus, mention Slavs calling them Veneds. Perhaps this corresponds to the West Slavic Wieleci/Veleti tribe that lived in what is today eastern Germany. Today's "Wends" are their surviving remnants.
  • Indo-European origin is confirmed in several sources.
  • Lands inhabited by the Slavs were called Sclaviniae in Byzantine sources.
  • During the reign of Byzantine Justin I (518-527AD) there are reports of raids by Slavs, called the Antis, from the steppes north of the Danube.
  • Byzantine Tzar Justinian (527-565) is reported to have waged successful wars against the Antis and Sclavinis.
  • Byzantine sources in the 6th and 7th Centuries called eastern Slavs Antes.
  • Other sources call Slavs occupying southern Poland in the 9th Century  W. Chrobatians.
  • The Wislanie, as opposed to the northern Polish tribes, were people of the woods and forests, not plainsmen. Their homeland included the primeval Great Sandomierz Forest.

    Their forest enviroment may have played a large role in shaping their thinking. They do not appear to very aggressive or confrontational as a group. It appears that one of their main tactics in time of attack was to retreat and hide in the deep forests, where the woods and the wild animals provided them considerable defense.

    Like other West Slavic tribes, the Wislanie did not bury their dead but favored cremation. Nor did they build stone temples and statues of their gods, but rather gathered in circles in groves and clearings to worship and when they built, they built using wood. This denies us substantial prehistoric evidence of their range and culture. However, there is evidence of settlements at/near Sandomierz and Mielec 5000 years ago. Further, there's firm evidence of an iron smelter near Tarnow, 16 miles west of Debica, in use sometime between 70 BC and 270 AD.

    Some Wislanie were reluctant to convert to Christianity. Although the Polish realm officially accepted Roman Catholicism over 1000 years ago, the conversion of the Wislanie was not immediate and pockets of resistence were often overcome with force of arms. Although Benedictine missions operated in the area between 1000-1300 AD, the establishment of parishes in the area of Tarnow-Debica did not commence until about 1300 AD which was about the same time that Lithuanians began to convert to Christianity. 
    Local Selected Carbon-14 Dated Samples:
    Age:     Sample:    Location:                     Composition:

    10100  Gd-130     Debica, Kolejowa St   Peat at depth of 8.71 to 8.74 meters
    7990    Gd-597     Grabiny 101078/LS     Unspecified round wood at  7 meters
    5945    Gd-600     Latoszyn* 170878/2    Oak at 5.5 meters
    5985    Gd-581     Latoszyn* 170878/4    Oak tree trunk at 5.3 meters
    5915    Gd-580     Latoszyn* 170878/1    Oak at 5.0 meters
    2730    Gd-1011   Latoszyn* 070787/1    Unspecified wood at 3.5 meters
    2420    Gd-582     Latoszyn* 180578/1    Unspecified wood at 2.5 meters

    *Location is actually the gravel pit on left bank of Wisloka River opposite Latoszyn and nearer Grabiny.
    Source: Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Physics, 2000-2001.
    Earliest Local Inhabited Sites in Debica County:
    Debica, Borowa, Pilzno        Evidence of Wislanie settlements in 700-900 AD.
    Dennis Benarz, Chicagoland USA 2002-2007
    Discovery of ancient charcoal or other campfire material, which can be reliably tested for age, has not yet occured in the Debica/Pilzno/Straszecin area. To date, only the presense of prehistoric peat bogs and forest have been revealed.
    Other Selected Carbon-14 Dated Samples:
    Age:     Sample:    Location:                      Composition:

    11190   Gd-967    Tarnowiec (Tarnow)     Peat at depth of 200 cm
    1920     Gd-229     Lysa Gora*** (Tarnow)Charcoal from ancient iron works
    3500     Gd-133     Polonie Kolonie II         Charcoal from base of flint mine
    1660     Gd-1545   Zawada (Mielec)*         Chacoal
    1120     Gd-1549   Zawada (Mielec)*         Charcoal
    5710     Gd-886     Zawada (Mielec) *         Burnt Log from palisade of settlement,
                                                                              Trench 52, Object 32, depth 55 cm
    3770     Gd-2041   Sandomierz**               Charcoal
    5090     Gd-2040   Sandomierz**               Charcoal
    5110     Gd-984     Sandomierz **              Charcoal

    * Archeological excavation at  50 28 00N, 21 20 00E, Jan Michalski, August 1980.
       Site is about 16-18 miles north of Debica.
    ** Archeological excavation at  Vistula River valley near Sandomierz,
        H. Kowalewska-Marszalek, August 1980. Site is 46 miles NNE of Debica.
    *** Correct location is Lisia Gora, 16.4 miles W of Debica.

    Source: Silesian University of Technology, Institute of Physics, 2000-2001.