Hillfort, Będzin
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The hillfort of the Lusatian culture in Będzin-Grodziec (site 16, AZP 96-48/2), dated at the Late Bronze Age — 900-750 BC (Period V of the Bronze Age) and a later period of the Early Iron Age — 750-550 BC (HaC). The complex is a priceless archaeological site. It is one of the few fortified settlements of the Lusatian culture, the oldest in the territory of Poland, of which there are only 70 in the country. This historic site features preserved cultural strata and, in places, noticeable land features indicating the existence of a prehistoric system of fortifications.

Location and description

The hillfort is located on the top of the solitary, exposed Hill of St Dorothy, the so-called “Little Dorothy Hill” (382 m above sea level). The hill is one of the highest points of the Tarnogórski Ridge. The fortified settlement of the Lusatian culture is located on the very top of the hill, on a fairly broad plateau covering an area of approx. 0.6 ha.

History

The present findings allow dating the complex only within a broad chronological framework. The establishment of the settlement should be dated at the Late Bronze Age (Period V of the Bronze Age) — 900-750 BC, and its decline — at a later period of the Early Iron Age (HaC) — 750-550 BC. It should be noted that it was a period of growth and stabilisation for the settlement of the so-called Silesian-Lesser Poland group of the Lusatian culture in the region where the hillfort is located, i.e. by the River Przemsza and the River Krynica.

In a wider context, it is also worth noting that in the late period of the Bronze Age and in the early period of the Iron Age, the practice of building fortifications was followed over vast areas of Central and Western Europe. The genesis of this phenomenon is believed to lie in an increased population density, accompanied by the process of the division of territories, and the growing external threat related predominantly to the so-called Cimmerian horizon, dated at the 9th century BC and involving raids of nomadic peoples from the Black Sea steppes.

It needs to be added that settlement traces from the Neolithic Age and from the Middle Ages were also identified at this site.

At present, the archeological site includes the Church of St Dorothy, built in 1635.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Small-scale archeological excavations were carried out at this site in the years 1957, 1958, 1969, and in 2001. Numerous pieces of ceramics, bone, horn, and stone artefacts, and bronze objects were found. Movable artefacts need to be associated definitively with the people of the Lusatian culture from the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age.

The excavations conducted so far have provided hardly any information regarding the buildings inside the settlement. Little is known of the construction of the fortifications, too. However, on the basis of the small-scale excavations carried out, it can be inferred that the settlement had a low rampart surmounted by a light palisade, possibly of the stake-wattling type. Moreover, at least in places, the slope of the hill was slightly undercut, which made it steeper, and a shallow moat was dug. A little below the top, another low rampart can be seen; only some sections of the rampart have remained to this day. The rampart has not been examined archaeologically, but it cannot be excluded that it was also related to the fortified settlement of the Lusatian culture and that it dates back to prehistory.

The hillfort is accessible all year round. The Hill of St Dorothy is a protected landscape area. Artefacts recovered during the archeological excavations can be seen in the Zagłębie Museum in Będzin and in the Częstochowa Museum.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 25.06.2014.

Bibliography

  • Gedl M. 1962. Kultura łużycka na Górnym Śląsku. Wrocław - Warszawa - Kraków.
  • Jamka R. 1960. Pradzieje i wczesne średniowiecze Górnego Śląska ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem obszaru przemysłowego. Katowice.
  • Niesiołowska-Wędzka A., 1974. Początki i rozwój grodów kultury łużyckiej. Warszawa-Wrocław-Kraków-Gdańsk.
  • Niesiołowska-Wędzka A., 1989. Procesy urbanizacyjne w kulturze łużyckiej w świetle oddziaływań kultur południowych. Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków-Gdańsk-Łódź.
  • Przybyła M. M. 2006. Materiały z osady obronnej kultury łużyckiej na Górze Świętej Doroty w Będzinie-Grodźcu, [w:] W. Blajer (red.), Z badań nad osadnictwem epoki brązu i wczesnej epoki żelaza w Europie Środkowej. Kraków, 181-202.
  • Przybyła M. M., Stefański D. 2004. Materiały krzemienne z osady kultury łużyckiej na Górze Św. Doroty w Będzinie-Grodźcu, Sprawozdania Archeologiczne 56, 399-413.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 900 - 550 r. p.n.e.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Będzin
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district będziński, commune Będzin
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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