Barrow cemetery, Białogórze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The barrow cemetery and hillfort in Białogórze (site no. 1/1/78-10) are an example of an early medieval settlement and sepulchral complex.

Location and description

The complex is located in the area known as the Iser Highlands (Pogórze Izerskie). The barrow cemetery is situated at a distance of approx. 600 metres north of the former hillfort.

Two distinct clusters of burial mounds may be discerned on the site. The diameter of these tumuli, designed on a circular plan, is between 4 and 8 metres, with the height of the surviving structures being between 0.4 and 0.7 metres. A natural depression in the surrounding terrain with the length of approx. 100 metres is located between the hillfort and the burial ground. It is believed that this depression might have in fact formed a natural boundary between the cemetery and the fortified complex.

History

According to researchers, the barrow cemetery saw two distinct phases of use. The first phase is believed to have taken place between the 7th and the 8th century, while the second one lasted from the 9th to the 10th century. Krysztof Jaworski suggests that the older cluster of burial mounds is located closer to the site of the hillfort, while the more recent one is situated slightly further away. Although the overall chronology has been determined in an accurate manner, the barrow cemetery was in fact in use even before the hillfort was built However, no traces of any settlement whose residents might have been interred in the cemetery throughout the 7th century have been discovered so far.

The settlement and sepulchral complex is located in an area which, during the earlu Middle Ages, had been occupied by the Slavic tribe known as Besunzane (Bieżuńczanie), referenced in the Bavarian Geographer. The members of the tribe inhabited a small territory near Zgorzelec, on both sides of the Lusatian Neisse.

Condition and results of archaeological research

The barrow cemetery was discovered by Otto F. Gandert in 1929. It was explored both before 1945 and intermittently between 1968 and 1979, with the latter programme of research being conducted by J. Gąssowski and H. Śledzik-Kamińska.

Among the total of 167 burial mounds which were included in the inventory, 25 structures were examined in more detail - 3 before 1945 and 22 in the 1960s and 1970s. All burial mounds are circular at the base. The earthen structures were made of sand. At the base of the tumuli, stone circles and trenches have been discovered. The earthen slopes of the mounds concealed quadrangular wooden structures which were buried within. Apart from pieces of pottery, the findings made on the site included spurs, fragments of knives, an agate bead, glass beads, an amber pendant and an axe.

The site is open to visitors. The archaeological site is marked with appropriate information plaques and forms part of a local tourist route.

Compiled by Donata Trenkler, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 22-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Archeologiczne Zdjęcie Polski, obszar 78-10, karty: 2/2, 3/3
  • Jaworski K., Grody w Sudetach (VIII-X w.), Wrocław 2005;
  • Śledzik-Kamińska H., Wstępne wyniki badań wykopaliskowych na wczesnośredniowiecznych cmentarzyskach kurhanowych w Będkowicach k. Sobótki, woj. wrocławskie, i w Białogórzu k. Zgorzelca, woj. jeleniogórskie, uzyskane w 1977 r., „Śląskie Sprawozdania Archeologiczne”, 1979, t. 20, s. 74 - 78.

General information

  • Type: Barrow
  • Chronology: VII-X w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Białogórze
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district zgorzelecki, commune Zgorzelec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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