The Schwedenschanze (Swedish Bastions), Bolesławiec
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The Schwedenschanze (Swedish Bastions)

Bolesławiec

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An example of an early medieval defensive hillfort.

Location and description

The hillfort is located in the Lower Silesian Woodlands (Bory Dolnośląskie), in the north-western part of Bolesławiec, on the right bank of the Bóbr river, near the junction of what is now known as Topolowa and Akacjowa streets. The multicultural settlement, on the other hand, was originally located about 60 metres south-east of the fortified structure. The remains of the settlement have sadly been destroyed during the redevelopment of the site, which be-came a housing estate made up of single-family homes.

The hillfort was designed on a trapezium-shaped plan (with rounded corners), its dimensions being 70 x 55 metres. The hillfort is surrounded by a rampart measuring between 1.3 and 7 metres in height and up to 8 metres in width at its base.

History

In the course of archaeological research, it has been determined that the hillfort originates from the early Middle Ages (up to the 10th century), while the multicultural settlement is known to have remained in use both in the period of the Lusatian culture and in the early Middle Ages - most likely until the 13th century.

The hillfort in Bolesławiec had previously been referred to as a castellan’s hillfort, believed to originate from the period between the 12th and the 14th century. However, the survey carried out in 2008 has proved that the structure is much older, having been constructed back in the 10th century. No artefacts originating from a later period have been discovered on its site. It is now known that the surrounding area had been inhabited by the Slavic tribe of Bobrzanie (taking their name from the Bóbr river), hence the conclusion that the hillfort was a sign of their presence there.

One may therefore suspect that the local ducal hillfort was located elsewhere. The first men-tions of the site date back to 1202. The hillfort remained under the administration of succes-sive castellans, who exercised their powers in the name of the duke; these were: Nankier (1202-1203), Magnus (1209-23, 1226-32), Radosław (1224), Mikołaj Grzymisławowicz (1243-45), Jan Męczyc (1283). Little is known of the whereabouts of the said ducal hillfort, yet there are reasons to believe that the site was situated on a hill on the western side of the town. After the town of Bolesławiec was officially chartered in 1251, the so-called municipal castle was erected, its location being in the south-western part of town. This castle was subse-quently destroyed in the course of the Thirty Years’ War and would never be restored to its former glory.

In the vicinity of the hillfort, traces of a settlement have been unearthed; this settlement is known to have remained inhabited both during the period of the Lusatian culture and in the early Middle Ages. There is insufficient data to determine whether, during the medieval epi-sode of its existence, the site may have served as an ancillary settlement.

Condition and results of archaeological research

During the interwar period, excavation research was conducted by F. Geschwendt; in 1966, a surface survey was performed by T. Kaletyn, J. Romanow and P. Kubow (at the request of the Archeological Monument Preservation Officer for the Wrocław Province), while in 2008, further excavations were made under the supervision of S. Rodak (Institute of Archaeology of the Wrocław University).

In the course of the earlier surveys, fragments of ceramic vessels as well as two quern-stones (the artefacts discovered during the pre-war excavations have regrettably been lost).

In 2008, more ceramic fragments have been unearthed, accompanied by iron items such as a bow-shaped fire striker and a few fullered knives.

No information is available which would make it possible to determine the original interior layout of the hillfort. It is believed that the fort had originally been surrounded by a double ring of earthen and wooden rampart about 5-7 metres high, with a gate on the western side of the complex.

The historic monument is accessible to visitors. The site is marked with a stone information plaque. No tourist route exists in its immediate vicinity.

compiled by Donata Trenkler, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 20-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Archaeological Picture of Poland, area 76-14, sheet 1/1.
  • Grodziska wczesnośredniowieczne - karta stanowiska [typescript in Archive of the province Monuments Protection Office in Wrocław].
  • Chorowska M., Dudziak T., Jaworski K., Kwaśniewski A., Zamki i dwory obronne w Sude-tach, vol. II: Księstwo jaworskie, Wrocław 2009, pp. 31-38;

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: X w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bolesławiec
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district bolesławiecki, commune Bolesławiec (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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