Hillfort, Bończa
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The existing motte is all that remains today of an early medieval hillfort, with the surviving earthen ramparts being the most readily apparent traces thereof. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that it was a highland hillfort, most likely designed as a place of refuge for the local population. It is one of the few well-preserved sites of this kind in the Lublin region.

Location and description

In the older literature on the subject, the site is referred to as the Kukawka hillfort; today, it is included in the administrative boundaries of the village of Bończa. It is located at the eastern edge of the village, about 1 kilometre to the south-west of the Kukawka village, in the area of the “Bałkany Forest” landscape park which forms a part of the Bończa forest sub-district as well as of the Krasnystaw Forest District of the State Forest Holding. The hillfort occupies the top section of the hill, referred to by the local population as “Zamczysko” (burgstall); the hill upon which the hillfort had once stood is the tallest among a group of hills known as “Bałkany”. A nameless watercourse runs approximately 200 metres east of the hillfort when calculated in a straight line.

The structure is roughly oval in shape. The inner yard of the hillfort is about 50 metres in diameter and has a surface area of about 0.20 hectares. It is surrounded by a single earthen rampart, with the exception of the eastern side of the yard which is protected by a double rampart instead. The terrain of the inner yard slopes gently towards the east. It is believed that the entrance to the hillfort was located in its eastern part, as suggested by a markedly lower line of the ramparts in that direction. Today, the site of the former hillfort is overgrown with trees and forest shrubs.

History

The hillfort in Bończa (formerly known as the hillfort in Kukawka) has never been expressly mentioned in written sources. The first mention of the site in the literature on the subject was made by Stanisław Skibiński in 1961.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Archaeological excavations were carried out on the site by G. Bownik in 1970, with a total of two excavations being made, their total surface being 50 square metres. In the southern part of the hillfort, the excavations extended to both the rampart and a fragment of the inner yard, with the excavations in the eastern section cutting across both the rampart and the inner yard.

The location and height plan of the site was drawn up by Kazimierz Bęcek in 1986.

A surface survey within the framework of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” research programme was performed by Stanisław Gołub in 1984.

In 2011, the historical monument protection services carried out a site survey of the hillfort.

In the course of the surveys performed, the main fortifications have been identified. Inside the excavation which cut across the earthen rampart, a thick layer of pugging and burned-out timber structures in the form of charred wooden beams have been discovered - evidently parts of the defensive structures of the now-vanished hillfort which had originally most likely formed parts of a box rampart (the outer side of the earthen structure) as well as of a timber lattice or sandwich-type timber and earthen structure on the inner side thereof. It has been determined that the original height of the rampart might have been about 2.5 metres. Remnants of a stone hearth have been unearthed in the area alongside the rampart. The cultural layer of the inner yard was found to be up to 1.8 metres thick. The degree of preservation of the timber structures within the rampart as well as the large quantities of charcoal found in the excavations all point out to a catastrophic fire which ended the hillfort’s existence. A mere 10 non-characteristic pieces of clay vessels have been unearthed in the course of the survey. The researcher leading the survey has not specified the exact chronology of these artefacts, stating merely that they originated from the early Middle Ages.

In the course of the conservation survey it has been discovered that despite forming part of the “Las Bałkany” landscape park which remains protected by law, the site of the hillfort has been repeatedly plundered in recent times, as evidenced by fresh pits in both the inner yard and on the rampart.

The site of the former hillfort is open to the public. The site forms part of the “Las Bałkany” landscape park.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 16-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bownik G., Kukawka, pow. Chełm, “Informator Archeologiczny. Badania 1970”, 1970, p. 179.
  • Gurba J., Z problematyki osadnictwa wczesnośredniowiecznego na Wyżynie Lubelskiej, “Annales UMCS”, 1965, Vol.20, sec. F, pp. 45-57.
  • Gurba J., Grodziska Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 1976, p. 23.
  • Skibiński S., Zabytki archeologiczne powiatu chełmskiego [in:] Ziemia Chełmska, (Materiały z Sesji Naukowej Historyków odbytej w Chełmie 21 czerwca 1959 r.) 1961, p. 147.
  • Zieliński W., Etat des recherches sur les fortifications ḿedíevales dans la ŕegion de Lublin [in:] Memoires Archeologiques, Lublin 1985, p. 153.
  • Żaki A., Archeologia Małopolski wczesnośredniowiecznej, Wrocław 1974, pp. 64-65, no. 289

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 501-1250
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bończa
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district krasnostawski, commune Kraśniczyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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