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Hillfort - Zabytek.pl


woj. lubelskie, pow. zamojski, gm. Grabowiec

The existing burgstall is all that remains of an early medieval hillfort and castle which had stood here both during the late Middle Ages and in the early modern period, serving as the seat of the starosta (alderman) of the Grabowiec district - part of the Bełż province.

Its distinguishing features are its location - on the top of the hill that looms above the surrounding terrain - as well as its long and complex history.

Location and description

The burgstall is located on the site of the Bronisławka village, at the north-western edge thereof, in the immediate vicinity of the border with Grabowiec; in spite of this, however, the burgstall continues to be referred to as the Grabowiec hillfort and burgstall in the literature on the subject. It is located atop a hill known as “Góra Zamkowa” (Castle Hill) which rises above the surrounding terrain. Towards the west and the north of the hill lies the Kalinówka river valley, while a road leading towards Hrubieszów and Zamość leads at the foot of the hill, adjoining it to the west.

The hill which had served as the site of the now-vanished hillfort and castle is artificially separated from the rest of the loess plateau promontory by a moat, forming an oval landform with dimensions of approximately 60 x 110 metres, its relative height being about 35 metres. All that survives of the now-vanished fortified complex are the traces of the moat, fragments of which can still be easily discerned towards the south and east, with the terrain flowing seamlessly into a small plateau towards the west. Parts of the ramparts towards the east have also been preserved. At the western edge of the burgstall there is a large earthen mound with three crosses at the top, built during the January Uprising. Today, the entire hill is completely disused, overgrown by trees and shrubs.


Based on the cultural layers and the ceramic artefacts and other moveable items obtained from the site, it has been determined that a hillfort existed in Bronisławka back in the early Middle Ages; it was later replaced by a castle that stood there between the 14th and 18th century. Back in the prehistoric period, the area was inhabited by the representatives of the Lublin-Volhynia neolithic culture.

The first mentions of Grabowiec appear in Ruthenian sources dating back to 1208, while the Grabowiec hillfort is first referred to in a chronicle of the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia from 1268. There are also numerous mentions of the Grabowiec castle in written sources. After 1772, the castle ceased to serve as the seat of the local starosta and was converted into a prison, while in 1807 it was sold by the state authorities to one Felkis Radziejowski. Soon afterwards, during the period before 1819 as well as around 1837, the majority of the structure was demolished. The first mentions of the Grabowiec hillfort in the literature on the subject were made by S. Nosek in 1957.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Surface research within the framework of the “Archaeological Picture of Poland” research programme was carried out in 1971 and 1995.

The excavation research on the site was performed in 1968 by Andrzej Kutyłowski and Jan Gurba from the Department of Archaeology (currently Institute of Archaeology) of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin. Two trial excavations were made at the top of the hill, their dimensions being 5 x 10 metres; they were located near the old excavations made during the interwar period in an amateur effort at exploring the history of the site, with one being located in the western part of the hill and the other in the north-eastern section thereof. The researchers explored mixed layers without reaching the undisturbed soil below, with the depth of excavations being 130 and 210 centimetres on site no. 1 and 2 respectively. In 1971, Maria Supryn, representing the Historical Monument Conservation Workshop (PP PKZ) branch office in Lublin, carried out further excavation works on the site. Right before the commencement of excavation research, a total of 16 geological boreholes were made in selected sections of the hillfort in order to ensure the preliminary identification of the undisturbed soil levels and the depth of the cultural layers. The research was performed in six stages: excavation no. 1 (dimensions: 5 x 5 metres) in the western part of the hill, created through the broadening of the existing 1968 research excavation; excavation no. 2 (dimensions: 5 x 5 metres) in the northern part of the hill, created through the broadening of the existing 1968 research excavation towards the west; excavation no. 3 (dimensions: 5 x 5 metres) in the central part of the hill; excavation no. 4 (dimensions: 5 x 2.5 metres) at the end of the road leading towards the hill, on the inner side of the ramparts where it was believed remnants of gatehouse structures would be located; excavation no. 5 (dimensions: 5 x 2 metres) inside the moat and excavation no. 6 (dimensions: 3 x 1.5 metres) on a hill near the Castle Hill, made in order to determine whether there were any surviving traces of an open settlement there.

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

Based on the research performed, it has been determined that there were in fact three distinct phases in the history of the Castle Hill. The earliest phase is linked with the presence of a prehistoric settlement during the neolithic period. It is from that period that fragments of ceramic vessels, stone and flint artefacts and a skeletal grave that have been found here all originate, forming the remnants of the Lublin-Volhynia culture settlement that existed here. The second phase, beginning in the 12th century, is the phase during which a hillfort appeared on the site. It has been determined in the course of research performed that before the structure itself was built, a part of the hilltop has been artificially levelled. Remnants of other structures linked to the vanished hillfort have been identified in the lower sections of the excavation no. 1 - parts of what is believed to have been a house as well as remains of a hole in the ground which was excavated either to serve as a place for a furnace or as part of a larger, residential structure. It is also from this period that the traces of fortified structures discovered in excavation no. 4 originate; these take the form of earthen ramparts without any additional wooden reinforcements. The four pits discovered in excavation no. 3 which had been most likely created for storage purposes are also from the same period. The third, final phase in the history of the site involves the presence of a castle which was erected here during the 14th century; this phase can be discerned in varying degrees throughout the site. Very little remains from the earliest period of this phase (between the 14th and the 15th century); the relics dating back to the 16th and 17th century are likewise scarce, having most likely been levelled somewhere around the mid-17th century, when the castle underwent a comprehensive restoration. It was during that period that the moat has also been deepened; as a result, only early modern artefacts have been unearthed in the soil at the bottom of the moat, within the layer with a thickness of between 0.3 and 1.4 metres. Most of the artefacts in question dated back to the 17th and 18th century. The thickness of the deposited layers on the site of the former inner courtyard of the hillfort was approximately 4 metres. A layer of limestone rubble discovered in the excavation no. 2 is believed to be related to early modern developments which took place on the site of the courtyard, before the general redesign of the castle itself, with the layer of rubble in question being interpreted as having either served to reinforce the edge of the flat top of the hill or as having been left there after an unidentified building has been demolished.

Numerous moveable artefacts have been unearthed in all of the excavations. These were mostly fragments of clay vessels as well as of tiled stoves and glassware; an abundance of metal, bone and stone artefacts has also been unearthed. The notable artefacts found on the site include a number of coins - a silver one-and-a-halfer (półtorak) from the period of the reign of king Sigismund III Vasa dating back to 1625, a silver Lithuanian shilling (szeląg), likewise from the period of Sigismund III Vasa (1626) and a copper shilling from the era of king John Casimir (1666); there were also stone foundry moulds from the 12th-14th century, iron heads of crossbow bolts and arrows from the 13th century and fragments of glass bracelets dating back to the period between the 12th and the 13th century.

Unlimited access to the historic site.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 14-02-2015.


  • Nosek S., Materiały do badań nad historią starożytną i wczesnośredniowieczną międzyrzecza Wisły i Bugu, „Annales UMCS”, Vol. VI, sec. F, 1951 (1957), Lublin-Kraków, s. 350.
  • Gurba J., Grodziska Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 1976.
  • Banasiewicz E., Grodziska i zamczyska Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1990, s. 62-64.
  • Kutyłowski A., Gurba J., Grabowiec, pow. Hrubieszów, „Informator Archeologiczny. Badania rok 1968”, 1969, s. 344.
  • Kutyłowski A., Gurba J., Opracowanie materiałów wykopaliskowych z wykopalisk prowadzonych w 1968 roku w Grabowcu, powiat Hrubieszów, Lublin 1968 (mps w Archiwum WUOZ w Lublinie Delegatura w Zamościu).
  • Supryn M., Grabowiec, pow. Hrubieszów, „Informator Archeologiczny. Badania 1971 roku”, 1972, s. 170-171.
  • Supryn M., Grabowiec, pow. Hrubieszów, woj. lubelskie. Dokumentacja z badań archeologicznych przeprowadzonych na stanowisku "Góra Zamkowa" - wykonana na zlecenie PWRN Wydział Kultury Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków w Lublinie, Lublin 1972 (mps w Archiwum WUOZ w Lublinie Delegatura w Zamościu).
  • Supryn M., Informacja o badaniach archeologicznych na stanowisku „Góra Zamkowa” Grabowcu, pow. Hrubieszów, „Biuletyn TRH”, 1972, R. 10, nr 2, s. 19-23.
  • Prusicka E., Zamek Grabowiec - wyniki badań archeologicznych [w:] Zamki Lubelszczyzny w źródłach archeologicznych, Lublin 2015, s. 115-126

Category: hillfort

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_A_06_AR.1975, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_06_AR.2325551