Hillfort, Gniezno
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The Gnieźninek hillfort was one of a number of small satellite hillforts making up an extensive defence system constructed around a central fortified settlement located on the Lech Hill (Polish: Wzgórze Lecha) in Gniezno. The purpose of this particular structure was to defend the capital of the early Piast monarchy on the east side, where marshy areas stretched.

Location and description

The hillfort is located in the eastern part of a city park, directly to the east of a former factory railway, north of a pond. It is situated to the west of Marcinkowskiego Street, with a meadow bisected by the canalised Srawa river in between. In the early Middle Ages, these areas were covered by marshlands, which made them valuable in terms of defence.

The ring fort has an oval plan with a total area of approximately 0.4 hectares. It measures approx. 75 x 50 m at the base of the rampart and the inner hollow measures approx. 35 x 25 m. The ramparts are currently about 8 metres wide. In the central part of the yard, there is a small hill, about 12 metres in diameter, which suggests that there may have been a tower there in the past.

The northern section of the fortifications was partially destroyed during the construction of a shooting range of the League of National Defence (LOK) in 1971; in the western part of the hillfort, an embankment was built alongside the rampart in order to accommodate railway tracks (no longer used). Currently, the hillfort is overgrown with scattered trees.

History

The hillfort was established in an area which had been settled before; artefacts from the 6th and 7th centuries were found under the hillfort rampart.

The hillfort was built in the 11th century. At some point in the 12th century, the settlement lost its defence capabilities following a fire which destroyed its ramparts.

It is believed that the hillfort was not used as a place of permanent residence; most likely, it was used as an observation post and provided temporary shelter for the local population during attacks.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In the years 1971-1972, rescue excavations were carried out under the supervision of Gabriela Mikołajczyk. They were essential as the hillfort ramparts were destroyed during the construction of the shooting range. Based on the research, it was determined that the fortified settlement had been enclosed with a wood and earth rampart having a width of approx. 5 metres. The rampart was made of layers of wooden beams covered with a mixture of clay and sand and additionally covered with clay from the outside. It was surrounded by a relatively small moat on the outside. At some point, the rampart was burnt down.

The hillfort area is now municipal property. The site is accessible.

compiled by Elżbieta Wyrwińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 31-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Mikołajczykówna G, Sprawozdanie z działalności Oddziału w Gnieźnie Muzeum Archeologicznego w Poznaniu w roku 1971, „Fontes Archaeologici Posnanienses”, t. 23, 1973, s. 248-250.
  • Mikołajczyk G., Gniezno, st. 18, [w:] Informator Archeologiczny, Badania rok 1971, 1972, s. 182, 245.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: XI-XII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gniezno
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district gnieźnieński, commune Gniezno (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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