Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 1 (twenty one earthen mounds), Guciów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Barrow cemetery in Guciów — site 1 (twenty one earthen mounds)



The barrow cemetery contains the remains of a large settlement complex dating from the Early Middle Ages, which is one of the best preserved complexes of this type in Poland. The complex includes: a fortified settlement and open ancillary settlements adjacent to the fortified centre, and several barrow cemeteries (whose number currently ranges from several to over a hundred barrows), located mostly along the left bank of the Wieprz river. The site is a unique feature of the landscape of the Roztocze National Park and Roztocze.

Location and description

The barrow cemetery in Guciów (site 1) is located about 100 m to the north of the village buildings, alongside the road running from Guciów towards Zwierzyniec. It is situated on the uplifted alluvial terrace of the large valley of the Wieprz river, in a forested area, on the site known locally as ‘Półsążek’. It is located within the area of forest plots of the Zwierzyniec Forest District, owned by the Roztocze National Park, and plots being a private property. The cemetery is cut through by the Guciów-Zwierzyniec road and occupies an area of approx. 1 a on the southern side of the road and approx. 1.5 ha on the northern side of the road. Due to additional legal protection the site and the immediate surroundings have been excluded from forest management.

The cemetery comprises twenty one well-preserved burial mounds numbered 1 to 21: three mounds on the southern part of the road from Guciów (no. 1-3) and eighteen mounds on its northern side (no. 4-21), located in an area of approx. 5,000 sq m. Currently, twelve/thirteen burial mounds are easily identifiable and the others are significantly less visible. Their earthen structures are roughly circular in shape, and measure, on average, about 0.5-0,7 m in height and about 7-8 m in diameter. The site was not targeted by illegal digging. Investigations revealed hollows on many burial mounds, which were created while cutting down trees, using heavy equipment. The natural levelling of the site is progressing rather slowly, since the forest surroundings effectively protects the earthen structures against erosion caused by water or other natural agents.


The barrow cemetery (site 1) which is located within the area of the current village of Guciów was functioning in the Early Middle Ages (7th/8th c. -10th/11th c.). It was founded as one of several cemeteries in the vicinity of a dynamically functioning fortified settlement and open ancillary settlements adjacent to it.

The barrows in Guciów were recorded for the first time by Mikołaj Stworzyński in the early 19th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Exploratory investigations were carried out by J. Machnik and A. Kulczycka-Leciejewiczowa (Department of Archaeology of Lesser Poland of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków) in 1959. At that time, researchers carried out a survey of the north-western quadrant of burial mound no. 11 at site 1, in the form of two perpendicular 0.5-metre-wide ditches, reaching the centre of the mound. In 1972, the archaeological investigation of burial mound no. 11 were continued by H. Zoll-Adamikowa and S. Alfawicka (Department of Archaeology of Lesser Poland of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków) by exploring the north-western quadrant and part of the south-eastern quadrant. The location and height plan of the site and preliminary inventory of the barrows were drawn up by J. Fellmann under the supervision of M. Drewki in 1955. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out by H. Wróbel in 1983 and 1999. Burial mound no. 11, the investigations of which have been partially completed (north-western quadrant and part of the south-eastern quadrant) is located in the eastern part of the cemetery. Prior to archaeological investigations the earthen structure of the burial mound was 0.7-0.8 m in height. The base was circular in shape and was around 5.5-6 m in diameter. A particularly noticeable feature on the west side is a crescent-shaped sinkhole next to the burial mound. During the investigations researchers determined the layering of the interior of the earthen structure of the mound and found that originally its diameter was more than 1 metre smaller than the current one. The earthen structure of the burial mound was limited by a ditch alongside the mound. An investigation of the northern part of the north-western quadrant, on the inner slope of the ditch alongside the burial mound revealed the outlines of two posts (?) measuring 15 cm and 40 cm in diameter, which supported some wooden structure, around which the highest concentration of burned bones was recorded. The barrow contained an unspecified number of cremation urn graves, most probably on the surface of the mound. In addition of bones, investigations of the fill of the ditch alongside the burial uncovered fragments of ceramics from four or five vessels, whereas an investigation of the ground beneath the humus with turf on the slope of the eastern quadrant of the earthen structure unearthed a fragment of a bandlike iron object. During the later surface surveys and ad-hoc reconnaissance investigations of the earthen structure of the mounds and the immediate surroundings did not reveal the presence of movable archaeological monuments.

The monument is open to visitors. The cemetery is located on the route of tourist trails of Roztocze and educational paths of the Roztocze National Park.

Compiled by Ewa Prusicka-Kołcon, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 15.09.2014.



  • Fellmann J., Pomiary grodzisk i cmentarzysk w Polsce. Metody geodezyjnej inwentaryzacji powierzchniowej, [in:] Metodyka naukowo-techniczna badań archeologicznych i antropologicznych, „Rozprawy Zespołu Badań nad Polskim Średniowieczem UW i PW” 1967, vol. 4, p. 29, 46-48, table XXVI-XXVII.
  • Gurba J., Orłowski R., Mikołaj Stworzyński - nieznany inwentaryzator grodzisk południowej Lubelszczyzny z początków XX w., „Wiadomości Archeologiczne” 1956, vol. 23, pp. 69-70.
  • Kaczanowski K., Analiza antropologiczna wczesnośredniowiecznych pochówków ciałopalnych z Guciowa, pow. Zamość, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, p. 183 et seq.
  • Machnik J., Badania archeologiczne na Roztoczu Lubelskim w 1959 roku, „Sprawozdania
  •  Archeologiczne” 1961, vol. 12, pp. 89, 95-99.
  • Nosek S., Materiały do badań nad historią starożytną i wczesnośredniowieczną międzyrzecza Wisły i Bugu, „Annales UMCS” 1951, vol. 6, sec. F, pp. 365, 380.
  • Pawlikowa B., Węgle drzewne z wczesnośredniowiecznych kurhanów ciałopalnych w Guciowie, pow. Zamość i Kornatce, pow. Myślenice, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, p. 192.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wczesnośredniowieczne cmentarzyska ciałopalne na terenie Polski, Wrocław 1975, part 1: Źródła, pp. 80-81.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wyniki wstępnych badań wczesnośredniowiecznego zespołu w Guciowie, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, pp. 115-126.

General information

  • Type: Barrow
  • Chronology: koniec VII w - koniec X w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Guciów
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district zamojski, commune Zwierzyniec - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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