Hillfort, Guciów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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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 Roztocze.

Location and description

The hill fort in Guciów is located in the southern part of the village, at a distance of approx. 750 m to the south-west of the school premises and to the south of the ‘Zagroda Guciów’ open-air museum. It is situated at the peak of the hill known as ‘Monastyr’ or ‘Starzyzna’ which is approx. 100 m above the level of the surface of the Wieprz river valley. The hill fort occupies an area of around 9-10 ha and plots of land being private property. Due to its location and size it is included in the category of large upland hill forts. The structure is located on a kidney-shaped platform of the top of the hill, raised slightly in the southern part and gently sloping towards the edges. On the western, south-western and eastern side it is limited by steep slopes, and on the northern side the slope towards the valley of the Wieprz river is less severe. The structure is now in an extremely dilapidated state. In the north-western part there are three lines of ramparts as part of the earthen structures, preserved to a height of 1 m, divided by deep moats. Much less visible remains of fortifications from the north in the form of two barely visible elongated humps which measure several centimetres in height. Also from the south-east, where the platform combines smoothly with the neighbouring area, it is possible to notice one identifiable and one or two scarcely visible humps, probably the remains of ploughed rampart enclosing the hill fort in an easily accessible part of the hill. Currently, the majority of the area of the hill fort is occupied by cultivated fields; only the steep slopes and, to a lesser extent, the northern and north-eastern parts are covered with forest.

History

The hill fort which is located within the area of the current village of Guciów was functioning in the Early Middle Ages (10th c. - 11th c.). It served as the centre of a large settlement complex, also consisting of open ancillary settlements adjacent to the fortified centre and several barrow cemeteries. The hill fort in Guciów were recorded for the first time by Mikołaj Stworzyński in the early 19th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Survey excavations of the site were carried out by H. Zoll-Adamikowa (Department of Archaeology of Lesser Poland of the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków) between 1971 and 1972. The scope of the investigations was limited to the lines of fortifications of the hill fort. Archaeologists undertook two research excavations: excavation no. 1 ( 15 x 2 m) in the area of the rampart in the north-eastern part of the hill fort and no. 2 (8 x 1-1.8 m) across the north-western rampart. The location and height plan of the site was drawn up by J. Fellmann in 1972. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out by H. Wróbel in 1983. The findings from the conducted investigations showed that the ramparts of the hill fort were seriously damaged by cultivation of the fields. An investigation of excavation no. 1 revealed that the remains of the rampart were severely damaged by ploughing across their whole width. A layer with traces of charcoal (most likely from the burned top part of the rampart) was found on a stretch of 11 m, but the original width of the rampart was smaller. Probably it was a 4.5-metre-wide layer, which was characterised by a fairly uniform thickness of around 25-30 m. An investigation of the area beneath it revealed remains of lower parts of the wooden structures of the rampart in the form of poorly preserved elongated wooden elements arranged along the same axis, almost exactly perpendicular to the direction of the course of the rampart. This arrangements indicates most likely the use of the so-called sandwich structure of the rampart, which consisted in laying layers of wooden trunks in an alternating manner, longitudinally and transversely to the axis of the rampart. An investigation of excavation no. 2 undertaken at the site where defensive elements have been preserved to the greatest extent revealed a more complex construction of the rampart — its bipartite structure. Its inner site showed a layering without any traces of the construction, but only an investigation of the lower layer of this part of the earthen rampart uncovered weathered lumps of clay with fine limestones, which presumably formed the original base of the rampart. By contrast, excavations of the outer part of the rampart, beneath a layer of humus and sand, unearthed three or four box-shaped heaps of medium-sized and large limestones, loosely embedded in the layer of clay. Researchers have found no traces of wood on the edges of those boxes. They were approx. 1-1.3 m in width, and approx. 0.5 m in height and most likely formed only a stone ground plate for the higher box-shaped wooden structures which have not been preserved. The findings from an attempt to reconstruct the rampart suggested that originally, the outer part of it was approx. 3.5-4.5 m in height and approx. 6.5 m in width at the base (including the earthen structure of the inner rampart). The inner part which was most likely composed of only earthen structure was 3.5-4 m in width at the base. The recorded bipartite structure of the rampart indicates that it was highly probable that it was built in two phases. The outer part was probably built earlier than the part with the box structure. The inventory of movable monuments at the site was very short and limited to several fragments of ceramic vessels.

The monument is open to visitors. The hill fort is located on the route of tourist trails of Roztocze and an archaeological and nature educational trail.

Compiled by Ewa Prusicka-Kołcon, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 15.08.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Banasiewicz E., Grodziska i zamczyska Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1990, pp. 71-73.
  • Gurba J., Grodziska Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 1976, p. 18.
  • Gurba J., Orłowski R., Mikołaj Stworzyński - nieznany inwentaryzator grodzisk południowej Lubelszczyzny z początków XX w., „Wiadomości Archeologiczne” 1956, vol. 23, pp. 69-70.
  • 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, p. 365.
  • Zoll-Adamikowa H., Wyniki wstępnych badań wczesnośredniowiecznego zespołu w Guciowie, „Sprawozdania Archeologiczne” 1974, vol. 26, pp. 151-161.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: X-XI 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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