Hillfort, Horodyszcze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

The hillfort is one of the few surviving structures of its kind in the region, featuring a ring-shaped rampart which remains fairly well visible in the surrounding terrain. The site forms a valuable source of knowledge with respect to the early medieval hillforts of the Lublin region.

Location and description

The hillfort in Horodyszcze, known locally as “Cerkwisko” (a name which implies the presence of a now-defunct tserkva on the site) or “Szwedzkie Okopy” (“Swedish Trenches”) is located approximately 1.5 kilometres to the south-east of the central part of the village, on the right bank of the Zielawa river, at the bottom of a river valley among waterlogged meadows, with the distance to the Zielawa riverbed being about 200 metres to the south east.

The hillfort consists of a ring-shaped rampart about 36 metres in diameter when measured at the top, with the height of the preserved ramparts being about 2 metres. The rampart was originally surrounded by a moat of which few traces remain today, filled with water which is believed to have originated from the river that flowed much closer to the rampart at the time, the evidence of which is the clearly discernible depression in the surrounding terrain - a possible trace of the former course of the Zielawa riverbed. Today, the site of the hillfort remains disused and is overgrown with grass.


Based on the results of archaeological studies, one may assume that the hillfort remained in use during the early Middle Ages, between the 11th and the 12th centuries.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Excavation research on the site was performed in years 196[?] and 1965 by Andrzej Hunicz and Stanisław Siwkowa. It was at that point that a number of excavations were made both in the former inner yard and on the rampart of the hillfort. In 1995, another series of archaeological works was carried out under the direction of Mieczysław Bienia, this time covering the central part of the inner yard. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried by Sławomir Żółkowski out in 1993.

As a result of archaeological research, a relatively thin cultural layer linked to the presence of the bygone hillfort was discovered in the inner yard. The insubstantial thickness of the layer seems to suggest that the fort was originally used as a place of refuge. In addition, traces of an open settlement which predated the foundation of the hillfort (9th - 10th century) have also been found on the site. The order of layers discovered inside the rampart, including, in particular, the remains of a burned-out wooden structure, suggest that the rampart, having suffered heavy damage, was later rebuilt and slightly extended. During the second phase of its existence, the rampart no longer featured any internal reinforcing structures and was purely an earthen bank. Remnants of a water well have been found in the middle section of the inner yard. The moveable artefacts collected in the course of research were mostly fragments of broken clay vessels (more than 400 pieces in total). The more unusual finds that have been made on the site include an iron arrowhead, an iron fire striker and fragments of a handle of what had once been an iron bucket. These moveable artefacts have made it possible to determine that the hillfort remained in use between the 11th and the 12th century. It is believed that the fort was treated as a place of refuge and only remained in use in times of impending danger. The survey performed on the surface of the site have shown that an extensive settlement had once adjoined the hillfort to the east and north-east, while another settlement used to lie to the west and south-west of the fort, separated by a small valley of a nameless tributary of the Zielawa river located on the right side thereof.

Unlimited access to the historic structure.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 14-11-2015.


  • Żółkowski S., Materiały do badań nad osadnictwem pradziejowym i wczesnośredniowiecznym na obszarze dzisiejszego województwa bialskopodlaskiego. Biała Podlaska 1988, p. 47
  • Wetoszka B., W średniowieczu i nowożytności [in:] Północna Lubelszczyzna. Od pradziejów po okres nowożytny, collective work, Ewa Banasiewicz-Szykuła (ed.), Lublin 2003, pp. 119-134.
  • Hunicz A., Wyprawa do Horodyszcza, “Z Otchłani Wieków”, Vol. XXX, 1964, issue 2, pp. 138-139.
  • Hoczyk S., Wczesnośredniowieczny zespół osadniczy w Horodyszczu w powiecie włodawskim, “Rocznik Lubelski”, Vol. IX, 1966, pp. 61-77
  • Przygoda z Archeologią, M. Bień (ed.), Komarówka Podlaska 1995
  • Bienia M., Grodziska wczesnośredniowieczne istniejące i domniemane na terenie dzisiejszego województwa bialskopodlaskiego, Biała Podlaska 1998, pp. 20-22

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: XI - XII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Horodyszcze
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district bialski, commune Wisznice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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