Hillfort of the Lusatian culture, Jaworzno
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Hillfort of the Lusatian culture

Jaworzno

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The fortified settlement of the Lusatian culture in Jaworzno remained inhabited in the period between the 9th century and the first half of the 6th century B.C., which means that its existence spanned the late Bronze Age (V OEB) and the very beginning of the early Iron Age (HaC). The remnants of the settlement constitute one of the oldest surviving traces of late Bronze Age/early Iron Age hillforts in Poland and, as such, are now exceedingly rare. Only about 70 archaeological sites of this kind have been discovered in the Polish territory so far, including a mere four in the Silesia region. Excavations performed on the site have proved the existence of both immoveable and moveable archaeological artefacts linked to the Lusatian culture. Unique on a regional scale, the site remains a priceless source of information on the region’s prehistory.

Location and description

The settlement is located about 3 kilometres to the south-east from the centre of the town (the market square). It is located in a spot which seems to have been deliberately chosen for its natural, defensive characteristics - on the tallest, westernmost edge of a forested hill known as the Grodzisko Hill. The elevation of the hill is about 345 metres above sea level, making it the tallest peak among the Pagóry Jaworznickie hills - an isolated landform towering above the surrounding area. The archaeological site itself is rather difficult to spot, although the imaging method known as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) makes it easily discernible among the surrounding terrain. The settlement itself takes the form of a ring fort designed on a roughly circular plan, its total surface being approximately 1 hectare. On the eastern side, there is a pair of earthen ramparts, protecting the side of the hillfort which would have been easily accessible otherwise; on the western side, however, these ramparts are entirely absent, as the presence of a steep incline would have made all man-made fortifications redundant. The distance between the ramparts is about 15 metres, while the total surface of the inner yard circumscribed by the first of the two ramparts is approximately 0.65 hectares.

 

History

The age of the fortified settlement can only be estimate in very broad terms, i.e. between the 9th century and the first half of the 6th century B.C., which means that its existence spanned the late Bronze Age (V OEB) and the very beginning of the early Iron Age (HaC). It needs to be emphasized that the actual period of habitation may have been much shorter than that. During that period, numerous fortified settlement of this kind began to spring up all across Central and Western Europe. The origins of this phenomenon are believed to lie in an increased population density, accompanied by the process of the division of territories, and the growing external threat related predominantly to the so-called Cimmerian horizon, dated at the 9th century BC and involving raids of nomadic peoples from the Black Sea steppes. Although it is difficult to determine the exact time when the settlement was abandoned, researchers have determined that the growth of the Lusatian culture in Silesia came to a sudden halt somewhere around the mid-6th century B.C., which can be clearly seen on many archaeological sites.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In years 1966-68, Marek and Barbara Gedl performed a series of excavations on the site of the fortified settlement. A total of 16 exploratory excavations have been made, resulting in the discovery of some rather unusual remains of Lusatian culture pottery. Archaeological surveys have shown that in the central part of the site, i.e. in the inner yard, there were hardly any cultural layers, most likely due to water action which resulted in all the remains being washed away from the hilltop. The outer rampart - much more apparent in the surrounding terrain than the inner one - was also examined. The width of the rampart is between 5 and 6 metres when measured at the base, while its maximum height is about 1.5 metres. The rampart was constructed using limestone, with no mortar of any kind. No traces of wooden structures have been identified. It needs to be emphasized at this stage that it is by no means certain - albeit highly probable - that the ramparts are in fact linked to the Lusatian culture.

The site is accessible all year round.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 27-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Blajer W., Epoka brązu i okres halsztacki, [w:] Tomczak E. (red.), Archeologia Górny Śląsk, Katowice 2013.
  • Gedl (Nowogrodzka-Gedl) B., Sprawozdanie z badań wykopaliskowych prowadzonych w roku 1966 na grodzisku w Jaworznie, Sprawozdania Archeologiczne 1969, t. 20, s. 345-350.
  • Gedl (Nowogrodzka-Gedl) B., II sprawozdanie z badań wykopaliskowych na grodzisku w Jaworznie, Sprawozdania Archeologiczne 1969, t. 21, s. 81-84.
  • Gedl M., Kultura łużycka na Górnym Śląsku, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków 1962.
  • Informator Archeologiczny, Informator Archeologiczny badania 1968, Warszawa 1969, s. 71, 73.
  • Leńczyk G., Katalog grodzisk i zamczysk z terenu Małopolski, Kraków1983.
  • Niesiołowska-Wędzka A., Początki i rozwój grodów kultury łużyckiej, Warszawa-Wrocław-Kraków-Gdańsk 1974.
  • Niesiołowska-Wędzka A., Procesy urbanizacyjne w kulturze łużyckiej w świetle oddziaływań kultur południowych, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków-Gdańsk-Łódź 1989.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: IX – 1. poł. VI w. p.n.e.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Jaworzno
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Jaworzno, commune Jaworzno
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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