Hillfort, Kamionka
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

An example of a two-stage promontory hill fort.

Location and description

The hill fort is located on a wooded peninsula in north-western part of the lake Silm. The hill fort is a massive complex, with ramparts from the lake reaching 25 m in height, and from the base of the peninsula — ca. 12 m. The structure is oval in shape, and its size is ca. 90 m x 55 m. The ramparts at the base are ca. 15-25 m thick. A 36 m x 92 m yard forms a trough, most sunk in the central part. The structure is inclined on the north-south axis.


The hill fort is known in the local tradition as Schwedenschanze, Kesselberg or Poganek. As part of the first stage the structure was populated in the Early Iron Age, by people originating from the West Baltic Barrow culture. Second time, the structure was populated in the early Middle Ages. The second stage of functioning of the hill fort lasted from the 10th century to the 1st half of the 13th century and was connected with the Prussian-Slavic borderland. The knowledge of a former fort existing in this place was documented on a map by S. Suchodolec of 1705.

Condition and results of a archaeological research

The first excavations were carried out as early as in 1876 by Abraham Lissauer and consistent mainly in the examination of the interior of the rampart, where, among other things, a vessel containing a human skull was found. Further excavations, in 1908, were carried out in the southern part of the hill fort, and led to uncovering a cluster of rocks, a hearth, large amounts of burnt material, and a human skeleton, as well as large amounts of ceramics, animal remains, and a silver dirham. The first examinations carried out after the World War II consisted in surface surveys. Fragments of vessels were found then at the site and dated to the period of Roman influence. In 1997, on behalf of the Institute of Archeology of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, archaeological surveys were carried out at the hill fort. During the surveys, cultural build-ups within the rampart and the yard were documented. It was also possible to determine the location of the entrance gate which was located in the western part of the site. The analysis of registered build-ups and the uncovered human bone fragments and parts of armaments, as well as large amounts of burnt material, led to the conclusion that the fort was abruptly destroyed, most possibly as a result of fights within its borders. In 2012, further archaeological examinations were carried out at the hill fort in Łanioch (Kamionka), which enabled registration of the first stage of functioning of the structure, dating back to the Early Iron Age. In turn, the build-ups dating back to the early Middle Ages bear, among other things, traces of remodelling and repairs of the rampart, most probably destroyed as a result of fights within the structure. Moreover, in the place separating the hill fort from the base of the peninsula, in addition to a moat, a couple of strands of stone fortifications were found probably serving as a retaining wall securing the hill fort's rampart. Human bone remnants and remains of armaments were also found here, which confirmed the fights that took place within the structure.

From the land, access to the structure is limited due to thick shrubbery. The historical structure is accessible from the lake.

Compiled by Hanna Mackiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board in Olsztyn, 14.10.2014




  • Töppen M. - Der Kesselberg Am Silmsee [w:] Altpreussische Monatschrifte, t. XIII (1876), s. 135-140
  • Kobyliński Z., Wach D., Rutyna M. - Grodzisko z wczesnej epoki żelaza i wczesnego średniowiecza w kamionce, st. 9, gm. Iława: wstępne wyniki badań z 2012 roku [w:] Archaeologica hereditas. Grodziska Warmii i Mazur 1. Stan wiedzy i perspektywy badawcze, red. Z. Kobyliński, Warszawa - Zielona Góra 2013, s. 281-303.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: 700-550 BC
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kamionka
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district iławski, commune Iława
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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