Hillfort, Stary Jaromierz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The early medieval hillfort in Kargowa is a small concave lowland structure, with a second horseshoe-shaped rampart, located at a distance of approx. 1 km to the southeast of the town. It is an example of a monument of great scientific, sightseeing and tourist value.

Location and description

The hillfort is situated on the edge of a forest and meadows, on the left side of the Daugava channel, on an alluvial terrace.

The fort is a raised area of land, roughly circular in shape, with two ramparts, including a rampart facing the north which is slightly open from the north-west and a southern rampart in the shape of a horseshoe. Its central part with ramparts is approx. 50 m in diameter, while its interior is approx. 25 m in diameter. The preserved ramparts are up to 3.5 m high.

History

The fortified settlement was established in the early stages of the Early Middle Ages, in the 8th century. Its collapse was recorded in the later stages of the Early Middle Ages. The fort was one of the major, central locations for the inhabitants of the area surrounding the current town of Kargowa. Initially, this centre was linked to the cultural sphere of the Odra River basin and the Lower Lusatian region (areas located to the southwest of the settlement cluster in the Kargowa - Lower Lusatia - middle Połabie region, overlapping the zone of settlement of West Slavic tribes, mainly Lusatian Serbs and Hevellians). It is believed that in the first half of the 10th century or somewhat later the first Piasts became interested in the Kargowa Basin, where the fort is located. At that time the development of settlements in this region slowed down. Compared to the 8th-9th century, a small number of settlements were established and the older settlements ceased to exist. So far researchers have not managed to establish the history of the fortified settlement and its inhabitants, living in it in the 10th century. Perhaps the fort was burned down, as evidenced by a layer of burnt material uncovered in the area of wooden and earthen fortifications in the course of archaeological investigations. Before the Second World War the site of the hillfort was used as a Jewish cemetery, in front of which there was a building housing a mortuary. The cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis. During the Second World War while preparing to defend against the advancing Red Army, Germans used that hillfort as trenches, the remains of which are still visible on the surface to this day. Remains of historical interest also include traces of a Jewish necropolis — a few fragments of matzevot. The hillfort is overgrown with trees, mainly conifers.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In 1965, rescue research was conducted at the site of the hill fort, within fortification, on the maidan and in the ancillary settlement adjacent to a fortified centre by Mieczysław Kaczkowski and Andrzej Marcinkian, who unearthed the remains of a rampart structure made of wood, stone and earth. During investigations of the site the archaeologists found fragments of ceramic vessels, spindle whorls and metal objects. Based on the results of the investigations, researchers established that the site was settled from the 8th to the 9th century. In 2012 excavations were carried out to precisely determine the chronology of the hillfort and the nature of its fortifications. Three research excavations were undertaken in the northern part of the structure and two surveys were undertaken in the southern part of the hillfort. During these investigations archaeologists found, among others, traces of burned wooden structures — most likely linked to relics of fortifications, remains of a stone coating protecting and reinforcing the surface of the rampart as well as traces of a Jewish cemetery, including fragments of gravestones, fence and tomb and outlines of burial pits. Other historical material includes few fragments of medieval and early modern ceramics. The findings from an analysis of monuments and samples of burned wood suggest that the fortified settlement existed from the second half of the 8th century to the 9th century.

Compiled by dr Krzysztof Garbacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Zielona Góra, 27-06-2014 r.

Bibliography

  • Hensel W., Studia i materiały do osadnictwa Wielkopolski wczesnohistorycznej, t. 3, Poznań 1959, s. 34-36.
  • Śmigielski W., Materiały z badań powierzchniowych na ziemi lubuskiej, „Fontes Archaeologici Posnanienses” 1961, t. 12, s. 294.
  • Zamelska-Monczak K., Kargowa i okolice we wczesnym średniowieczu w świetle źródeł archeologicznych/Kargowa und Umgebung im Frühmittelalter im Lichte archäologischer Quellen, [w:] Bobrowski P. (red.), Pradzieje i wczesna historia Kargowej i okolic. Polsko-niemieckie spotkania z archeologią/Die Vor- und Frühgeschichte von Kargowa und Umgebung. Deutsch-polnische Begegnungen mit der Archäologie, Kargowa 2013, s. 69-86.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: VIII-IX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stary Jaromierz
  • Location: Voivodeship lubuskie, district zielonogórski, commune Kargowa - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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