The ring fort, Łoniewo
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The ring fort in Łoniewo constitutes the central section of one of the known settlement complexes in southern Greater Poland. Located in the vicinity of an old route between Głogów and Poznań. It is also mentioned as one of those places where the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III might have stopped over during his journey to Gniezno.

Location and description

The site, known locally as the “Swedish earthwork”, is located approximately 1250 metres north of the Łoniewo village, on the south-eastern bank of the Łoniewskie lake. It is located on a sandy mound of the peninsula, surrounded by swampy meadows. In the west, the fort is surrounded by open settlements.

The fort has a shape approximating that of a trapezium, with dimensions of 110 x 120 m. It is surrounded by a rampart with two breaks in the north and the south. The maximum height of the surviving ramparts is approximately 2 metres, with the width at the base being between 25 and 30 metres. The dimensions of the courtyard are 50 by 40 metres.

An artificial weir leads towards the hillfort. This weir is what is left today of the original access ramp. Traces of reinforcing structures on the lake shore in the form of stone paving and vertical piles driven into the ground have been discovered in the western part of the structure, pointing towards the possible existence of a harbour. The site of the hillfort had been used for agricultural purposes in the past, with the continued tillage causing considerable damage to the structure. Today, the entire site is overgrown with grass.

History

The hillfort in Łoniewo remained inhabited during the early Middle Ages (10th - 11th century). The dendrochronological analysis of the timbers forming the base of the ramparts showed that the fortifications were erected in the early 10th century. However, in order to determine the exact date of construction and abandonment of the hillfort, additional research and verification would be necessary, since the ceramic artifacts found in the cultural layers of the fort fits into the broad chronological framework of the period between the 8th and the 11th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

The archaeological site has long been known to researchers from their personal experience (e.g. J. Kostrzewski in 1925, W. Kowalenko in 1934, W. Hensel in 1945), receiving a number of mentions in the literature on the subject. In 1945, an exploratory site survey was conducted by Z. Rajewski, with the results of the research presented in the form of a short announcement. In the year 2000, exploratory rescue excavations were performed on the site by Barbara Iwanicka-Pinkosz. An excavation with the length of 45 metres and the width of between 3.5 and 5 metres was made across the rampart and a small fragment of the inner yard. All in all, 175 square metres of the site have been examined, with the maximum depth of excavation being approximately 4 metres. The excavation of the rampart allowed the researchers a fascinating glimpse into its structure, incorporating both earthen, timber and stone elements. Near the summit of the rampart, wooden lattice structures with the height of about 2 metres were discovered; these used to serve as the outer face of the sandy embankment of the rampart. The base of this wooden lattice consisted of beams positioned close to one another, transversely to the rampart itself, resting upon other beams (joists) that followed the course of the rampart. These beams were held in place by vertical piles reinforced with stones and natural “hooks” in the form of spreading tree branches. The individual levels of the lattice structure were secured by means of frames made of scribe-fit interlocking wooden beams. In addition to timber structures, other findings included iron ore lumps, lumps of clay as well as pottery and animal bone fragments. A concentration of large stones forming a regular wall with a width of 0.6 metres and height of 1.5 metres has been discovered in the central section of the lattice structure. The settlement layer discovered in the examined section of the inner yard had a thickness of approximately 40 centimetres. In addition to pottery fragments, numerous other artifacts were discovered here, including iron items (a key, a curb and iron fittings from a chest) as well as a glass ring, bone awls and ice skates.

The site is private property. The structure forms part of the surrounding landscape and can be accessed from the outside.

Bibliography

  • Hensel W, Studia i materiały do osadnictwa Wielkopolski wczesnohistorycznej, t. III, 1959, s. 261-265.
  • Hilczerówna Z., Dorzecze Górnej i Środkowej Obry od VI do początków XI wieku, Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków 1967.
  • Iwanicka-Pinkosz Barbara, Wstępne wyniki ratowniczych badań wykopaliskowych na wczesnośredniowiecznym grodzisku w Łoniewie stan. 1, gm. Osieczna, woj. wielkopolskie, „Wielkopolskie Sprawozdania Archeologiczne”, t.6, 2003, s. 343-350.
  • Kowalenko W., Grody i osadnictwo grodowe Wielkopolski wczesnohistorycznej, Poznań 1938.
  • Rajewski Z., Łoniewo, powiat leszczyński, „Przegląd Zachodni”, t. 1, 1945, s. 368-369.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: X – XI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Łoniewo
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district leszczyński, commune Osieczna - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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