Barrow cemetery, Matcze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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A prehistoric or early medieval barrow cemetery, one of the best-preserved sites of its kind anywhere in Poland. The site is a unique feature in the landscape of the Grzęda Horodelska region.

Location and description

The cemetery in Matcze is located about 2 kilometres to the south from the tightly clustered buildings of the nearby village and about 500 metres to the north-west of the Bereźnica village, near the main road leading from Matcze to Hrubieszów. It is located at the edge of a small valley surrounding a nameless watercourse, on the boundary of the plateau forming part of a larger valley around the Bug river, about 1600 metres towards the west from the said river (calculated in a straight line). The barrow cemetery is situated on lot no. 529 which remains under the administration of the State Forests Holding (Strzelce Forest District), in a forest which forms part of the Strzelce Landscape Park. Due to additional legal protection, the site and the immediate surroundings have been excluded from exploitation.

The cemetery consists of a total of 21 well-preserved burial mounds located in an area with a total surface of approximately 2 hectares. They are spread quite evenly across the site, with no evident traces of any clusters. Their height is between 0.5 and 2.0 metres, while their diameter is between 7 and 15 metres. The mounds are circular in shape, save for two oval mounds the condition of which is visibly worse compared to the rest. There are no traces of activities of grave robbers with the exception of a single, relatively deep excavation made on one of the barrows located at the eastern edge of the burial ground. A few of the mounds show evident damage - traces of logging activities which have taken place long ago and involved the movement of heavy machinery over the barrows and the dragging of felled trees; some of the barrows have also been dug up by boars. The burial ground is overgrown by a mixed woodlot which includes a number of pines which are believed to be about 100 years old, with a relatively thick undergrowth covering the ground. The burial mounds themselves are believed to have been made either in prehistoric times or in early Middle Ages.

History

Based on general observations concerning the form of the mounds it has been tentatively determined in the decision on the inscription of the site into the register of monuments that the barrow cemetery in Matcze may originate either from the prehistoric times or from the early Middle Ages. The chronology of the site as stated in the Archaeological Site Record Sheet is between the 7th and the 9th century.

The burial ground in Matcze was discovered towards the end of the 1980s, with the first mentions of the site in the literature on the subject being made by J. Niedźwiedź and W. Koman. A total of 12 barrows were inscribed into the register of monuments; however, during the process of measurement and inventory preparation, a greater number of burial mounds - 17 in total - has been identified, with the site survey performed in the autumn of 2015 revealing a further 4. Ever since the discovery of the burial ground, the state of conservation of the barrows has not seen any notable changes. There are no fresh traces of illegal digging, with one large, old excavation being visible on one of the mounds. The site of the burial ground is overgrown by a mixed forest which protects the substance of the site against rapid degradation.

Condition and results of archaeological research

No archaeological excavations have been carried out on the site. Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out in 1994 by Wiesław Koman. An inventory of measurements of the burial mounds was prepared by Józef Niedźwiedź and Adam Medak in 1996.

Accessible historic building.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 07-09-2015.

Bibliography

  • Niedźwiedź J., Koman W., Okolice Hrubieszowa w pradziejach i we wczesnym średniowieczu, Hrubieszów 1996, p. 83.
  • Prusicka - Kołcon E., Niedźwiedź J., Matcze stan. 30 gm. Horodło [in:] Inwentaryzacja kurhanów powiatu hrubieszowskiego. Katalog. Zamość 2006 (typescript available at the archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office, Zamość Branch).

General information

  • Type: Barrow
  • Chronology: VII - IX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Matcze
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district hrubieszowski, commune Horodło
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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