Hopfenberge, Chmielnik, Milicz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Hopfenberge, Chmielnik

Milicz

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The surviving hillfort forms part of a complex which also includes a burial ground.

Location and description

The hillfort is located about 500 metres north-east of the town, on the right bank of the Bar-ycz river. A skeleton burial ground is located in the immediate vicinity of the hillfort.

The hillfort survives in the form of a mound rising about 1 metre tall, designed on a roughly oval plan, its dimensions being 130 x 110 metres.

History

In the course of excavation research, it has been determined that the hillfort dates back to the period between the 10th and the 14th century, while the skeleton burial ground originates from the period beginning in the second half of the 12th century and ending in the 14th centu-ry.

The earliest mentions of a castellan’s hillfort in Milicz appeared in a papal bull of Pope Inno-cent II (1136). Another papal bull, dating back to 1155, also mentions the Milicz castellany, which remained in the hands of the bishops of Wrocław at the time.

In the 13th century, Milicz was partially owned by the bishops and partially by the duke. In 1249, an agreement was concluded between the duke and the cathedral chapter pertaining to the legal and property relations between the two, including the rights to be enjoyed by the local castellans. As time went by, the importance of ducal officials decreased significantly. No information is available on any ducal castellan who would still be in office in the 14th century. The register known as the Regesten zur Schlesischen Geschichte mentions a number of castel-lans who answered to the bishop: Sdislaus (before 1249), Wojciech Racławic of Strzelin (1251), Mroczko Wezenberg (1291). There were also two ducal castellans mentioned in the said document: count palatine Nachezjusz (1249) and Stefan of Wierzbna (1250). Towards the end of the 13th century or in the early 14th century, a new castellan’s residence was erect-ed on the left bank of the river Barycz, about 500 metres west of the town centre.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Amateur surveys, most likely of the surface nature, were performed as far back as the 19th century. Official surface surveys took place during the interwar period, followed by the sur-face survey within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project, carried out in 1984. In 1953, the Archeological Monuments Protection Officer ordered an exploratory survey, while in 2003-2006 the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wrocław performed excavation research within the framework of the project known as “Sociotopography of a local power centre during the Piast monarchy based on the hillfort site in Milicz”.

A number of excavations were made in the course of ongoing research in recent years. The discoveries made inside an excavation in the eastern part of the hillfort included the remains of an earthen rampart with an inner supporting structure made of oakwood logs. These fortifi-cations are believed to originate from the period after the year 960. In the western excavation located approximately 30 metres from the rampart, remnants of a stone structure have been unearthed, its original purpose remaining unknown.

Researchers believe that initially, the hillfort occupied a smaller area. During the second half of the 12th century or towards the end of the same century a decision was made to commence alteration works. For this purpose, the original rampart was partially torn down and replaced with various residential and utility structures. The new fortifications covered a larger area; the structure present on the site today bears traces of this 12th-century modernisation. Apart from structural elements and the buildings that had once stood within the hillfort, a large amount of moveable artefacts has also been discovered, including pottery fragments, spindle whorls, spurs, fragments of curbs, animal bones and cinders.

The skeleton burial ground was examined by Andrzej Gałuszko and Marta Młynarska in 1953; a second series of analyses was carried out by Andrzej Kudła and Brunon Miszkiewicz in 1960-62. A total of 461 graves have been discovered; the items concealed therein included temple rings, arrowheads, rings, knives and coins.

The historic site is accessible to visitors. The hillfort and the skeleton burial ground are marked with stone information plaques. A number of tourist routes (including both pedestrian and cycling trails) run across the nearby area, including the “Archaeological Trail” (blue), the “Cieszków Hills Trail” (black), the “Around Milicz” trail (yellow) as well as a kayak trail.

compiled by Donata Trenkler, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 01-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Archaeological Picture of Poland, area 71-31, sheet 1/22.
  • Chorowska M., Kudła A., Architektura i historia średniowiecznego Milicza, (in:) Nie tylko zamki (ed.) M. Chorowska, Wrocław 2005, pp. 83-96.
  • Grodziska wczesnośredniowieczne - katalog, typescript available in the archive of the Region-al Monuments Protection Office in Wrocław

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: X-XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Milicz
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district milicki, commune Milicz - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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