Hillfort, Nowy Majdan
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
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The hillfort is one of the few surviving structures of its kind in the region, featuring a double system of ramparts which remain fairly well visible in the surrounding terrain. The site forms a valuable source of knowledge with respect to the early medieval hillforts of the Lublin region.

Location and description

The hillfort, known locally as “Zamczysko” (the Castle) or “Pohulanka”, is located in the western part of the village, on a loess promontory the height of which is over 30 metres when measured from the valley floor. The promontory is separated from the line of the nearby hills with a deep ravine. Water springs from which a small, unnamed stream flows are located at the base of the promontory.

The area occupied by the hillfort is approximately 0.7 hectares. The hillfort originally had two earthen ramparts, separated from one another with a deep moat which has been preserved in a fairly good condition. The inner rampart, designed on an oval plan, forms a fully enclosed area with a diameter of approximately 50 metres. The width of the surviving rampart is between 5 and 7 metres, while its height relative to the level of the inner yard is between 0.7 metres in the southern and western sections to 1.9 metres in the northern and eastern sections. The rampart is surrounded by a moat having a width of ca. 5 metres and the depth between 1 and 2.5 metres. The outer earthen rampart does not form a closed ring and opens towards the south, which is most likely due to the fact that a steep escarpment provided a natural barrier hindering any approach this direction. The maximum height of the surviving outer rampart is approximately 0.5 metres, with the width being ca. 5 metres. The distance between the ramparts is between 3 and 5 metres in the northern section, 10 metres in the western section and 30 metres on the north-eastern section. The inner yard of the hillfort slopes down towards the north-west, with its surface area being approximately 0.13 hectares. Based on the analysis of the arrangement of the ramparts as well as on the fact that the inner rampart is lower and the moat is shallower in the eastern section of the hillfort, one may conclude that the entrance to the fort was originally located in this section thereof. Today, the site of the hillfort remains disused and is overgrown with grass, clumps of shrubs and a few trees.

History

Based on the results of archaeological studies, one may assume that the hillfort remained in use during the early Middle Ages, between the 8th and the late 10th century, being most likely intended as a place of refuge for the local population at times of danger. It was erected on the site of an early Neolithic settlement.

Archival sources contain no information on the hillfort in Majdan Nowy. The first mention of the structure in the literature on the subject was made in 1958 by Stanisław Skibiński.

Condition and results of archaeological research

Excavation studies were performed on the site by Urszula Ruszkowska in years 1977 - 78. The documentation was prepared by Jerzy Cichomski on the basis of the research conducted by U. Ruszkowska.

In the course of the excavation research conducted in 1977, a total of 8 research excavations were made, their total surface being 224.5 square metres. In the 1978 season, three excavations were explored, their total surface being 130.25 square metres.

In addition, Andrzej Bronicki and Sławomir Kadrow conducted excavation research on the site of the hillfort in 1985. In the course of the research programme, 4 further research excavations were made, their total surface being 90 square metres; the aim of the programme was to continue the previous studies of the hillfort in order to cover the outer edge of the crescent formed by the rampart and the moat as well as to explore the eastern part of the Neolithic settlement.

Surface surveys of the site within the framework of the ‘Archaeological Picture of Poland’ project were carried out by Teresa Mazurek and Józef Niedźwiedź in 1997.

In the course of excavation research, inside the largest of all the excavations made (excavation no. 1, 42 metres in length) which intersected the hillfort starting from the middle of the inner yard towards the north, across the inner rampart, the space between the ramparts and the outer rampart, findings have been made which allowed the researchers to conclude that the initial difference between the level of the bottom of the moat and the level of the inner and outer ramparts was more than 1 metre. Traces of charred timber structures have been discovered inside the inner rampart, with large quantities of field stones - which might have formed part of the outer surface of the rampart - having been found in its outer section. Man-made pits from the neolithic period have been found in excavation no. 2, located in the eastern part of the area between the ramparts. In excavations no. 3 - 8, located in the eastern part of the hillfort (excavations no. 6 - 8 being located outside the outer rampart), the only findings that have been made were loose artefacts - pieces of clay pottery and metal objects. In the excavation no. 9, located in the eastern part of the space between the ramparts, a few more remnants of the neolithic period (storage pits) have been unearthed. Excavation no. 10, encompassing parts of the inner rampart and the moat, contained traces of the former access road leading to the hillfort, about 4-6 metres wide, as well as remains of wooden and stone structures which made it possible to secure and defend the access route, including what is now believed to have been the traces of a wooden gate attached to the stone abutments of the rampart.

The examination of the excavation intersecting the outer rampart and the moat on the southern slope of the hill in 1985 revealed the existence of a wooden structure at the top of the rampart as well as a v-shaped moat the original depth and width of which amounted to about 100 centimetres and 170 centimetres respectively. In the two other excavations, located in the eastern part of the area between the ramparts, a total of four neolithic storage pits have been discovered; moveable artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age have also been unearthed inside the examined layer. The final excavation, located in the former inner yard of the hillfort, revealed the full extent of a neolithic pit the presence of which had been noted during the exploratory activities conducted in the previous seasons.

In the course of the few years of research that followed, no traces of permanent structures from the early Middle Ages have been identified in the former inner yard. The artefacts discovered on the site are mostly fragments of clay vessels from the period between the 8th and the 10th century. The absence of permanent man-made structures in the inner yard of the now-vanished hillfort as well as the relatively thin cultural layer and the small number of moveable artefacts gathered, the researchers have come to a tentative conclusion that the fort might have served as a place of refuge which would only be used in times of imminent danger.

Unlimited access to the historic structure.

compiled by Ewa Prusicka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 04-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Skibiński S., Zabytki powiatu chełmskiego (Katalog - inwentarz), part I, Archeologia, Chełm 1964, (mps w archiwum Muzeum Okręgowego w Chełmie), poz. 746
  • Gurba J., Z problematyki osadnictwa wczesnośredniowiecznego na Wyżynie Lubelskiej, “Annales UMCS”, 1965, Vol.20, sec. F, p. 51
  • Gurba J., Grodziska Lubelszczyzny, Lublin 1976, p. 26
  • Żaki A., Archeologia Małopolski wczesnośredniowiecznej, Wrocław 1974, pp. 64-65 and 516, no. 292
  • Ruszkowska U., Majdan Nowy, gm. Wojsławice, woj. chełmskie. Stanowisko 1, "Informator Archeologiczny. Badania rok 1977, Warsaw 1978, pp. 179-181.
  • RuszkowskaU., Majdan Nowy, gm. Wojsławice, woj. chełmskie. Stanowisko 1, "Informator Archeologiczny. Badania rok 1978, Warsaw 1979, pp. 179-180.
  • Bronicki A., Kadrow S., Majdan Nowy, gm. Wojsławice, woj. chełmskie, Stanowisko 1, "Informator Archeologiczny. Badania rok 1985, Warsaw 1986, pp. 25-26.
  • Cichomski J., Wczesnośredniowieczne osadnictwo obronne na terenie województwa chełmskiego. Katalog grodzisk. Vol. I, Lublin 1980 (typescript available at the Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Lublin, Chełm branch), pp. 51-54.

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: IX - X w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Nowy Majdan
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district chełmski, commune Wojsławice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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