Hillfort, Pełczyska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
photo

An exceptionally valuable fortified complex from the early modern period, consisting of a number of relics of masonry structures built upon much earlier cultural layers.

Location and description

The site is situated at the north-eastern edge of the line of hills forming the eastern boundary of the Krzczonowica river valley. The hillfort itself had originally stood at the top of the landform known as the Olbrych, Zawinnica or Zamczysko Hill.

The middle section of the site, situated on the most elevated spot, is roughly square in shape, with slightly rounded corners. It is surrounded by a moat and an earthen rampart from three sides (from the north-west, the north-east and the south-east). A steep, natural slope lies to the south-west of the site. A gentle ridge separating the ravines surrounding the hill and leading towards the hillfort itself lies to the north-west of the site. A second rampart was also constructed on this side; running in parallel to the first rampart, albeit visibly lower. A flat terrace adjoins the eastern edge of the site of the former hillfort; according to the description provided by Józef Żurowski, this terrace was once intersected by a rampart which has survived into the early 20th century. There was also a rectangular trench (moat) designed on a regular, quadrangular plan, its dimensions being approximately 80x106 metres, with its longer side following the east-west axis. This structure was discovered in 2002, thanks to aerial photos.

History

The earliest traces of human habitation discovered on the site of the hillfort is the Lengyel culture pit – a relic of Neolithic settlement from the period between the years 4600 and 4000 B.C. The area on the eastern side of the hillfort became the site of human settlement slightly later, with the traces of habitation discovered there including a trench which was dug somewhere between the year 4200 and 3600 B.C. by the members of the Lublin-Volhynian culture. Following a lengthy hiatus, this area was settled once again in the 8th-9th century, while the site of the hillfort itself was inhabited between the 10th and the 13th century; according to the researchers who examined the site, the settlement in question was of the open type. During that period, the land around Pełczyska was mostly owned by the Catholic Church and remained fairly densely inhabited. At the eastern edge of the site, at a distance of approximately 1 kilometre, stands the church of St Adalbert, which can trace its roots back to the 12th or perhaps even the 11th century. In 1224, two chaplains are known to have resided in Pełczyska. Historical documents dating back to the years 1222, 1224 and 1226 contain mentions of the disputes between the bishop Iwon and the count palatine Baran, who both claimed to have been the rightful owners of parts of the village. In the second half of the 13th century and the 14th century, a fortified settlement is believed to have stood on the Olbrych hill; this structure, known from various mentions in written sources, may have been the local seat of the Cracow bishops. The various moveable artefacts from the period in question which were found on the site remain the sole archaeological proof of its existence. In 1304 and 1306, the village of Pełczyska was mentioned in written sources in connection with the seizure of the hillfort, hitherto forming part of the lands held by the Cracow bishops, by King Władysław the Elbow-high. The existence of a local parish was first mentioned in the register of the Alms of St Peter dating back to 1326. During the period between the 15th and the 16th century, a masonry manor house was most likely erected here. During World War I, a trench was excavated across the middle section of the former hillfort by the troops stationed in the area. Today, the Olbrych hill remains disused; those who climb all the way to the top can enjoy a commanding view of the surrounding area, as the hill remains one of the tallest – and most picturesque – in the entire commune.

Condition and results of archeological research

The very first mentions of the site were made by rev. Władysław Siarkowski and Marian Wawrzeniecki. On 1.09.1844, a treasure cache containing late-13th century coins was discovered near the hillfort, with the most recent coins originating from the period of the reign of duke Przemysł II. A total of at least a few dozen thousand silver coins were unearthed, deposited in a large, clay vessel; according to Joachim Lelewel, the quantity of coins may have actually been as high as 20 thousand. This is one of the greatest such caches from the period of the feudal fragmentation of Poland that has ever been discovered in the Polish territory.

Later on, excavations on the site of the hillfort’s inner yard were performed in the years 1973-79 by Dorota Górna and Joanna Kalaga. In the years 2001 and 2002, aerial photos of the area located east of the hillfort were made in the course of a study programme led by Marcin Rudnicki, followed by a series of exploratory borings in the April of 2004. In the August of 2005, a number of excavations were also carried out on the site.

The site is open to visitors. The artefacts recovered on the site are now in possession of the Institute of Archaeology of the Warsaw University.

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 26-10-2015

Bibliography

  • Informator archeologiczny, 1974, p. 203
  • Informator archeologiczny, 1975, pp. 189-190
  • Informator archeologiczny, 1976, pp. 255-256
  • Informator archeologiczny, 1978, p. 188
  • Informator archeologiczny, 1980, pp. 265-266
  • Antoniewicz W., Górska I., Okulicz Ł., Padrewska L., Pyrgała J., Szymański W., Wartołowska Z., Mapa grodzisk w Polsce, Wrocław 1964, pp. 40, 66
  • Dąbrowska E., Studia nad osadnictwem wczesnośredniowiecznym ziemi wiślickiej, Wrocław 1965, p. 239
  • Gajewski L., Nowe stanowiska archeologiczne we wsi Pełczyska, pow. Pińczów, “Wiadomości Archeologiczne”, vol. 39, 1974, p. 268
  • Górna D., Wyniki dotychczasowych badań archeologicznych grodziska w Pełczyskach, gm. Złota Pińczowska, “Światowit”, vol. 36, 1986, pp. 175-178
  • Górna D., Kalaga J., Pełczyska, gm. Złota Pińczowska, woj. Kieleckie, stan. Grodzisko. Monograficzne opracowanie dokumentacji i materiału zabytkowego, 1979, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce
  • Grabowski A., Historyczny opis miasta Krakowa i jego okolic, Cracow 1822, p. 309
  • Grabowski A., Drobne Wiadomości, “Światowit”, vol. 3, 1901, p. 239
  • Kajzer L., Uwagi o wynikach wykopalisk w Pełczyskach, gm. Złota Pińczowska, woj. kieleckie, stanowisko „Grodzisko”. Opracowanie wykonane na zlecenie WKZ-KZA w Kielcach, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce
  • Kołodziejski S., Uwagi o średniowiecznym budownictwie obronnym biskupów krakowskich, “Teki Konserwatorskie”, vol. 3, 1996, p. 143
  • Poleski J., Wczesnośredniowieczne grody w dorzeczu Dunajca, Kraków 2004, pp. 430-431
  • Rudnicki M., Sprawozdanie z badań archeologicznych w Pełczyskach, gm. Złota, przeprowadzonych w 2005 roku, Warszaw 2006, typescript available at the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce
  • Siarkowski W., Wiadomości o zabytkach przedhistorycznych okolic Pińczowa, “Zbiór wiadomości do Antropologii Krajowej”, vol. 12, 1908, p. 48
  • Wawrzeniecki M., Poszukiwania archeologiczne w Królestwie Polskim, “Materiały Antropologiczno-Archeologiczne i Etnograficzne”, vol. 10. 1908, p. 61
  • Wiśniewski J., Historyczny opis kościołów, miast, zabytków i pamiątek w pińczowskiem, skalbiermskiem i wiślickiem, Marjówka 1927, p. 218
  • Żurowski J., Sprawozdanie urzędu konserwatorskiego na okręg krakowski, “Wiadomości archeologiczne”, vol. 6, 1921, pp. 175-176

General information

  • Type: hillfort
  • Chronology: XV – XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pełczyska
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district pińczowski, commune Złota
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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