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Rydno - an archeological reserve, a complex of Paleolithic industrial settlements with a hematite mine - Zabytek.pl

Rydno - an archeological reserve, a complex of Paleolithic industrial settlements with a hematite mine

site with an economic function Skarżysko-Kamienna


woj. świętokrzyskie, pow. skarżyski, gm. Skarżysko-Kamienna-gmina miejska

A Europe’s unique complex of late Paleolithic campsites, associated with the processing of flint and extraction of hematite used for making red dye (ochre) for ritual purposes.

Location and description

The reserve covers an area in the Kamienna River valley, stretching approx. 10 km from the east part of Skarżysko-Kamienna towards Wąchock. The name "Rydno" was proposed by Stefan Krukowski to reflect the play on Polish words such as ore, dig, spade. It embraces several hundred type-sites gathered around the hematite mine, on sand dunes on both sides of the Kamienna River.


The encampments of reindeer hunters and the traces of hematite extraction go back to the Hamburg culture (ca. 13,000-12,000 years ago), the Federmesser complex (ca. 11,800-10,800 years ago), the Bromme-Lyngby culture (ca. 11,8000-10,8000 years ago) and Swiderian culture (ca. 10,800-10,000 years ago). This type of settlement came to an end with the warming of the climate at the end of the Ice Age and the supposed migration in the north-east direction following the herds of reindeer. This land were then repeatedly occupied in the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age. In the contemporary times, the structures and facilities were destroyed by the uncontrolled extraction of sand, cultivation and illegal landfills.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In 1921 Ludwik Sawicki identified several type-sites in Marcinków and, in the years 1923-25, ​in the area of ​​Łyżwy, Nowy Młyn (today Skarżysko) and Grzybowa Góra. In 1937 Stefan Krukowski began his research and was the first to discover the relationship with the hematite mine and the concentration of settlement in the Kamienna River valley. The work was interrupted by WW2. In the years 1943-44, Krukowski conducted surface examination, and in the 1940s and 1950s led a number of excavation projects. In 1957 the area was entered into the register of historic sites. In the years 1976-1981 and in 1984, further research was conducted by Romuald Schild of the Institute of History of Material Culture, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and, in the years 1977-1980, by Stefan Karol Kozlowski from the Institute of Archaeology, Warsaw University. In 1986 the conservator’s decision was upheld, the boundaries were delineated and the Rydno Reserve was established. Since 1988 rescue and research works have continued led by the Institute of History of Material Culture, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and supervised by Jacek Andrzej Tomaszewski, Halina Królik and Elżbieta Danielczyk. In the Rydno area, numerous traces were discovered of opencast mining for hematite pebbles in the form of shafts or pits up to 1.5 m deep. The extracted solid stone was crushed and ground to obtain a red dye - ochre. It was exported even up to several hundred kilometres to the west. The ochre discovered in Całowanie near Warsaw, one of the most important type-sites of the time in Poland, had also come from Rydno. Around the mine, numerous settlement traces were found consisting of both basic encampments, sometimes with single residential structures (single-family, earth-sunk structure of Swiderian culture, associated probably with the dispersal of the population in the winter season and individual hunting), as well as smaller accumulations of stone monuments, testifying to short-term camping stopovers. The camp sizes and the presence of imported material (e.g. obsidian from the Tokaj Mountains or radiolarites from the White Carpathians) prove the supraregional importance of the trade.

Limited access to the monument. Private property. The historic material is kept in the National Archeological Museum in Warsaw. Since 2005, the reserve hosts the yearly Archeological Picnic (www.rydno.com).

Compiled by Nina Glińska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 08.10.2014.


  • Hensel Z., Physical and chemical examination of hematite grains from Rydno and Całowanie, "Przegląd Archeologiczny" 1981, t.29, s. 98-100.
  • Kaczanowski P., Kozłowski J.K., Wielka Historia Polski, t. 1, Najdawniejsze dzieje ziem polskich (do VII w.), Kraków 1998, s. 90-92.
  • Kozłowski J.K., Wielka Historia Świata, t. 1, Świat przed „rewolucją” neolityczną, Kraków 2004, s. 548, 626-628, 633.
  • Królik H., Schild R., Rydno - a final Palaeolithic ochre mining complex, „Przegląd Archeologiczny”, 1982, t. 29, s. 53-98.
  • Lejawa J., Rezerwat archeologiczny „Rydno”, (maszynopis).
  • Orzechowski Sz., Archeologiczne prace inwentaryzacyjne i wykopaliskowe prowadzone w latach 1991-2000 w granicach województwa świętokrzyskiego i dawnego kieleckiego [w:] Piasecka A. (red.) Prace konserwatorskie w latach 1990-2000. Dziesięć lat Służby Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach, Kielce 2001, s. 16-17.
  • Schild R., Wieloprzemysłowe stanowisko Rydno IV/57 (Grzybowa Góra pow. Starachowice), [w:] „Materiały do prehistorii pleistocenu i wczesnego holocenu", Wrocław, 1967, s. 124-208.
  • Schild R., Królik H., Tomaszewski A.J., Ciepielewska E., Rydno. A Stone Age Red Ochre Quarry and Socioeconomic Center. A Century of Research, Warszawa 2011.

Category: site with an economic function

Protection: Register of monuments

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_A_26_AR.23233