Early medieval settlement complex consisting of the hillfort and ancillary settlement, Zajączki
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Early medieval settlement complex consisting of the hillfort and ancillary settlement



The example of tribal early medieval hillfort called Sassenpils - the stronghold of Sasins, together with ancillary settlement.

Location and description

Hillfort is located on a high edge of the Gizela river valley, approx. 1.2 km to the South from the Zajączki village and approx. 300 m to the north-east from the buildings of Zakurzewo village. Due to the topography the hillfort has a shape similar to isosceles triangle with the dimensions of 46x46x36 m. The structure is surrounded by the rampart, the height of which equals 8 metres. The hillfort was formed by cutting off of the south-eastern part of the hill, on which it is settled, by means of a deep ditch, which functioned as a dry moat, still very transparent against the background. In the western part of the rampart there is a clear degradation most probably the remainder of the gateway. To the west and south from the hillfort there is an ancilliary settlement, for which the structure had a refugial function.


The survey showed that the structure is of one-phase nature and was used in the 12th-13th century. Zajączki were first mentioned in written sources in 1328 as knight’s goods. In the literature this structure is called Sassenpils, so the fortified settlement of Sasins.

Condition and results of archaeological research

In 1949 J.Antoniewicz conducted screening-surface surveys in the structure. First excavations were carried out by A. Marciniak-Kajzer in 1998. They were of rescue nature resulting from the fact that there were wasteful excavations noted within the hillfort area. As a result of surveys the relics of a burnt residential building, hearth remains, numerous fragments of ceramic vessels and animal bones were discovered. The conducted surveys on the relics of a settlement accompanying the hillfort, confirmed its considerable devastation. However, it was possible to determine that the settlement functioning at that place in early Middle Ages was at a place used for settlement purposes already in the initial phases of the Lusatian period. The sites were verified by means of surface surveys again in 2002 by M. Hoffmann and A. Mackiewicz

The hillfort is located within the area of a forest complex, and the settlement is situated within the area used for agricultural purposes.

Compiled by Hanna Mackiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 22.09.2014



  • Antoniewicz J., Z zagadnień ochrony zabytków wczesnośredniowiecznego budownictwa obronnego na Warmii i Mazurach [w:] Sprawozdania P.M.A., t. III (1950), s. 72;
  • Marciniak-kajzer A. Wczesnośredniowieczny zespół osadniczy w miejscowości Zajączki, gm. Ostróda w świetle badań ratowniczych przeprowadzonych w 1998 roku, [w:] Łódzkie Sprawozdania Archeologiczne, t. IV (1998), s. 171-188;
  • Hoffmann M. J., Mackiewicz A. Średniowieczne założenia obronne powiatu ostródzkiego, Ostróda 2004, s. 24-25

General information

  • Type: other
  • Chronology: Wczesne średniowiecze
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Zajączki
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district ostródzki, commune Ostróda
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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