Early medieval defensive rampart called the Swedish Rampart, Wały
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Early medieval defensive rampart called the Swedish Rampart



Example of the fragment of borderline fortifications connected with the protection of northern frontier of Mazowsze against the invasion of Prussian tribes: Sasins and Galinds.

Location and description

The line of the Swedish Rampart runs between villages Zimna Woda and Wały, along the left bank of the Czarna river, ca. 10-15 km to the North from the historic border of the Polish state marked in 1343.The fortification consists of two, more or less parallel strips, with a simplified course direction on the NW - SE axis. Both strips are built of the earthen structure and the ditches running at their both sides. The length of the eastern strip equals currently ca. 3.2 km, and its height amounts to ca. 1.5 m. The width of the strip with the ditches equals ca. 15 m. Western strip is shorter and its length equals approximately 2.3 km, at height reaching xa. 1 m and total width of ca. 11 m.


Swedish Rampart was the main defensive fortification erected by the Poles on the route leading from Prussia to Sgiersk fortified settlement. The time of use of the rampart dates back to the end of the 11th century and first half of the 13th century, which proves the long period of functioning of the fortification. Its last reconstruction took place still at the beginning of the 13th century, at the order of the voivode of Mazowsze, Krystyn - main founder of Mazowsze defense against Prussian offensive. Again, the strategic character impacting the land near the rampart was used in 1914 and 1944 during acts of war. Then, the biggest devastation of the substance of this fortification took place. It can be expected that the awareness of the existence of the Rampart functioned among the local population not only at the beginning of its existence but also until modern times. However, as a structure constituting the subject of research it is known since the second half of the 19th century.

Condition and results of archaeological research

First excavations were of amateur nature and consisted in performing

the excavation by the foresters in 1882. The first person to describe the structure in detail was Georg Bujack. After the Second World War, in the years 1987-1990 both strips of the rampart were covered by archaeological survey. The survey covered these fragments, which were damaged the least during the Second World War. Based on the surveys, it was determined that the strips which are the part of the fortification were erected and functioned in different phases of early Middle Ages, which is also indicative of the fact that those were two independently functioning fortifications. The eastern strip - the older one was formed in phases and consisted of three sections, the basis of which was a box structure filled and covered with ground. The western strip - the younger one also consisted of three sections, however, it was a structure erected in one phase. Its time of functioning was considerably shorter and it was destroyed by the fire.

Both strips of fortifications are located within the area of a forest complex.

Compiled by Hanna Mackiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 9.09.2014



  • Bujack G., Einige Landwehren im Kreise Allenstein, Ortelsburg und Neidenburg, [w:] Prussia, t. 10, 1885, s. 85 - 92.
  • Kowalczyk E. Dzieje granicy mazowiecko-krzyżackiej (między Drwęcą, a Pisą), Warszawa, 2003, s. 227-240

General information

  • Type: Shaft
  • Chronology: 1100-1250
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wały
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district nidzicki, commune Nidzica - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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