21.01.2020 change 21.01.2020
Szymon Zdziebłowski
Szymon Zdziebłowski

Previously Unknown Fortifications Discovered Near Grodno Castle

Earth fortifications discovered on the slope of a hill on which Grodno Castle near Wałbrzych stands, could be several hundred years old. The first castle was built here at the end of the 13th century on the order of Bolko I the Strict, a Silesian Piast.

Terrain forms reminiscent of earth fortification were spotted by Grzegorz Sanik from the Culture and Tourism Centre in Walim (whic manages the Grodno Castle in Zagórze Śląskie) and archaeologist Michał Filipowicz. The discovery was made after analysing airborne laser scanning (ALS) images, which make it possible to study terrain forms even under the cover of forests or meadows.

Grzegorz Sanik said: “We have probably discovered two independent earth fortifications. They are located on the northeastern slope of the castle, facing north towards the most convenient approach to the castle.”

The discoverers initially thought the earth forms could be from a moat or a pond, but due to the semi-circular shape, they now believe the were fortifications or former excavations. Not only is this the most convenient approach route to the castle, but the walls do not have any additional installations such as towers or embrasures.

“Therefore, they eliminate dead fields where an invader could hide. Secondly, they provide additional protection to the foreground and the road leading to the castle. Building fortifications at this place is certainly correct and advisable,” Sanik said. Similar elements of fortifications are found around the Wleń Castle (Lower Silesia); they were probably built during the Thirty Years` War (1618-1648).

He added: “However, in the case of those newly discovered it is too early for such precise estimates.” According to preliminary estimates, they could have been built between the 15th and the 17th centuries.

Sanik notes that the remains of the fortifications were not known to the conservation services and are not in the records of archaeological sites.

Researchers hope that excavations will be conducted in the future within the newly discovered terrain forms. “Perhaps then it will be possible to clearly determine the purpose of these embankments, and acquire items related to these structures,” Sanik said.

For now, in addition to analysing airborne laser scanning images, the researchers have gone into the field and documented visible embankments.

Grodno Castle is located on the Choina Mountain in Zagórze Śląskie (Walim commune). It was probably founded at the end of the 13th century, as one of the strongholds of the Świdnica-Jawor principality ruled by Bolko I the Strict. In modern times, the castle was extended by the von Logau family. Today, Grodno Castle is one of the better preserved Piast castles in Lower Silesia. An inn is now located within its walls.

PAP - Science in Poland, Szymon Zdziebłowski

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