Eketė (Kalotė) Hill Fort

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Kretingalė, Klaipėda district
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Near Klaipėda, where the Eketė stream joins the Dangė river, is where one of the most famous and probably the largest Curonian hill fort in western Lithuania, Eketė, is located. The ancient chronicles call the hill fort Akute (Akutte), or Ekite. After the damming of Eketė, the hill fort was located near the dam, from which it can be reached.

The Eketė Hill Fort, that dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, has steep slopes that reach up to 8 and 9 metres in height). At the top of the hill fort is a spacious platform shaped like an irregular square and a high semicircle mound that surrounds the platform to the north. There are also the remains of a second mound, and archaeological research shows that there were once three more. Such fortifications lead to the assumption that this Curonian castle (mentioned in a Curonian lands division document from 1253) was an important object. The size of the hill fort also shows that there was a fortified centre here. Historical sources from 1285 mention a location called Eketė (Akutė, Achetė). To the northeast of the mound, in an area the size of at least 6 hectares, are surviving traces of the old settlement.

The Eketė Hill Fort has been extensively researched. In 1972, the Lithuanian Institute of History, whose expedition was led by Algimantas Merkevičius, studied an area of 240 square metres on the eastern part of the site and discovered a rich cultural layer of various finds along with the remains of several buildings. Among the finds were iron tools that once belonged to a craftsman that show the location of former workshops, an arrowhead that can be attached to something, Roman coins, an amber spindle, a glass necklace and clay weights for looms. These finds and different types of pottery that were discovered show that the hill fort was permanently inhabited for over a millennium. A thick cultural layer was also found in the settlement at the foot of the hill and was investigated in 1972 and after. The large semi-circular mound is yet to be examined.

The eastern and southern slopes of the hill fort began to decay after a pond was established on the site in the 1970s. In 1994 and again between 1996 and 1997 the mound was repaired. The falling slopes were stabilised and the plantations were organised to prevent further erosion. Today the hill fort is overgrown with sprouts of bushes, and the slope of the outer mounds is overgrown with broad-leaved trees.

Among the stories that circulate about the hill fort is one that talks about how the hill fort was filled in by the Swedes when they were trying to defend themselves against the Russians and the Prussians. Another legend says that a rich castle belonging to the crusaders once stood here. Legend has it that it simply disappeared. It’s believed that the Balts had their shrine here, in which they would sacrifice to the Thunder God, Perkūnas.

Eketė (Kalotė) Hill Fort

Kretingalė, Klaipėda district

Near Klaipėda, where the Eketė stream joins the Dangė river, is where one of the most famous and probably the largest Curonian hill fort in western Lithuania, Eketė, is located. The ancient chronicles call the hill fort Akute (Akutte), or Ekite. After the damming of Eketė, the hill fort was located near the dam, from which it can be reached.

The Eketė Hill Fort, that dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, has steep slopes that reach up to 8 and 9 metres in height). At the top of the hill fort is a spacious platform shaped like an irregular square and a high semicircle mound that surrounds the platform to the north. There are also the remains of a second mound, and archaeological research shows that there were once three more. Such fortifications lead to the assumption that this Curonian castle (mentioned in a Curonian lands division document from 1253) was an important object. The size of the hill fort also shows that there was a fortified centre here. Historical sources from 1285 mention a location called Eketė (Akutė, Achetė). To the northeast of the mound, in an area the size of at least 6 hectares, are surviving traces of the old settlement.

The Eketė Hill Fort has been extensively researched. In 1972, the Lithuanian Institute of History, whose expedition was led by Algimantas Merkevičius, studied an area of 240 square metres on the eastern part of the site and discovered a rich cultural layer of various finds along with the remains of several buildings. Among the finds were iron tools that once belonged to a craftsman that show the location of former workshops, an arrowhead that can be attached to something, Roman coins, an amber spindle, a glass necklace and clay weights for looms. These finds and different types of pottery that were discovered show that the hill fort was permanently inhabited for over a millennium. A thick cultural layer was also found in the settlement at the foot of the hill and was investigated in 1972 and after. The large semi-circular mound is yet to be examined.

The eastern and southern slopes of the hill fort began to decay after a pond was established on the site in the 1970s. In 1994 and again between 1996 and 1997 the mound was repaired. The falling slopes were stabilised and the plantations were organised to prevent further erosion. Today the hill fort is overgrown with sprouts of bushes, and the slope of the outer mounds is overgrown with broad-leaved trees.

Among the stories that circulate about the hill fort is one that talks about how the hill fort was filled in by the Swedes when they were trying to defend themselves against the Russians and the Prussians. Another legend says that a rich castle belonging to the crusaders once stood here. Legend has it that it simply disappeared. It’s believed that the Balts had their shrine here, in which they would sacrifice to the Thunder God, Perkūnas.

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