Gegrėnai Hill Fort II

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Gegrėnai, Plungė district
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In the Žemaitija (Samogitia) National park, 6km from Žemaičių Kalvarija (Samogitian Calvary) and 14km from the park’s Information Centre in Plateliai, you’ll find the 1.6km-long Gegrėnai Hill Fort path that goes through the archaeological complex. You’ll visit two hill forts dating from between the 1st millennium and 13th century. On these hill forts once stood one of the most important castles in the Ceklis land, the biggest land in Southern Courland, namely Gegrė (Zegere) Castle.

Gegrė was the main castle of the castle district. Three Pučkoriai hill forts and those surrounding them all belonged to Gegrėnai castle district. The group of hill forts that still survive to this day allow one to calculate that there were 10 or 11 castle districts in the Ceklis land.

The hill forts are located on both sides of a stream with no name. The second (II) hill fort, which is south of the first and on the right bank, was established, or so it’s believed, at the beginning of the 2nd millennium when the expanded community ran out of space on the small and poorly protected first hill fort.

The platform on the hill fort is oval, oblong along a south-west axis, 110 metres long and 100 metres wide. On the southern edge of the platform is a 40 metre long, 1 metre high and 10 metre wide mound, behind which is a ditch (10 metres wide, 1.5 metres deep). On the eastern edge of the ditch, at a length of 17 metres, the ditch splits into two separate ditches, one 2 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep and the other 4 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep. Between them is a mound (0.2 metres high, 4.5 metres wide). To the south of the ditch is a 20 metre-wide trapezoidal corner of hill chains with a 6 metre-high slope. A 0.2 metre high, 4 metre wide mound has been poured at the northern and western sides of the platform. At the top of the north-western part of the slope, 4 metres below the platform, is a 14-metre-wide terrace. The slopes are steep rising for between 10 and 15 metres in height.

The hill fort has been slightly damaged by ploughing, is overgrown with mixed vegetation that’s been partially cut down on the eastern slope with new branches sprouting. At the southwestern base of the hill fort is a former settlement where pottery and burnt stones were found. Two burial grounds dating from between the 10th and 13th century were found here.

The hill forts that protected the inhabitants of these lands from their enemies have become an integral part of the landscape. By establishing a cognitive path, car park and bridges they attract more and more attention. The steep slopes of both hill forts, up to 15 metres at their highest, and the difference in height between the peaks of the hills and valleys, creates a very expressive terrain with panoramic spaces. Travellers call this complex of hill forts an unexpected discovery that intercepts into the fields like an oasis into the desert.

Gegrėnai Hill Fort II

Gegrėnai, Plungė district

In the Žemaitija (Samogitia) National park, 6km from Žemaičių Kalvarija (Samogitian Calvary) and 14km from the park’s Information Centre in Plateliai, you’ll find the 1.6km-long Gegrėnai Hill Fort path that goes through the archaeological complex. You’ll visit two hill forts dating from between the 1st millennium and 13th century. On these hill forts once stood one of the most important castles in the Ceklis land, the biggest land in Southern Courland, namely Gegrė (Zegere) Castle.

Gegrė was the main castle of the castle district. Three Pučkoriai hill forts and those surrounding them all belonged to Gegrėnai castle district. The group of hill forts that still survive to this day allow one to calculate that there were 10 or 11 castle districts in the Ceklis land.

The hill forts are located on both sides of a stream with no name. The second (II) hill fort, which is south of the first and on the right bank, was established, or so it’s believed, at the beginning of the 2nd millennium when the expanded community ran out of space on the small and poorly protected first hill fort.

The platform on the hill fort is oval, oblong along a south-west axis, 110 metres long and 100 metres wide. On the southern edge of the platform is a 40 metre long, 1 metre high and 10 metre wide mound, behind which is a ditch (10 metres wide, 1.5 metres deep). On the eastern edge of the ditch, at a length of 17 metres, the ditch splits into two separate ditches, one 2 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep and the other 4 metres wide and 0.2 metres deep. Between them is a mound (0.2 metres high, 4.5 metres wide). To the south of the ditch is a 20 metre-wide trapezoidal corner of hill chains with a 6 metre-high slope. A 0.2 metre high, 4 metre wide mound has been poured at the northern and western sides of the platform. At the top of the north-western part of the slope, 4 metres below the platform, is a 14-metre-wide terrace. The slopes are steep rising for between 10 and 15 metres in height.

The hill fort has been slightly damaged by ploughing, is overgrown with mixed vegetation that’s been partially cut down on the eastern slope with new branches sprouting. At the southwestern base of the hill fort is a former settlement where pottery and burnt stones were found. Two burial grounds dating from between the 10th and 13th century were found here.

The hill forts that protected the inhabitants of these lands from their enemies have become an integral part of the landscape. By establishing a cognitive path, car park and bridges they attract more and more attention. The steep slopes of both hill forts, up to 15 metres at their highest, and the difference in height between the peaks of the hills and valleys, creates a very expressive terrain with panoramic spaces. Travellers call this complex of hill forts an unexpected discovery that intercepts into the fields like an oasis into the desert.

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