Plunge Hill Fort, also known as the Pabrėžos pilalė

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Birutės str., Plungė
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Hill forts in Plungė district, the most important legacy of our ancestors the Balts, are counted in their tens. You’ll find one such defensive object in the city of Plungė, north of the old Plungė cemetery where the All Saints Chapel stands. Plungė Hill Fort is also known as Pabrėžos Pilalė (pilalė is a name given to historical-geographical objects, mostly those in Samogitia). The legacy of the Curonians of the Ceklis land is classified as a special and highly mysterious type of hill fort hiding place.

The hill fort, which dates from to the end of the 1st millennium or the beginning of the 2nd millennium, is on a separate hill located in the valley of the Babrungas river, which was later flooded. Today, from the western, northern and eastern sides the hill is surrounded by a pond belonging to the Gandinga Hydroelectric Power Station. On the south side is a low isthmus that connects the hill to the hill chain on the south side. The slopes of the hill fort are steep and quite low at only 5 metres high. The platform is quadrangular and 40 × 25 metres in size. The north-eastern slope has been washed away.

As written by an ethnographer Denisas Nikitenka (Denis Nikitenka), such types of hill fort hiding places are the locations to which people from the district would run to if there was any danger. Such hiding places were typical to the Curonians who suffered significantly under the oppression of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, the German Crusaders and the Samogitians. These objects were never intended for defence purposes, didn’t have ancient names and are not mentioned in any documents. It still hasn’t been determined as to who could have been hiding in this hill called Pabrėžos pilalė. The Gandinga settlement, that was bigger at the time, was 4km away, and such a long distance would have been too far to travel.

The hill fort, explored by archaeologists on approximately five different occasions, have no material artefacts of cultural heritage and there are no traces of a settlement nearby. However, during the interwar period, about 1km southwest of the Plungė Hill Fort, a couple of skulls were found in a garden, and, in 1984, human bones and copper jewellery were discovered. The alleged Plungė burial ground, according to available data, is attributed to a later burial.

The hill fort hiding place is called Pabrėžos pilalė because at one point Father Jurgis Ambrozijus (Ambraziejus) Pabrėža (1771–1849) was a priest in Plungė. He was a Franciscan and also a doctor, a botanist, the first explorer of Lithuanian flora and one of the most prominent educators of the 19th century.

In 2015, the local community took the initiative to repair the hill fort, to cut the trees that grow on its slopes and to open it to the public. They soon began celebrating the Balts’ Unity Day on September 22 here.

Plunge Hill Fort, also known as the Pabrėžos pilalė

Birutės str., Plungė

Hill forts in Plungė district, the most important legacy of our ancestors the Balts, are counted in their tens. You’ll find one such defensive object in the city of Plungė, north of the old Plungė cemetery where the All Saints Chapel stands. Plungė Hill Fort is also known as Pabrėžos Pilalė (pilalė is a name given to historical-geographical objects, mostly those in Samogitia). The legacy of the Curonians of the Ceklis land is classified as a special and highly mysterious type of hill fort hiding place.

The hill fort, which dates from to the end of the 1st millennium or the beginning of the 2nd millennium, is on a separate hill located in the valley of the Babrungas river, which was later flooded. Today, from the western, northern and eastern sides the hill is surrounded by a pond belonging to the Gandinga Hydroelectric Power Station. On the south side is a low isthmus that connects the hill to the hill chain on the south side. The slopes of the hill fort are steep and quite low at only 5 metres high. The platform is quadrangular and 40 × 25 metres in size. The north-eastern slope has been washed away.

As written by an ethnographer Denisas Nikitenka (Denis Nikitenka), such types of hill fort hiding places are the locations to which people from the district would run to if there was any danger. Such hiding places were typical to the Curonians who suffered significantly under the oppression of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, the German Crusaders and the Samogitians. These objects were never intended for defence purposes, didn’t have ancient names and are not mentioned in any documents. It still hasn’t been determined as to who could have been hiding in this hill called Pabrėžos pilalė. The Gandinga settlement, that was bigger at the time, was 4km away, and such a long distance would have been too far to travel.

The hill fort, explored by archaeologists on approximately five different occasions, have no material artefacts of cultural heritage and there are no traces of a settlement nearby. However, during the interwar period, about 1km southwest of the Plungė Hill Fort, a couple of skulls were found in a garden, and, in 1984, human bones and copper jewellery were discovered. The alleged Plungė burial ground, according to available data, is attributed to a later burial.

The hill fort hiding place is called Pabrėžos pilalė because at one point Father Jurgis Ambrozijus (Ambraziejus) Pabrėža (1771–1849) was a priest in Plungė. He was a Franciscan and also a doctor, a botanist, the first explorer of Lithuanian flora and one of the most prominent educators of the 19th century.

In 2015, the local community took the initiative to repair the hill fort, to cut the trees that grow on its slopes and to open it to the public. They soon began celebrating the Balts’ Unity Day on September 22 here.

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