Veiviržėnai (Vilkiai) Hill Fort

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Veiviržėnai, Klaipėda district
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The town of Veiviržėnai, located on both sides of the Veiviržas river, has been mentioned in written sources since the 13th century. One of the most picturesque locations in Klaipėda region, the wavy relief of the landscape is known not only for one of the largest tributaries of the Minija but also for the streams that flow from it. The starting point of the town is the hill fort located in the cape of the hill chain. The hill fort is also known as Vilkiai.

Dating back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, it’s the only such object in the region with a fortified outer bailey that’s located to the east of the hill fort. The outer bailey is a fortified settlement located at the base of the hill fort whose fortifications are much more powerful than the fortifications of a simple settlement of a similar nature. Outer baileys would usually be constructed in a place protected by natural obstacles such as on a hill chain near the hill fort. Outer baileys were mostly inhabited by craftsmen and merchants.

The platform of the hill fort itself is of medium size, trapezoidal, and with a mound at the eastern end. From the side of the hill chain the quadrangular platform of the mound is surrounded by a ditch. There were once smaller mounds on the southern side. The slopes of the hill fort close to the Veiviržas Valley are steep and rise to 15 metres in height, but have been damaged by erosion from the river. The platform of the outer bailey is uncultivated.

In 1905 it was visited by the hill fort enthusiast Liudvikas Kšivickis (Ludwik Krzywicki) who recorded the platform as having a 45cm-thick cultural layer possession no finds. However, in his notes, Krzywicki mentions three stone bullets found by a priest. In 1963, the Lithuanian Institute of History conducted the archaeological research at the hill fort.

On the right bank of Veiviržas to the south-southwest of the hill fort was a large burial ground where Roman coins were found. Among the finds was a brass bracelet dating back to the 8th or 9th century.

There are several legends regarding a place that was sacred to the Balts that was supposedly once here. These legends also mention an eternal flame and sacrifices to the goddess Milda. The effects of these stories are enhanced by old oak trees that grow in the area. In 1962, a story told by a resident of Veiviržėnai, Ona Vernickaitė, who spoke in the Žemaičių (Samogitian) dialect, was recorded: The Swedes filled in the hill when they came here. The next time, when the child of the Swede brought the sand to our people here inside his glove, he got into an argument with his father, who told him: ‘Child, the time will come when we will be cursed by these people’. He was right. The Swede then went to Sweden via Germany.

Veiviržėnai (Vilkiai) Hill Fort

Veiviržėnai, Klaipėda district

The town of Veiviržėnai, located on both sides of the Veiviržas river, has been mentioned in written sources since the 13th century. One of the most picturesque locations in Klaipėda region, the wavy relief of the landscape is known not only for one of the largest tributaries of the Minija but also for the streams that flow from it. The starting point of the town is the hill fort located in the cape of the hill chain. The hill fort is also known as Vilkiai.

Dating back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, it’s the only such object in the region with a fortified outer bailey that’s located to the east of the hill fort. The outer bailey is a fortified settlement located at the base of the hill fort whose fortifications are much more powerful than the fortifications of a simple settlement of a similar nature. Outer baileys would usually be constructed in a place protected by natural obstacles such as on a hill chain near the hill fort. Outer baileys were mostly inhabited by craftsmen and merchants.

The platform of the hill fort itself is of medium size, trapezoidal, and with a mound at the eastern end. From the side of the hill chain the quadrangular platform of the mound is surrounded by a ditch. There were once smaller mounds on the southern side. The slopes of the hill fort close to the Veiviržas Valley are steep and rise to 15 metres in height, but have been damaged by erosion from the river. The platform of the outer bailey is uncultivated.

In 1905 it was visited by the hill fort enthusiast Liudvikas Kšivickis (Ludwik Krzywicki) who recorded the platform as having a 45cm-thick cultural layer possession no finds. However, in his notes, Krzywicki mentions three stone bullets found by a priest. In 1963, the Lithuanian Institute of History conducted the archaeological research at the hill fort.

On the right bank of Veiviržas to the south-southwest of the hill fort was a large burial ground where Roman coins were found. Among the finds was a brass bracelet dating back to the 8th or 9th century.

There are several legends regarding a place that was sacred to the Balts that was supposedly once here. These legends also mention an eternal flame and sacrifices to the goddess Milda. The effects of these stories are enhanced by old oak trees that grow in the area. In 1962, a story told by a resident of Veiviržėnai, Ona Vernickaitė, who spoke in the Žemaičių (Samogitian) dialect, was recorded: The Swedes filled in the hill when they came here. The next time, when the child of the Swede brought the sand to our people here inside his glove, he got into an argument with his father, who told him: ‘Child, the time will come when we will be cursed by these people’. He was right. The Swede then went to Sweden via Germany.

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