Žardė (Kuncai) Hill Fort with a settlement

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Žardupės str., Klaipėda
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Kuncai, Bandužiai, Castle Hill, Gaidžiai Hill – four different names used to refer to this single hill fort situated in the south of Klaipėda’s Žardininkai residential district near the former Žardė village that became part of the city in 1997.

The mound, that dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, is located on a hill on the right bank of the Smeltalė stream. The platform is round, 30 metres in diameter, surrounded by a 1.5 metre high, 15 metres wide mound which is best preserved on its western side. The slopes are of medium steepness and range in height from 3 to 8 metres. The hill fort has been damaged by ditches and pits and is overgrown with broad-leaved trees and bushes. The lower parts of the slopes are uncultivated. An open road passes on the western slope.

In 1963, the Lithuanian Institute of History conducted the exploratory archaeological research at the hill fort. The settlement was investigated four times between 1990 and 2000. About 600 metres to the north is the Bandužiai burial ground dating from the 2nd to the 13th century and that was investigated in 1974 and again between 1985 and 1989. The burial ground was all but destroyed when Klaipėda was expanding to the south during the Soviet occupation. Builders found a lot of grave goods during the excavation of the foundation pits. Findings from the burial ground can be seen today at the History Museum of Lithuania Minor.

A former settlement at the foot of the hill was found to the southwest of the hill fort. A cultural layer up to 1.7 metres thick and dating from the 11th to 13th centuries was found containing remnants of wooden buildings, fireplaces, stone furnaces, iron melting furnace, brass brooches, weights for weaving machines, rivets, glass necklaces, smooth and thrown pottery and animal bones.

A Curonian Castle, Žardė, mentioned in 1253, once stood on the hill fort. It’s believed that about 500 people could have lived in the castle environment in the early Middle Ages, a considerable number for the time. After Palanga, it was the second largest trading centre on the territory of Lithuania during the early Middle Ages.

In the centre of Pilsotas, the smallest of the Curonian lands, Žardė Castle was part of a kind of group of similar structures that included the castles at Laistai and Gibišiai. The fortresses were situated in a triangle and separated from one another by a maximum of one kilometre. It’s possible to visit Laistai Hill Fort, which is located on the other side of Smiltynė, whilst Gibišiai has been completely destroyed although older people from Klaipėda have said that in the 1960s it was a hill in a nice meadow near a stream.

In recent years, ancient Baltic and other holidays have been celebrated on Žardė Hill fort.

Žardė (Kuncai) Hill Fort with a settlement

Žardupės str., Klaipėda

Kuncai, Bandužiai, Castle Hill, Gaidžiai Hill – four different names used to refer to this single hill fort situated in the south of Klaipėda’s Žardininkai residential district near the former Žardė village that became part of the city in 1997.

The mound, that dates back to the period from the 1st millennium to the 13th century, is located on a hill on the right bank of the Smeltalė stream. The platform is round, 30 metres in diameter, surrounded by a 1.5 metre high, 15 metres wide mound which is best preserved on its western side. The slopes are of medium steepness and range in height from 3 to 8 metres. The hill fort has been damaged by ditches and pits and is overgrown with broad-leaved trees and bushes. The lower parts of the slopes are uncultivated. An open road passes on the western slope.

In 1963, the Lithuanian Institute of History conducted the exploratory archaeological research at the hill fort. The settlement was investigated four times between 1990 and 2000. About 600 metres to the north is the Bandužiai burial ground dating from the 2nd to the 13th century and that was investigated in 1974 and again between 1985 and 1989. The burial ground was all but destroyed when Klaipėda was expanding to the south during the Soviet occupation. Builders found a lot of grave goods during the excavation of the foundation pits. Findings from the burial ground can be seen today at the History Museum of Lithuania Minor.

A former settlement at the foot of the hill was found to the southwest of the hill fort. A cultural layer up to 1.7 metres thick and dating from the 11th to 13th centuries was found containing remnants of wooden buildings, fireplaces, stone furnaces, iron melting furnace, brass brooches, weights for weaving machines, rivets, glass necklaces, smooth and thrown pottery and animal bones.

A Curonian Castle, Žardė, mentioned in 1253, once stood on the hill fort. It’s believed that about 500 people could have lived in the castle environment in the early Middle Ages, a considerable number for the time. After Palanga, it was the second largest trading centre on the territory of Lithuania during the early Middle Ages.

In the centre of Pilsotas, the smallest of the Curonian lands, Žardė Castle was part of a kind of group of similar structures that included the castles at Laistai and Gibišiai. The fortresses were situated in a triangle and separated from one another by a maximum of one kilometre. It’s possible to visit Laistai Hill Fort, which is located on the other side of Smiltynė, whilst Gibišiai has been completely destroyed although older people from Klaipėda have said that in the 1960s it was a hill in a nice meadow near a stream.

In recent years, ancient Baltic and other holidays have been celebrated on Žardė Hill fort.

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