Polish archaeologists find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

February 27, 2024

Archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic methods have uncovered crucial details about Żagań-Lutnia5, an archaeological site in southwestern Poland. This site, initially discovered in the 1960s near Żagań, has long puzzled experts regarding its purpose and age.

Polish archaeologists find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age strongholdArchaeologists in Poland determined the purpose of a 2,400-year-old settlement decades after it was discovered. Credit: Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River, the study reveals that the monument served as a defensive settlement during the Iron Age. Two sets of magnetic anomalies detected in the ground signify remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications, confirming its defensive nature.

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The hillfort, dating back to the Hallstatt period of the Iron Age (approximately 1200 BCE to 450 BCE), is associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture. This culture, known for cremating and burying its deceased in urns, was prevalent in the region during that era.

Excavations at the site have uncovered four cultural layers, including remains of huts, hearths, and a burnt layer suggesting a period of conflict. Dr. Michalak notes that previous excavations in 1990, albeit limited, provided valuable insights into the site’s history. However, further research is needed to fully understand the structure of the rampart and conduct chronological studies.

Polish archaeologists find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age strongholdResearchers used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and magnetic methods to identify the underground defensive ruins. Credit: Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

The Żagań-Lutnia5 site’s inclusion in the catalog of verified Early Iron Age strongholds in the Lubusz Voivodeship underscores its archaeological significance. Despite challenges such as the presence of a sewage collector built in the 1990s limiting research in certain areas, ongoing efforts aim to unravel more mysteries surrounding this ancient settlement.

Dr. Michalak, reflecting on the importance of the recent findings, emphasizes the need to compile materials from previous research efforts. Securing external funding for excavation research remains a priority.