Archaeologists have uncovered a large cluster of fortified settlements in the voivodship's

A large cluster of previously unknown fortified settlements was discovered by a team of archaeologists between the Biebrza and Supra¶l rivers in woj. podlaskie. Scientists counted a total of more than a dozen unknown structures probably erected in the early Middle Ages.

– The scale of the discovery is unprecedented for the lands of ponortheastern Poland. We are surprised by the results of our research," Cezary Sobczak of the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, head of the project, told PAPorego made findings.

Archaeologist's amazementow is all the more important because the interriver of the Biebrza and Supra¶l rivers has already been archaeologicallyow recognized during the Archaeological Picture of Poland (AZP) campaign, whichora is to search for the pol monumentsoin and locating thusob new archaeological sites.

Several newly discovered strongholds have two or even three rings of embankments. The others have only one line of fortifications. Most of the structures are circular in plan. RoThe differences in the construction of the grodow could have been due to the different functions they performed or the period in which theorym was created. Archaeologists assume that all the structures date from the time of theoin the 9th to 13th centuries.

Archaeologists were helped this time by advanced technology in the discovery. They used airborne laser scanning (ALS), whichore makes it possible to examine terrain forms even under the cover of a forest or meadow. In recent years, archaeologists in Poland have successfully used this tool in the search for unknown sites associated with ancient human activities. Most often they find barrows, ramparts, fortified settlements.

– So far, we know of 10 fortified settlements in the area dating back to ca. thousand years. In just a few days, as a result of analyzing laser imaging on the computer screen, we were able to track down a dozen sites thatoThey could have belonged to some Wareg faction, which is a potential stronghold," Sobczak says.

It is not ruled out that more early medieval fortifications will be discovered in the near future, as not all of the area ktory scientist is interested inow was covered by laser scanning.

In autumn, the researchers will set out to verify their findings so far. The obtained results will be included in the electronic catalog of groddas being created by the State Archeological Museum in Warsawoin, whichory can be found at www.fortified

PoThe northern part of Podlasie, now covered by the Knyszyn Primeval Forest, is for archaeologistoin an area still very enigmatic when it comes to the early Middle Ages. The area was probably abandoned in the 13th-14th centuries., During the numerous battles between the Teutonic Knights, Poland, Russia and Lithuania.

– The mystery for us is who erected theoSlavs lived in newly discovered settlements. For this is an area of the Polish-Ruthenian-Yakutian borderland. It was long thought that it was not so intensively settled, the researcher adds.

On the ponorth of the groddoThe name Jaćwież stretched – this is the name scientists use to describe the farthest eastern part of the regionod advanced tribal territory of early medieval Prussiaow. Its lands were partly located within the boundaries of wspomodern Poland, in the Suwałki region and around Augustow. From other sites, poNorthern Podlasie was surrounded by Slavic lands.

– It seems to us that the newly discovered strongholds in the 9th-11th centuries. may have belonged to some faction of the Waregow, or eastern Vikingsow. Who were the poLater (XII-XIII century.) inhabitants between the Biebrza and Supra¶l rivers – we do not know – explains Sobczak.

Warsaw archaeologists made the discovery as part of research conducted during a project funded by a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (Program „Protection of monumentsoin archaeology) and from the budget of the provincialoof the mazowieckie voivodeship.