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Rudamina Mound with Settlement

Rudamina Mound with Settlement

It is one of the most famous monuments of Jotvingiai tribe that once lived in Užnemunė. The mound covers 22,83 ha area. It was heaped on the shore of a former lake, on the top of isolated, high and massive hill. The hill base covers 2 ha, and its absolute height is as much as 195 m above the sea level. The hill is surrounded by wetlands and swamps.

According to T. Narbutas and J. Basanavičius, in Rudamina, on site of Jotviangian castles, the duke Ringaudas in 1240 built his own castle where in 1251 Mindaugas was coronated as the king. Crusaders destroyed this castle in 1381, by using a new weapon for their assault for the first time: these were gunpowder-driven bombards. In addition, J. Basanavičius related Rudamina Mound with another castle – Naujapilis, referred to in Chronica Nova Prutenica by Wigand of Marburg.

The mound was heaped in a safe location well protected by natural obstacles. The external rampart side of 5 – 8 m height mingles with the hill slope, therefore the Mound seems especially high, and with steep slopes. The field is also separated from the rampart by a ditch of about 20 m width and 3 m depth. Northern part of rampart was removed to equip the access, Expedition headed by R. Kulikauskienė and P. Kulikauskas researched the area of 220 m2 on the mound. They found a cultural layer with fragments of wheel-thrown and moulded pottery, animal bones and other finds. There were also traces of former fireplaces, and charred grain remains at them. The excavated blanks and metallurgic tools indicate that ironware was not only used here but produced as well. The arrowheads found in the hill witness the crusader attacks.

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