Europe Prehistoric


Preserved by rising waters inundating the site, Iron Age Biskupin was exposed when the water level dropped.  A local teacher notified archaeologists who began excavating the following year.  Outlines of structures were gradually emerging and photos from an observation balloon revealed the plan of the settlement.

Biskupin settlement

Dwellings, workshops, stables and storerooms ran in parallel rows with common walls, each unit about 26’x30′ with a central hearth of stone.

Several hundred people may have lived very close together with eleven log streets separating the houses and another road surrounding the inhabited area.  A rampart of wooden cribs filled with earth and stone encircled the area which may have been about 525’x660′.  

Biskupin art and pottery

Through dendrochronology we know Biskupin dates from around 747-722BCE as more than half the wood was cut in the winter of 738-737 BCE.  First the streets and houses were laid out, then the houses were built and the timber cribs for the ramparts were constructed.

Biskupin weapons and jewelry

A single gate gave access to fields and pastures where the inhabitants cultivated wheat, millet and tended herds of livestock.  They made iron and bronze tools, pottery and they wove woolen cloth.