Strazde Hillfort

Strazde Hillfort is located in Strazde Parish, about 1.7 km from the Riga–Ventspils highway, on the right hand side of the road to Kaķīši, which joins the highway at Strazde Lutheran Church. Strazde Hillfort is mentioned in the scientific literature as early as 1869, when it was described by the researcher of the hillforts of Kurzeme, August Bielenstein. The hillfort was established on an isolated hill, about 20 m high. The plateau is elongated, measuring about 50´35 m, higher in the north-eastern part, which is additionally protected by a 2 m-high bank and a ditch. Although the hillfort plateau was under the plough until the First World War, a distinct cultural layer with fine charcoal can still be observed. In 1987, the plateau and the north-western slope were damaged in the course of forest-cutting, and this area now has a thick growth of shoots from the tree-stumps, so that the archaeological features are poorly discernible. Although excavation has never been carried out here, the hillfort is thought to have been inhabited in the Late Iron Age.

60 m south of Strazde Hillfort is Strazdes Baznīckalns (‘Church Hill’) – a cult site. This is an elongated hill about 4 m high, measuring about 20×40 m, both ends of which have been removed in the course of gravel extraction. In 1937, when the summit of the hill was excavated under the direction of archaeologist Eduards Šturms, ten 11th–14th century timber-lined offering pits were discovered, 0.9–1.75 m deep. These held the remains of several fires, with fragments of burnt bone: horse, cattle, pig, sheep, dog, as well as human bone, and a few small fragments of bronze ornaments and pot-sherds. It has been suggested that this was a shrine for a village or district, where each family had its own offering pit. Although Strazde falls within the area where the Late Iron Age culture still retained many Finnic characteristics, the excavation on Baznīckalns indicates that, at least in the 12th–13th century, this district was predominantly inhabited by Couronians.

Attached images

Strazdes pagasts, Talsu novads
57°8'13.15"N 22°47'54.049"E / 57.136986 22.798347

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