The Viking hill fort in the village of Maskovichi

Maskovichi

Archaeological objects

Those who studied history well at school surely remember about the well-known route “fr om the Varangians to the Greeks”, to which was paid great attention by teachers. The most part of the route went across the territory of Belarus. Now a route resembling the popular one is created for the tourists who take interest in it, which embraces the Western Dvina border and includes the visit to the Viking hill fort in the village of Maskovichi in Vitebsk region. The Viking hill fort in the village of Maskovichi has been one of the most interesting cultural places to the present time, which is surely of great interest not only to those people who are keen on terrible red-bearded wanderers.

The site of the Vikings is located in a picturesque place of Braslav land near Lake Nespish, that means in translation from the Old Slavonic language – “wakefullness”. The hill fort has dated since the bound of A.D. It is known for sure, that a fortress stood in its beauty there in the XI century. It was erected by Polotsk residents and washed with lakes, the residents of which were craftsmen and traders. The outpost disappeared in the XIV century. And the village was founded at the hill fort in the XVII century. Nowadays only a very tall hill can be seen on the place of the hill fort, wh ere you shouldn’t be lazy to climb up so that to enjoy the endless vast spaces of Braslav land. The hill originated in ice age and it is about 15 000 years. The hill is not created artificially, as it may seem at first sight. The locals call this hill as before “the castle”.

Large-scale excavations were held on the site of the hill fort in 70-80’s of the past century, Belarusian archeologist Lyudmila Duchits took an active part in it. The result of these excavations is really impressive. A lot of objects, dated to the XI-XII centuries and being in a daily use not only among the Slavs and the Balts, but also among the Scandinavians, were found. Thus the early archeologists’ suppositions were entirely proven: Belarus was in close cultural and trade connections with Scandinavia in ancient times.

So what exactly did the archeologists find on the site of the Viking hill fort in the village of Maskovichi? Mainly, those were the remained bones of birds and animals, adorned with pictures and runes. Runes are the alphabet signs of the ancient Scandinavians, which were used for writing and possessed magic meaning. They were drawn on bones. The definition of the majority of them is still unguessed. These findings are quite specific: it had been necessary to evaporate bones for a long time before a picture was painted on them by a sharp object. That is a long and laborious work, but it’s worth it: bones with the runes still make a strong impression. The rarest for East European countries fibula is listed among the findings, which shows visually close Belarusian-Scandinavian ties. Archeologists have found original women’s decorations of bones, glass and bronze, which give evidence of the developed culture of the people living there. 

The Viking hill fort in the village of Maskovichi is a picturesque and beautiful place, which you should visit along the eventful trip to the Braslav land.

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