Mežotne Site

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Mežotne Site

 

the remains of a fortified settlement of the ninth to the 13th century on the left bank of the Lielupe River in Bauska Raion, Latvian SSR. A suburb and burial grounds of the same period are located nearby. Mežotne is mentioned in written sources of the 12th and 13th centuries as the economic and administrative center of the Zemgalians. Stubborn fighting against the Crusaders occurred here in 1219-20. The settlement was protected by two earthen banks and by ditches.

Archaeological excavations were conducted (with interruptions) from 1938 to 1970. Traces of ten fires were discovered. In the ninth-century level, a treasure of ornaments and the scorched remains of two of the fortress’ defenders were discovered beneath the fortifications; weapons were found alongside the remains. Traces of timber-frame dwellings with pise ovens were unearthed, well as the remains of flour mills, outbuildings, and jewelers’ workshops. Numerous items attesting to the development of land cultivation, stock raising, handicraft production, and trade were also found.

REFERENCES

Atgazis, M. “Arkheologicheskie issledovaniia v Mezhotne.” In the collection Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 1969 goda. Moscow, 1970.
Brivkalne, E. “RakstÍtās ziņas un arheologiskās liecÍbas par 9.—13. gs. Mežōtni.” Arheologija un etnografija, 1960, no. 2.