Lost Medieval village discovered by LiDAR

Archaeologists managed to locate the lost village of Goschwitz, near Strzelin, South-West Poland, with use of freely available airborne LiDAR data. The Medieval village dates back to the 13th century and existed only for a couple decades.

Visualisation of LiDAR date and the remains of the village (by Maria Legut-Pintal)

Until the recent discovery the scientist knew only that the village of Goschwitz was established in the end of the 13th century by Duke Bolko I the Strict, who started to exploit the forests around Strzelin. From historic documents it is known that the villagers paid taxes until the middle 14th century, when all information about the village end, indicating it lasted for one or two generations. Later its area was covered with forest. The discovery, made with use of non-invasive technique of LiDAR data analysis finally revealed the location of Goschwitz, ending its search that lasted since the times before World War 2. The digital data allowed also for reconstruction of the layout of this Medieval village. The central area consisted of a rectangular space with farms on the North and South side. The central square contained no buildings. Each farm however consisted of buildings such as a house, barn, and contained vegetable gardens. Behind the buildings the fields were located. There were around 20 farms located in the village. Archaeologists managed to retrace the outline of the field system, revealing long, narrow fields that stretched around the village. Judging from the non invasive data, it is also known which measure was used during establishing of Goschwitz – the basic measurement was a cable (sznur) being around 45 metres long. The village is 225 metres wide and 405 metres long. According to the researchers this is the first time when a Medieval village has been discovered in Poland. What makes this site more interesting is that it functioned only for a couple of decades and is now sort of a time capsule from the Middle Ages. In Autumn archaeologists will continue their investigation with use of non-invasive techniques by conducting magnetic measurements over the site.

Present view at the remains of the Goschwitz village (by Maria Legut-Pintal)

(after Nauka w Polsce & Maria Legut-Pintal)

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