The functional analysis of the 15th century fortification of the Grodno castle

Radosław Biel



The aim of the article is to discuss the potential purpose, and then a functional analysis of the structure, the stone relics of which were discovered during the archaeological research conducted in 2018 and 2019, on the zwinger of the Grodno castle, located in Zagórze Śląskie. The chronology of the structure, based on the analysis of the accompanying artefacts, was established in the first half of the 15th century, linking its destruction with the Hussite wars that were going on at that time. The analysis of the iconographic material and the results of research carried out on similar sites in Silesia, the Czech Republic and Moravia allowed for a hypothesis that the structure in question was a relic of a so called parkan – the oldest, previously unknown line of additional fortifications. Such wooden or stone-and-wooden objects would be the first response to the firearms spreading at that time. The theoretical model of the effectiveness of this type of fortification is considered, taking into account a number of basic factors, such as the terrain, the possibilities of armaments at that time, and the location of attackers and defenders. Various scenarios are discussed, taking into consideration the results of practical and theoretical experiments related to the use of early modern firearms and artillery published in the literature on the subject. The results of the conducted analyses seem to confirm both the proposed function of the structure and a number of benefits of its construction.

Full article view is only available on bigger screens.