History of hill fort

Molpír fort on the hill, which is situated at the eastern foot of the Small Carpathians has been inhabited since prehistoric times (the younger Stone Age). But most of the findings come from the Iron Age, which is called the “Hallstatt period,“ according to the site of Hallstatt in Upper Austria (8- 6th century. BC.). From this period, the fort also originates, which existed here around the 7th to the early 6th century BC. It is one of the most important sites of this period in Central Europe. On top of this strategically advantageous position, Molpír was deemed significant and so far the largest socio-economic center of the people East-Hallstatt culture (on a geographical interface and Kalenderberg Lusatian culture). At that time, the fort may have had an estimated 600-700 people. Findings at Molpír demonstrate that this was an important power and political center with a developed economic and cultural (religious) life.

Molpir fort also had a very advantageous strategic position. It was located at the crossroads of trade routes whose way connected trade routes linking south-eastern and northern Europe. It was built on a remote road going from the South-East Alpine area further along Lake Neusiedl, through Bratislava Gate (Castle Hill), along the eastern slopes of the Little Carpathians, and then continued north. Jablonica Pass in turn allowed the immediate connection to Pomoravie.

The fort is both interesting and large, with  a great area of 12 hectares. This is the type of highlands settlement that was built with fortifications still characterized by a defensive castle. The location has fortified ramparts and three transverses of non-fortified ramparts remain only a steep slope into the valley Hlboča. Molpír was undoubtedly one of the largest fortified settlements the Iron Age, not only in Slovakia but also throughout the Carpathian Basin. It is divided into three parts - the first and the second ward and the highest central part, which we call the “Acropolis.“ This has been reviewed almost completely. Gradually, several objects were uncovered: the strong perimeter wall with two gates and the oval tower on one of its external parts, a further 62 buildings (residential and craft activities), 7 ovens, cult place and tank. The fortification fort consisted of a stone wall two meters wide and reclaimed land with a wooden box construction, 2 m wide too, on the inside of the building close together in row homes and production facilities. The fort was bounded by outer walls, which consisted of a stone-mound of aluminum, which in some places was replaced by a stone wall. The entrance gate of the Acropolis had a width of 2 m, on both sides of the tower the size of 2 x 4 m, which originally was about 3 m. Residential buildings were of log and wheeled construction (the walls were strung wicker and were on both sides colored with clay). Some houses had stone and tiling. The first defensive wall was built entirely under the foot and extended next to the road that runs along the cemetery today. The second wall, stretching to the Molpír center, was built differently than the first. It was built of stone from inside and outside, while the broader middle part was backfilled stone and clay. Both walls were defensive. Molpír is below the top of the remains of the third wall, which forms the outer wall of its own fort, which was the seat of the elite strata of the population, as well as various workshops for the production of the necessary tools, weapons and other instruments of daily use. The groundbreaking knowledge of life and habits of the people of Molpír include the discovery of the foundations of a shrine with stone walls with three stone "Altars," which is interpreted as a sacrificial pit. Meetings were likely cult rituals associated with religious life. The cult site was originally covered. Its face, which lies towards the fort complex, was carved into the rock. The shrine was 20 m long and 6 m wide. Around the "Altar" lay sacrificial objects and also the remains of human bones.

The major disadvantage of the fort was that there was no source of water. To supply residents with water, the nearby Tomasek source was used, which is located on the steep slopes. Water was also captured at the fort with a cistern carved into bedrock, which was located in the third courtyard. The material culture of the people of Molpír was due to contact with the near and distant neighborhood but also varied. This is evidenced by the discovery of northern Italian and East Alpine imports, whether in terms of different body decorations, clothing, jewelry, weapons and weapons components. Fighters were on horseback, so it is not surprising that harnesses, bridles, were found. It is important to emphasize that the high concentration of these extraordinary findings points to the fact that Molpír was inhabited by privileged population groups of high social status. Most of the findings were from bronze or iron, but also machined from animal bones, antlers, and stone. Ornaments were made sometimes of amber and glass. This includes various components of jewelry, clothing, tools, as well as armaments, horse harnesses, bronze, pottery as well as a large number of everyday objects made of clay, such as whorls, weaving weights and cult objects, called, “idols.“

The termination of the fort is associated with a disaster, which caused its sudden end. As a result, many preserved objects of daily and home use, come down to us. Also, recovered have been a large umber of bronze arrowheads known as the “Scythian type,“ used for RIDING-nomadic groups of people from the Eastern Carpathian region. The first mention of archaeological research in Molpírom dates back to the 19th century. The first person to occupy this rare archaeological site was a local priest, Ferdinand Sándorfi, who also published its findings. In the twenties of the 20th century Molpír was explored by Stefan Jansak as well as other researchers. The first systematic research conducted fort ws by the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences from 1963-71 under the direction of Nicholas and Sigrid Dušekových. During this period, it investigavted the large surface outcrop fort and examined a substantial part of the third courtyard and a smaller part of the second ward.

Renewed archaeological research in 2008 under the leadership of S. Stegmann-Rajtarová attested to settlement from the older Iron Age (Hallstatt), the settlement in the Iron Age (Celts) and the Early Middle Ages (Slavic). The aim of verification research was therefore to identify detailed stratigraphy of the site and define different periods of settlement. Accurate documentation of settlement patterns enabled us to create a picture of the development of settlements and a large collection of finds for a  total picture of the material life of the fort inhabitants. The limited range of field work clearly confirmed the find as an important place, a unique discovery, important not only for Slovakia, but also for the whole of Central Europe. Already during the formation of the Iron Age there was the first cultural unification of the Central European region (formation of Hallstatt culture), part of which was the territory of western Slovakia. In 1965, this important archaeological site was declared a cultural monument and in 1990 and a national cultural monument.