THE EARLY LATENE HILLFORT IN HORNE ORESANY, WEST SLOWAKIA. PRELIMINARY REPORT
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This study is a preliminary report about the fortified settlement on the hill Slepy vrch (544 m) in the Little Carpathian Mountains. The double rampart ring of the hill fort with an area of 2 ha was discovered by treasure hunters with metal detectors and greatly damaged by illegal excavations. However, an important part of their finds could be reclaimed for the research purposes. On the site a surface prospection and sounding were carried out, by which a large collection of pottery and more than 1450 metal artefacts were retrieved. Except of a few pieces with the Hallstatt and Middle Latene dates the great majority of the finds belongs to the Early Latene Period (LTA), i.e. to its older and younger phases equally. These two horizons were also documented stratigraphically. From the interior area of the hillfort we have amble evidence of blacksmith activities and jewellery production such as pieces of raw stock, semiproducts and a large amount of blacksmiths' and jewellers' tools. They come from craftmens' workshops, which were concentrated on terraces placed along the ramparts. Among the ornaments found are also 11 animal- and human-headed brooches, 10 bird-headed brooches and some dozens of box-shaped belt hooks. Iron processing was probably connected with the ancient mining of iron ore, of which there was evidence on the hill slope. Within and also outside the ramparts at least 3 hoards of iron artefacts and two deposits of bronze ornaments were found. Weapons were also found frequently. According to reliable information at least 8 swords and 60-80 spearheads were found here in the past. An explanation for the deposits and for the large amount of weapons will be the subject of forthcoming research. The finds of Horne Oresany and of the sites nearby have proved, that western Slovakia around of the Little Carpathian Mountains was an important region on the eastern fringes of Celtic settlement in its oldest expansion phase, within the second half of the 5. century BC.
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