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Šķerstēni Hill Fort Church Hill (Šķērstēnu pilskalna Baznīckalns)

Other references to the location
About 0.5 km W from Rubeņi and Dzeņi
lat=56.8816666667, lon=25.2230555556
56° 52' 54" N, 25° 13' 23" E

The Šķērstēni Baznīckalns Hill is situated about 20 m NW from Šķērstēni Hill Fort behind a small belt. The hill is a longish and 302 Found


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rounded (20 m x 17 m) elevation. It has an outstandingly picturesque location on the brink of a wide valley. The hill is marked by thinly growing birch and pine trees. Towards the plateau, i.e., towards N, the hill is 2 – 3 m high, towards the valley, i.e., to S, it is much higher. On the latter side there are several and overgrown gravel holes, not used any more and overgrown. In the central part of Baznīckalns there are two overgrown holes which might be the result of more recent excavations by seekers of tangible treasures. There are also the traces of partly filled sites of earlier excavations. The soil is hard and clayey. The location of Baznīckalns next to a hillfort is to be considered a typical location of cult hills in Latvia. Baznīckalns is connnected with fragmented pieces of folklore on its earlier sacred significance. Šķērstēni Hill Fort already in earlier times was to a large extent ploughed and its dating, and possibly the dating of the corresponding church hill, is not known.


The hill fort lies near a kilometre from the former Šķerstēni half-manor – towards SW where there is a slightly oval hill, 20 x 17 m, 3 m high, overgrown with deciduous trees. It lies 60 m NW from the foot of the hill fort, about a couple of hundred metres from Rīga-Madona highway and is called “the Church Hill”. This is one of the most beautiful “Church Hills” P – a true decoration on the dull brink of the elevation. The hummock is so neat that it would be unbelievable if it turned out to be a purely natural formation. The hummock consists of clayey hard sand soil. Several holes have been dug here by inquisitive people, one is still fresh. A pupil coming from Šķerstēni manor remembered his grandfather having told him that at the Church Hill, when ploughing, it is possible to see the place of a cobbled road. The old Zemgaļi homestead (heighbouring house) owner told that it was said that in the Church Hill in ancient pagan times the divine services had been held here. (Report by P. Stepiņš, 31 August, 1942. Stored in the archives of the Archaeology Department of the National history Museum of Latvia)

From the road the walk must proceed across fields
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The Šķērstēni Hill Fort and Baznīckalns Hill (Church Hill) can be accessed across the pasture from the side of Ērgļi highway at which there are no signs about the monuments. The closest to the monuments is a newly built house at the very highway, however the road to the house is blocked with a fence and gate, the house does not seem to be permanently populated. Next to the Baznīckalns Hill and the hillfort there are several newly made property markers. The Baznīckalns Hill is not visible from the highway; it is covered by tree clusters.

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