On the excursion the bus will bring you to the foot of the Knežak hill. From there, a gently sloping forest road will take you to the Knežak hillfort and back through the heart of prehistoric landscape. The walk is 100 meters uphill and 2.5 km in total. No special hiking equipment is needed in dry weather, but some form of sportswear is recommended. Hiking boots are highly recommended if weather is wet.

The Knežak hillfort witnessed the peak in habitation, construction and fortification activities during the Iron Age, between the 9th/8th century BC and the arrival of the Romans in the last decades of the 1st century BC. These long centuries of the Iron Age surely bring up numerous questions as to the settlement dynamics, relationships between the hillforts, their hierarchy, evolution, use and function, as well as the development of the wider hillfort landscape.

The preliminary analysis of 96 km2 of lidar data revealed more than 2000 archaeological features. We understand most of them as Iron and Roman Age remains of intensive agricultural use of the landscape. In addition, elements like linear earthwork boundaries in total length of almost 10 km and detail plans of hillforts reflect elements of social structure in the landscape.

Figure 1. Location of the study area.

Figure 2. Gradišče above Knežak hillfort (a), linear earthwork boundaries (b – e), Obroba hillfort (f), Gradišče at Čepna hillfort (g) and Šembije intermittent lake (h). Cairn excavated in 1950s and the adjacent location of the 2016 excavation (i). Advanced image fusion visualization, 0.5m DEM.

Figure 3. The Gradišče above Knežak hillfort: outer ramparts (a), inner ramparts (b), annex (c) and open square spaces (d – f). Advanced image fusion visualization, 0.5m DEM.

Figure 4. The Gradišče above Knežak hillfort territory: cairnfields (a – e), linear earthworks – possibly terracing (f), field system (g), large enclosure (h), rectangular enclosures (i), hollow ways (j – m) and funnelled way (n).