In 1933, as a result of irrigation and drainage work, the water level of Lake Biskupinskie fell so much that it revealed fragments of the fortifications of an ancient settlement, which jutted out of the water. Local residents started discovering various historical objects, although they did not initially realise their archaeological value.
The archaeological field survey commenced in 1934 continued without any interruptions until the outbreak of WWII.
The settlement discovered in Biskupin is related to the Lusatian culture, which endured from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age. Based on the analysis of the structural elements found in the settlement, researchers ascertained that it was most likely established in the winter of 738 B.C., on an island located on Lake Biskupinskie, which is now a peninsula.
According to the research results, the settlement in Biskupin was occupied for 150 years. It included 106 houses, located in rows, along 11 roads, the surfaces of which were padded with timber, and its total populace was roughly 800, up to 1,000 people.
The fortified town in Biskupin was reconstructed faithfully, which has made it an ideal location for shooting historical films.
Jerzy Hoffman is particularly fond of the site, and he and his film crew have come to Biskupin twice.
During their first visit, they shot the blockbuster “Ogniem i mieczem/With Fire and Sword”, and the famous archaeological open-air museum Biskupin became the Zaporozhian Sich, in other words “the heart” of the Cossacks polity.
The film featured a whole galaxy of the finest Polish and Ukrainian actors, and “Dumka na dwa serca”, a song from the film performed by Mietek Szcześniak and Edyta Górniak, became a great hit. The film featured performances by the following actors: Michał Żebrowski as Skrzetuski; Izabella Scorupco, known for her role in “GoldenEye”, as Helena; Wiktor Zborowski as Longinus Podbipięta; Zbigniew Zamachowski as Michał Wołodyjowski; Aleksandr Domogarov as Bohun; and Bohdan Stupka as Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Naturally, the film would be incomplete without Daniel Olbrychski, who played Tugai Bey, a chief of the Crimean Tatars. In previous films directed by Jerzy Hoffman, he gave his most memorable performances, as Kmicic in “The Deluge”, and as Azja in “Colonel Wolodyjowski”.
The film was shot from 6th October, 1997, to 28th June 1998.
The second time Biskupin was featured in a film by Hoffman was “Stara baśń. Kiedy słońce było bogiem/An Ancient Tale: When the Sun Was a God”. The Lusatian settlement was portrayed beautifully in the scene taking place at the cottage of Wisza, the surroundings of which were the breathtaking green forest in the film.
The settlement in Biskupin is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Pałuki, visited by thousands of tourists from many corners of the world, attracted by the archaeological find from 2,500 years ago.