In the context of moderate external variations of East Lithuanian Barrow culture barrows, ones of exceptional diameters and shapes stand out. These are low trapezoid-shaped cross-section mounds, and some are even more complex structures consisting of banks and ditches. Eleven large barrows are known in six cemeteries, all located in extensive cemetery concentrations, along the right bank of the River Neris, and on the left bank of the River Žeimena and in the lakes region to the north of it. This location suggests their significance on a level above a single community. None have yet been excavated, but the stone kerbs, the setting of the barrows in the cemeteries, and the typological and AMS radiocarbon dates from the excavated nearby mounds point to the Migration period, the 5th century being their most probable dating. The amount of labour invested in building large barrows is evidence of mourners’ exclusive mortuary behaviour. In agreement with the concept of energy expenditure in burial, this signals the idiosyncratic status of the deceased. Excavation data from other cemeteries does, however, disprove the idea that we should implicitly restrict great energy expenditure to the highest military elite. The dual model of social hierarchy in social psychology argues that status may be attained through either dominance or prestige. Dominance-based status is expected to force high involvement in burial by power and superiority, which is possible in societies with developed status inheritance, while a prestige-based one is decided by specific social roles, personal achievement, and respect. In a barbarian society, which balanced between chiefdom and big-man type social systems, both were interrelated.
The article is devoted to Schönwarling/Skowarcz and Dollkeim/Kovrovo-type crossbow fibulae with a long narrow foot and a full catch-plate, one of the most characteristic chronotypes of the Migration Period. The authors describe a number of specific construction features of the fibulae in the Sambian-Natangian culture area, which define their typological placement. Based on the results of a comparative analysis of prewar and modern archaeological sources, the authors propose an up-to-date specified chronology of these types. Contrary to the currently popular hypothesis, the analysed archaeological material in the Sambian-Natangian area does not demonstrate co-existence, but instead the smooth replacement of Schönwarling/Skowarcz fibulae by those of the Dollkeim/Kovrovo type in the transition phase D2/D3, i.e. about 430 AD.
The article presents the results of investigations at Kvietiniai archaeological site. Large-scale excavations carried out as part of the implementation of an infrastructure development project have provided very important new data on prehistoric settlement in western Lithuania. The excavations revealed a multi-period archaeological site that contains traces of activity spanning from the Mesolithic to the Early Iron Age. Significant data have been obtained on Bronze Age pottery which is almost unknown to date. The Bronze Age is represented at Kvietiniai by a number of previously unknown or undescribed pottery types. The typology of this pottery is still somewhat problematic, due to the small quantity of it and the lack of similar finds from other sites, as well as the absence of material suitable for secure dating. We managed to define in detail and date one of them: the most abundantly found Kvietiniai-Tojāti Ware, dated to ca 1300–1100 cal BC. In addition, excavations at Kvietiniai have provided important data on the beginnings of agriculture. The earliest cereal grains in the east Baltic to date, i.e. barley, dated to ca 1400–1200 cal BC, were found here. The low amount of cereals and other data indicate just the beginning of agriculture rather than its developed stage. Meaningful data were also collected from discovered graves from the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Traces of rituals previously unnoticed anywhere in this culture, such as putting into graves pottery sherds left by the site’s earlier inhabitants, were found at Kvietiniai as well.
This paper presents new bioarchaeological data obtained during the re-analysis of human skeletal materials from the Early–Middle Neolithic Kretuonas 1 graves, excavated in 1980. The re-analysis of 6 inhumation burials revealed the earliest-known cases from Lithuanian archaeological material to show signs of perimortem cut-marks left on human bones. An evaluation of the first cases of perimortem human bone cut-marks in the broader European archaeological context allowed us to argue that different burial practices existed in Early–Middle Neolithic communities in the present territory of Lithuania. What is more, we argue that different people received different mortuary practices, and that their cadavers were handled in distinct ways.
The chemical composition of iron construction elements is not usually a topic of interest in Medieval archaeology. This article focuses attention on the chemical composition of iron elements such as nails. For compositional analysis, the XRF method was used. A comparison was made between XRF results and physical measurements. The aim of this article was to identify the amount of iron in metal elements that were possibly used in constructing castles, and to find a connection between the chemical composition of objects and their physical measurements.
This article discusses the development of the Gołdap Group, which is part of Sudovian culture, during the Migration Period. The graves from necropolises of that region (especially from the cemetery at Czerwony Dwór) have quite rich grave goods, which allows for a detailed chronological analysis. It is complemented by an analysis of the stratigraphy of features dug into the barrows. On this basis, five chronological phases in the development of the Gołdap Group, which existed from the early Phase D of the Early Migration Period until Phase E2 of the Late Migration Period, can be distinguished.
The article examines the results of the 2012 and 2013 archaeological excavations of Skrundas Krievu kalns hill-fort, situated in western Latvia. Krievu kalns was listed as a site in the 1920s, but it was not regarded as a hill-fort. During a site inspection, striated pottery was discovered, and this indicated that it might be numbered as a Late Bronze Age and Pre-Roman Iron Age habitation. Excavations revealed the site to be a hill-fort that was fortified in the 11th to the ninth century BC with a palisade made of vertical timbers. In the eighth to the fifth century BC, the defences were moved outwards, thus enlarging the living area. There was possibly even later a third fence. Krievu kalns may be classed as a Late Bronze Age hill-fort with striated pottery, reflecting the characteristic Bronze Age cultural traditions of western Latvia.
A hoe is a hand tool which appeared in Lithuania in post-glacial times together with the first population. Later, in the Mesolithic, the hoe became a universal tool used for versatile foraging purposes. Only antler hoes are known from these periods. The same function of hoes continued into the Neolithic/Bronze Age, with the only difference that their shapes changed, adapting to new work related to the cultivation of the first crops. In the Neolithic, stone and wooden hoes appeared along with antler hoes. In the Bronze Age, the function of hoes remained the same as in earlier times, but their wider use was related to hoefarming. The shape of hoes was changing, especially of snake-head hoes, which could be used for various ritual ceremonies. Only in the Middle to Late Bronze Age did the Neolithisation process come to an end, with the development of slash-and-burn agriculture and the domestication of animals. The first horn ards appeared in the Late Bronze Age.