We have little information about the priest and collector Konstantinas Kuprys-Kuprevičius (1874–1947) and his mysterious collection. He became known in cultural circles only when the State Archaeological Commission and the media mentioned him in 1935, because he acquired the archaeological collection of Fr Juozapas Žiogas (1868–1935) under unclear circumstances.* Before his death, Fr Žiogas left his collection in his will to Kaunas’ Vytautas the Great Museum of Culture. On 27 December 1935, Fr Kuprys-Kuprevičius showed his acquired collection of antiquities, along with his own pieces, in an exhibition at St Anthony’s Missionary College. After that, and until the death of Fr Kuprys-Kuprevičius, Lithuanian archaeologists and museum staff unsuccessfully attempted to take over or to repurchase the Žiogas collection. It is therefore not surprising that there was a negative opinion about Fr Kuprys-Kuprevičius in Lithuanian archaeological historiography. This article will try to illuminate the story of his life, his philanthropic activities, his passionate love of antiquities and archaeological artefacts, and his collection, which is sometimes referred to as his ‘museum’. However, due to a lack of archive data, and the mysterious disappearance of the Žiogas collection, some questions still remain.
Volume 11 (2009): The Horse and Man in European Antiquity (Worldview, Burial Rites, and Military and Everyday Life), pp. 149–163
In the fifth to the eighth centuries, graves of well-armed men and their riding horses –or the ritual parts of horses– were spread throughout almost the entire mainland part of Lithuania and Latvia, or in the territory between the Nemunas and Daugava / Western Dvina Rivers. This was the northernmost part of Europe in which the custom had spread in the fifth to the eighth centuries. While the horsemen’s and horses’ burial customs varied in separate regions of the defined area, still everywhere the horseman and horse were interred in one grave pit, with the horse almost always to the person’s left. In their journey to the Afterlife, however, the bond between horseman and horse began to vary in the communities that lived in the more peripheral regions. The variety of burial customs was associated with differences in the communities’ social structure; these differences affected interment traditions and formed different burial rites. The custom that existed in the Roman Period on the littorals of Lithuania and Latvia to bury ritual horse parts (the head or head and legs) and spurs with armed men disappeared; here only bridle bits symbolized the horse in armed men’s graves in the fifth to the eighth centuries. Warriors’ graves with equestrian equipment spread throughout the entire region between the Nemunas and Daugava in the fifth to eighth centuries. With the change in burial customs (with the spread of cremation), and, apparently, in worldview, riding horse burials appeared that no longer could be associated with the concrete burials of people.
Volume 8 (2007): Weapons, Weaponry and Man (In memoriam Vytautas Kazakevičius), pp. 95–116
Three vast areas in northern Europe during the Roman Period are known for their people’s development of a distinctive viewpoint regarding the riding horse that was reflected in sacrificial rites (north Germany; the Jutland Peninsula; Zealand, Funen, other Baltic Sea islands, as well as southern Scandinavia) and burial rites (Dollkeim-Kovrovo, Sudovian, West Lithuanian Stone Circle Grave cultures, and, in part, the Lower Nemunas and Bogaczewo cultures). The custom at the end of the second century and in the third century to bury a riding horse (usually only the horse’s head, head and legs, or individual teeth) with armed men was especially distinct in the West Lithuanian Stone Circle Grave Culture area. This burial rite feature distinguishes the mentioned cultural unit (Aistians) area from the communities of other Balts who lived in current Lithuanian territory. The burial rite features that had developed in the West Lithuanian Stone Circle Grave Culture area illustrate the warriors’ hierarchy and the military’s dependency on the society’s nobility that already existed in the Roman Period. These social structure features link the West Balt communities with the northern Germanic peoples. West Lithuanian Stone Circle Grave Culture was the northernmost barbaricum territory in which riding horses were so often buried with people.