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.
Volume 20 (2013): Frontier Societies and Environmental Change in Northeast Europe, pp. 117–133
In the excavated Padure (Beltes) hill-fort in Latvia, cultural layers from the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age (Stage 1), and the middle Iron Age and the Late Iron Age (Stage 2), were detected, which, besides the archaeological material typical of that period, provided abundant zooarchaeological material. This article presents the investigation data from the zooarchaeological material of both stages: the data relate to the butchering techniques used, and the identification of the composition of the faunal species. The investigation was carried out in the bioarchaeological laboratory of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology at Klaipėda University. As is proven by the investigation, the ratio of domestic animals to hunted wildlife in the two periods compared is not identical. In the second period of habitation of the hill-fort, the number of cattle and sheep/goats decreased, while the number of swine and especially of horses increased. The article also deals with characteristics of butchering techniques of domestic animals and wildlife in both periods of the habitation of the hill-fort, and changes identified in the meat processing. In the second period, the level of processing resulted in greater amounts of meat suitable for food, due to the technical properties of the raw material and the nutritional and commodity value.
Volume 20 (2013): Frontier Societies and Environmental Change in Northeast Europe, pp. 59–76
This paper focuses on a number of examples of cut marks on animal bones from a range of sites associated with the cultural transformations in the eastern Baltic following the Crusades in the 13th century. Recorded observational and interpretational characteristics are quantified and explained through more detailed selected case studies. The study represents a pilot project, the foundation for a more detailed and systematic survey of a larger dataset within the framework of the ecology of Crusading project. Relatively clear differences between sites are observable on the basis of the cut marks; however, the initial trends do not suggest a straightforward connection between butchery technology and colonisation in the east Baltic region.
Built in 1252 by the Livonian Order and later passed over to the Teutonic Order, the Klaipėda castle (German – Memelburg) was the northernmost castle of the Order in Prussia. For both geographical and political reasons, it was separated from the hinterlands of the Order’s state, making its survival strategy here specific. This article analyses the zooarchaeological material found during the 1997-1999 archaeological excavations and dated to the 14th-17th centuries. The analysis of the historical data and zooarchaeological material showed that in the 14th-17th centuries, the inhabitants of the Klaipėda castle (the Order’s brothers, their servants, the outwork’s artisans, and the townspeople who hid in the outwork) reared and slaughtered domesticated animals, hunted large game and consumed its meat, processed cheese, ground grain, drank mead and ale. The bulk of the meat consisted of beef, mutton, and pork, as well as goats’ meat starting 1434. An examination of the species and number of bones of domestic and wild animals in Klaipėda’s castle shows that in all of the Klaipėda castle time periods analysed, differences were found between the historical source information and the zooarchaeological collection. Domestic animal bones dominated in the latter, especially that of ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats); pigs comprised the second group according to quantity. The growing quantity of small ruminants (sheep, goats) starting 1434 also is reflected in the zooarchaeological material; from the 16th to 17th centuries, the number of bones of these animals doubled. The amount of riding horses markedly grows in the inventory books starting the middle of the 15th century, and this also is confirmed by zooarchaeological material. When comparing the results of the zooarchaeological material’s analysis with the known 14th-16th century inventories of Klaipėda’s castle in which there are data regarding the domestic animals (cattle, sheep/ goats, horses, pigs) reared for the castle’s needs and the food eaten by the castle’s inhabitants, changes are observed in the faunal species and amounts of the zooarchaeological material that post-date 1521, when 31.25% consists of pig (Sus suis) bones, while the number of species and bone counts of large wild animals (aurochs/ European bison, elk, red deer) and fur-bearing animals (beaver, bear) grows significantly (from 5.5% to 22.92%). Various kinds of fish caught in the sea near Klaipėda and in the Curonian Lagoon held an important place in the diet of the castle’s garrison. Fowl comprised only a small part of the food.
Analysis of the osteological and archaeological material discovered at the Early Bronze Age settlement of Kretuonas 1C suggests that the settlement’s hunted game and reared animals were slaughtered within the settlement, not far from the dwellings. We analyse the butchering technology of the Early Bronze Age based on Kretuonas 1C’s osteological material. The tools used for butchering and the macroscopic analysis of the slaughtered artiodactyls’ axial skeleton and long bones enabled an assessment of split bone in the butchering area, as well as of chop and cut marks acquired during the butchering process.
This article reviews current scientific evidence of food resources exploited in the Lithuanian Stone and Bronze Ages and presents the new direct, biochemical stable isotope evidence. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were performed on 75 Stone and Bronze Age animal bone samples and 23 human bone samples. We discuss how the obtained values relate to diet and other evidence of diet, compare the obtained values with regional stable isotope data, and consider sociocultural implications.
Volume 11 (2009): The Horse and Man in European Antiquity (Worldview, Burial Rites, and Military and Everyday Life), pp. 22–31
The horse bones found in Lithuanian habitation sites that date to the Late Neolithic and to the Early Bronze Age still do not indicate that these horses were ridden upon or used to plough the soil. However, horse bones have been found in Lithuanian territory only in those sites where bones of other animals that were domesticated have been found. This suggests that domesticated horses in Lithuania might have spread together with other domesticated animals by way of cultural diffusion during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.