The authors discuss archaeological data regarding cultural interactions between west Lithuanian areas and the regions of Masuria and Suwałki during the Roman and Migration Periods. Several categories of finds in west Lithuania can be seen as direct imports or the import of ideas from the West Balt area in Masuria. This communication worked in both directions. influences from coastal Lithuania may also be detected in the style of jewellery or riding gear. undoubtedly, the warrior elite played an important role in keeping these connections alive. The west Lithuanian area, like Samland, was a trading centre, working as an intermediary in the dissemination of interregional novelties.
Michał Eustachy Brensztejn compiled the ‘Archaeological Inventory of the Kovno Gubernia’ in 1907. The manuscript was not published, and only in 2010 was it discovered in the archives of the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw. The Lithuanian Institute of History and the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw initiated a project to publish the ‘Inventory’ as the third part of the Ostbalticum project. This paper gives some preliminary insights and a short description of the manuscript as a source for Lithuanian archaeology. It analyses the sources used by Brensztejn, describes the process of identification of place-names, discusses the reliability of the records and the novelty of these data, and shows some characteristic mistakes that the author of the ‘Inventory’ made. A puzzle of artefact collection from Jagminai is presented as a brief case study. Thanks to the oral tradition recorded by Brensztejn, the identification of the site was possible.
The author discusses a few examples of artefacts that testify to the contacts between the Balts living in Samland (the Sambian Peninsula) and in the Memelkultur area during the Roman Iron Age. This data was collected from notes and drawings made by Herbert Jankuhn, Marta Schmiedehelm and Kurt Voigtmann. Archival data gives us a chance to interpret similarities in the fashion of wearing of necklaces of similar composition, or rings with similar nodular decoration during the Early Roman Period. The Memelkultur-style brooches found in Samland, and similar status symbols, such as snake-head rings, testify to the strong relations between the two Balt coastal areas during the Late Roman Period.
Volume 18 (2012): People at the Crossroads of Space and Time (Footmarks of Societies in Ancient Europe) II, pp. 192–220
The emergence of Iron Age elites in the Baltic lands is discussed here in the context of western Lithuania, a region with local amber deposits and distant interregional connections, with reference to what is called the West Lithuanian Group, with cemeteries with stone circles. No interregional status symbols have been recorded in the area, but it is possible to identify local prestige goods, such as equestrian equipment, horse offerings, drinking horns and decorative belt sets (male indicators), and elaborate headdresses and necklaces, and splendid pectoral ornaments (female indicators). Precious imports and silver or silver-plated* ornaments are to be found in both male and female graves. The inhabitants of western Lithuania in the Roman and Early Migration periods differed according to their social status. It is possible to distinguish quite a large number of well-equipped graves, but no exceptionally rich ones. Local elites existed in certain small territorial communities, but there were no regional elites. The destroyed grave 31 at Baitai may be an exception to this rule: it presents a sign of the appearance of people of very high rank, a process which developed further in later periods.
Volume 8 (2007): Weapons, Weaponry and Man (In memoriam Vytautas Kazakevičius), pp. 183–194
A warrior from Baitai grave 23 was equipped with a spear, socketed axe, scythe, fragment of knife and a belt. Such a set of grave goods was typical but not entirely standard in west Lithuanian graves. The author discusses how, through many possible variations of male grave goods, we could recognize the personal position of the dead in a group of other armed men.