The paper presents the first general archaeological data about the Stone Age period in the Tauragė and Šilalė districts, in the south of the historic Žemaitija (Samogitia) area of western Lithuania. Until recently, this area was almost excluded from the general context of Lithuanian and east Baltic Stone Age studies, due to a lack of information. However, new archaeological material in the museums of the Tauragė and Šilalė districts now makes it possible to discuss the region in this period. The archaeological material has been subjected to laboratory testing, and the first results are included in the context of the east Baltic region. In addition, archaeological fieldwork that was carried out along the banks of the rivers and lakes in these districts in 2016 and 2017 provided the first evidence of Stone Age hunter-fisherman-gatherer sites. This material consists of hunting and work tools, and the manufacturing debris from flint and non-flint raw materials, osteological remains, and ground stone and flint axes of various types. The material was investigated by reviewing it from a technological perspective, and by the AMS 14C dating method, while some finds were also studied by micro-wear analysis. The study area falls within the Jūra river basin, which consists not only of smaller tributaries, but also of small lakes, some of which have become overgrown and transformed into peat-bogs over the millennia. The archaeological evidence confirms that the earliest inhabited sites in southern Žemaitija date from the Final Palaeolithic, while the area continued to be settled during the Mesolithic and Neolithic.
This paper presents the latest data on a spindle-shaped decorated bone dagger, which was found as a stray find in the village of Šarnelė in northwest Lithuania, and which recently been dated to the Final Palaeolithic. It is currently the only one such example of osseous technology in Lithuania dated to this period. In 2016, we started to reinvestigate the Stone Age material from the Samogitian highland by AMS radiocarbon (14C) dating, stable isotopes, use-wear and Raman methods. AMS dating showed that the decorated dagger discovered in the surroundings of the drained Lake Ertenis and the River Varduva at Šarnelė currently is one of the oldest prehistoric art objects found in Lithuania and possibly in the eastern Baltic region as well. The dagger was also analysed by use-wear method, which helped to identify some stages of the production of the article itself and its decoration. The paper presents the first results of research of this artefact in the wider geographical and taxonomic context of the Final Palaeolithic in northern Europe.
The elk staff is a characteristic Stone Age artefact from the Baltic region. The most elegant specimens have been found in the Olenij Ostrov burial site and various Stone Age sites in Šventoji. In 2016, the use-wear of artefacts found in the Stone Age sites of Šventoji was studied microscopically under a magnification factor of 690. The research effort also resulted in the successful dating of one of the staves found at the third archaeological site of Šventoji. The article presents the results and findings of the study, supplementing what is already known about the artefacts.
This article presents data on Kongemose culture material which has been found in Lithuania but not yet studied. Based on material from west, east and south Lithuania Stone Age settlements, the aim is to acknowledge the existence of this culture’s technology during the Atlantic period in the east Baltic region. The use-wear method was also used for a more detailed analysis. The results of the article contain versions of the emergence and development of rhombus-shaped arrowhead technology in the east Baltic during the Stone Age period.