martes, 16 de noviembre de 2010

Kretuonas archaeological complex (Lithuania)


Kretuonas is located in eastern Lithuania, at the southern edge of the Aukštaitijos (Highland) National Park around Lake Kretuonas. This area was inhabited by people throughout the entire prehistoric period. Approximately 60 archaeological sites, belonging to all the prehistoric periods, have been found in this microregion. Such inhabited microregions are very rare in Lithuania. This fact was influenced by very favourable environmental conditions. Archaeological, geological, palaeogeographical, palynological, macrobotanical, zooarchaeological investigations were held.
The first inhabitants appeared in the lake Kretuonas area during the Dryas III period. There were The Ahrensburgian and Swiderian Cultures people. The main source of food for Late Paleolithic inhabitants was reindeer. A lot of artifacts necessary for hunting reindeer and working hide, fur, bone, and antler were found.
Mesolithic hunters – fishers - gatherers communities left behind both the Kunda (Pulli) and Mesolithic Nemunas technocomplexes. Microlithisation is characteristic of the entire site’s flint inventory. There where over 3 000 Mesolithic Nemunas Culture artifacts in Pakretuonės 4 settlement. Assemblage consisted of lanceolate points, scrapers, burins, knives, microblades or microliths, harpoons. In Mesolithic hunting become more specialized. Fishing was very important as well.
In the Early Neolithic period the main economy was foraging. From the Early to the Middle Neolithic domestic animals bones of cattle, sheep/goats, pigs and horses increased. In Kretuonas 1B habitation site with Middle Neolith cultural layer were found Narva Culture ceramics, bones, flint and stone artifacts. A small cemetery in which six people were buried was also found in the area of the settlement. Corded Ware, Globular Amphora Cultures came to Lake Kretuonas area in Late Neolithic. In the Late Neolithic, the amount of domestic animal bones by MNI had already reached approximately 15%. Still animal breeding was not the main part of the economy. Hunting, fishing and gathering took the greater part.
Bronze Age settlers of Kretuonas 1C settlement were engaged in hunting, fishing, gathering, livestock breeding, recasting metal and trading with other East Baltic tribes. Kretuonas 1C settlement was inhabited by Late Narva Cultures people. In the Early Bronze Age domesticated animals already comprised up to 18% (by MNI) of all known osteological material. In eastern Lithuania animal husbandry was more prevalent than plants production. Inhabitants of the Early and Middle Bronze Age lived on the first terrace. Starting from the Middle to Late Bronze Age they resettled to higher locations (Reškutėnų 1). It is associated with food producing economy. The agrarian landscape finally formed. Forest plots decreased around settlements.

Livija Ivanovaite (University of Vilnus, Lithuania)

References:

Girininkas A. (2008): The Influence of the Environment on the Human Population Around Lake Kretuonas During the Stone Age and The Bronze Age. Archaeologia Baltica, 9. Pags: 15 – 31.

http://www.istorija.lt/la/daugnora-girininkas2004en.html

http://homepages.uni-tuebingen.de/simone.riehl/Litauen.htm

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