lunes, 8 de noviembre de 2010

ŠVENTOJI ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX (LITHUANIA)




Šventoji (Lithuania) archaeological complex comprises more than 40 neolithic (5500/5300-2000 BC) sites. It is situated in the north-west Lithuania, on the Baltic sea coast and in Šventoji river delta. The total territory of 635 ha is under protection as an object of cultural heritage. Archaeological excavations at theese settlements started in 1966 and last till now. Šventoji bog sites give us many well preserved organic artefacts and ecofacts.
People lived in the neolithic settlements of Šventoji during the second and the third transgressions and the following regressions of the Litorinian sea. The water level then was 10 m lower than present-day, so settlements from that period are sunk under the Baltic sea. Thats why we don‘t have the earliest neolithic settlements near Šventoji. During the end of the early and the beginning of the middle neolithic people lived in the littoral area which matched the contemporary. The remains of theese settlements are found along the Šventoji river wash.
The settlements were established on the Šventoji river banks. During spring and autumn floods the water rised and vast areas were submerged so it is thought that some of the settlements might have been fascine.
Most of the Šventoji settlements are ascribable to the Baltic Narva Culure people. This culture is dated from the early neolithic to early bronze age, its sites are found on the territory of contemporary Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. During the middle and late neolithic periods Narva Culture was affected by the Comb Ceramic Culture, which is associated with Finno-Ugric newcommers. Their influence is noticed at Šventoji sites too (artifacts, ceramics). Some of the late neolithic sites (Šventosios 2/4 A and Šventosios 6) are ascribable to Globular Amphora Culture, Pamariai (Bay Coast) Culture, there are also artefacts left by the Corded Ware Culture people (Šventosios 1A).
Inhabitants of Šventoji sites were mostly foragers: Narva Culture people were fishing marine and freshwater fish, hunted marine and terrestial animals, collected and processed amber. Globular Amphora and Corded Ware culture people were nomads, pastoralists attracted by amber, which, as it is thought, was obtained by exchanging the products of agriculture or domesticated animals for it.
A lot of neolithic art artifacts were found in the Šventoji settlements: antropomorphic and zoomorphic wooden, bone, antler and amber figurines, pendants (Figure 1; 2). They are thought to reflect beliefs, to be a magical symbols which bring luck in hunting or amulets which protects it‘s owner.

Ana Markevic (University of Vilnus, Lithuania)

References:

Girininkas A. (2009): Lietuvos archeologija. Akmens amžius. Vilnius

http://www.stoneage.lt/Sventoji.htm

http://www.lad.if.vu.lt/akmens_amzius.htm

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