ISSN / EISSN : 1392-6748 / 1392-6748
Published by: Vilnius University Press (10.15388)
Total articles ≅ 161
Latest articles in this journal
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 155-168; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.10
In recent years Lithuanian archaeologists have become greatly more aware of and interested in the information provided by faunal remains. Its potential has begun to draw the attention of researchers from nature sciences, while the archaeologists working in the field collect faunal remains uncovered during excavations and hand them over for storage increasingly more often. These faunal remains continue to be stored in the repository at Vilnius University. The project carried out in 2018–2020 with the funds provided by the Research Council of Lithuania gave an opportunity to record and make public the information about the zooarchaeological finds stored in the repository of Vilnius University, which are accessible for researchers and students from various scientific fields. The aims of this article are to present the Lithuanian collection of faunal remains kept at Vilnius University, to review the history of zooarchaeological research as well as the studies carried out in the last few years and to discuss the associated problems that continue to emerge.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 132-141; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.8
In Estonia, faunal remains have been an important part of archaeological material since the 19th century. During the 20th century, the interest in faunal history was rather volatile, but gained some stability during the 1990s. Since then, zooarchaeology in Estonia has developed substantially, focusing on a variety of topics. Together with methods from traditional zooarchaeology, interdisciplinary methods like the studies of ancient DNA and stable isotopes are increasingly used. However, despite the growing understanding of the importance of faunal remains in archaeological and historical research, there are still problems with collecting animal remains during the fieldwork and documenting and organising them. On the other hand, interest in scientific methods and destructive sampling of the osseous remains have become increasingly popular in science projects and international collaboration. In order to use osteological collections reasonably and ethically, proper systemisation is essential.In Estonia, there are two research centres for zooarchaeology, where scientific collections are administered – Tallinn University and the University of Tartu. Tallinn collections comprise material mostly from the northern part of the country, plus an extensive reference collection for fish has been developed there. In Tartu, mostly material from southern Estonia is managed, together with continuously expanding reference collection of mammals and birds. To improve the gathering and management of the osteological material in Estonia and reduce the shortage for storage space, a new central repository for osteological collections (both human and animal) was established in 2019. Concurrently, a new central database for the osteological data was created.In this paper, we introduce the zooarchaeological collections and some of the latest research topics in Estonia with an aim to broaden the understanding and potential of zooarchaeology in the Baltic region.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 27-40; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.2
The article presents the results of traceological studies of two harp seal bacula, from the Šventoji 3 site (coastal Lithuania). As a result of the microscopic observations carried out, technological and functional microtraces were discovered on both artefacts. The analysis of the use-wear traces, which are better readable only on one of the artefacts, allowed for a hypothesis that they arose as a result of contact with well-tanned and dry hide. This made it possible to assign to the studied artefacts the function of objects of everyday use, having direct contact with this material. The findings were illustrated with the current knowledge on the use of bacula in prehistory, historical times and among archaic communities known from ethnographic observations.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 117-131; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.7
Studies aimed at considering the impact of industrialisation, urbanisation and modernisation on human health in 19th-century society are becoming increasingly relevant. Although it is exceptionally rare to encounter human skeletal material from the 19th century in present-day Lithuania, this study explores whether changes which occurred in that century had any impact on human health. This research presents the preliminary results of an anthropological analysis of the human remains discovered in Panevėžys Cemetery, with material spanning the 18th–19th centuries. In total, 90 individuals were examined, including 57 males, 15 females and 18 nonadult individuals. Fractures and nonspecific inflammatory lesions were the most prevalent pathological changes. However, the values of the average height of males and females did not reveal a significant change in stature. Overall, the results demonstrated inconsistent evidence of the effects of urbanisation on the skeletal population. It can be concluded that both the sample size and the observed pathologies represent only part of the community. Therefore, a more representative sample and additional analyses are required in the future, to provide comprehensive results and more solid conclusions.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 41-58; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.3
Archaeological investigations in Tornimäe in the eastern part of the island Saaremaa took place in 1963, 1968 and 2004. Artefacts found during the excavations are mainly dated to the Viking Age. Most of the finds are pottery shards, some metal artefacts were found, and also animal bones. The majority of mammal bones are bones of domestic animals. Nearly half of these are caprine bones, bones of cattle, pig and horse are less numerous. Wild game bones are few, only seals were hunted more often. Bird and fish bones are also represented. Only a few bone artefacts were among the finds, more fragments of bone items were found among the animal bones during the identification of osteological material. The bone artefacts found in Tornimäe are rather simple items which do not require special skills from the bone worker and could have been made by the users of these artefacts. The uses of bone artefacts are well suited with the location of the site at the seashore.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 142-154; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2020.21.9
This article briefly presents the history of the human osteological collection stored at the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University. The birth of such collection can be traced back to the mid-19th century (1855) with the establishment of the Museum of Antiquities. Until the mid-20th century, human skeletal remains were gathered sporadically and selectively, by collecting either skulls or long bones. Since the late 20th century, the policy of selection has changed and nowadays the collection consists of systematically assembled anthropological material of scientific value. The assemblage currently comprises more than 9.000 skeletal remains dating back from the Mesolithic to the Late Modern Era.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 59-78; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.4
In this paper, we examine archaeological bird remains from Klaipėda Castle (Ger. Memel), western Lithuania. The castle was built in 1252, and during the Middle Ages, it was the northernmost castle of the Teutonic Order in Prussia. The castle together with its adjacent town were subjected to wars and changing political situations over the centuries, but nevertheless represented a socially higher status. The studied bird remains were found during the excavations in 2016 and have been dated by context to the Middle Ages – from the end of the 13th to the beginning of the 14th century. Our aim is to introduce and discuss the bird remains with an emphasis on two species – the white-tailed sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Most of all, we are interested in their role in expressing people’s social status, use in material culture, and significance as a food source. Our analysis showed that in Klaipėda, the eagles were probably used for raw material and possibly for feathers, but not for hawking and food. Alternatively, they could have been killed for scavenging. Other species identified in the assemblage such as chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus), grey partridge (Perdix perdix), geese (Anser sp.), ducks (Anatinae), and great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) were mainly interpreted as food waste. This article presents the first concentrated study on bird remains from Klaipėda and is one of the first discussions about the meaning of eagles in the Baltic region.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 97-116; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.6
The skeletal remains of non-adults provide endless insights into numerous aspects of their personal, family and social lives. Although they were considered to be marginal members of society, children can potentially shed light on factors influencing the overall health and survival of their communities, sensitively conveying the ability of a population to adapt to its environment and cope with moments of crisis. In the last decade, worldwide interest in the archaeology of children has grown, and has driven the bioarchaeological investigation of their skeletal remains. However, the bioarchaeological study of non-adults has received surprisingly little interest in the Baltic states. This review presents the past and current state of the art with specific focus on the Baltic area from prehistory to historic times, outlining new research fields and the benefits of studying non-adult skeletal remains, and proposing specific possible directions for future work on this topic. The paper is aimed at giving a louder voice to the youngest actors of ancient communities, and perhaps offers a starting point for developing a definitive bioarchaeology of children in the Baltics.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 176-187; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.12
Rec.: Manvydas Vitkūnas, Gintautas Zabiela. Baltų piliakalniai: nežinomas paveldas. Vilnius: Lietuvos archeologijos draugija, 2017, 88 p.
Archaeologia Lituana, Volume 21, pp 79-96; https://doi.org/10.15388/archlit.2019.21.5
A relatively small worked bone and antler assemblage including 28 finished objects and 104 remains representing blanks and waste material was identified during the zooarchaeological analysis of the bone material found at the recently excavated site of Esztergom-Várhegy-Kőbánya (Esztergom-Castle Hill-Quarry). According to archaeological investigations, the complete animal bone assemblage deposited in several successive layers on the Castle Hill of Esztergom represents the kitchen refuse of the bishopric residence. Despite the religious context of the settlement, rosary beads or other artefacts usually produced in greater numbers are missing in our material. Common objects such as pins, handles and toys as well as the fine worked decorative items were poorly represented. Contrary, the details for crossbow and the antler debris dominated the assemblage linked to manufacturing. All these would suggest the presence of a workshop in the archbishop’s palace specialised for the quick production and reparation of details for crossbow. Although the small quantity of both the finished objects and production waste point to a small – maybe only seasonally operating – workshop, the involvement of a skilled bone-worker and possibly a lathe is suggested.