Lithuanian Institute of History

Vilnius, Lithuania

Lithuanian Institute of History

Vilnius, Lithuania
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Piliciauskas G.,Lithuanian Institute of History | Jankauskas R.,Vilnius University | Piliciauskiene G.,Vilnius University | Craig O.E.,University of York | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports | Year: 2017

Our knowledge of the timing and completeness of the transition from foraging, fishing and hunting to food production in boreal northeastern Europe is far from clear. Here, we present new bone collagen AMS 14C dates, and δ13C and δ15N isotope values for 20 humans and 17 animals from a 6500-year period dating from the Late Mesolithic to the Bronze Age in Lithuania. AMS 14C dates revealed large discrepancies in comparison to previously obtained radiocarbon dates, thus highlighting the need to re-date all prehistoric human remains where chronology was based on 14C dating of bone collagen. Stable isotope data indicate that inland Mesolithic-Subneolithic hunter-gatherers (7000–3000 cal BC) relied on a balance of freshwater food and game animals with regard to protein intake. The coastal Subneolithic groups (ca. 3000 cal BC) relied heavily on lagoon fishing, while seals and forest game were of lesser importance. Animal husbandry, most likely of sheep or goats, was a main source of protein for Neolithic Corded Ware Culture people (2900–2400 cal BC), although a significant contribution of freshwater food is also evident. Significant intra-individual variation in stable isotope values may demonstrate that a highly flexible subsistence strategy was adopted by the CWC people. Unusually high δ13C values indicate that millet had been already introduced into the farming economy of the Late Bronze Age around 1000 cal BC. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Stancikaite M.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Baltrunas V.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Karmaza B.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Karmaziene D.,Institute of Geology and Geography | And 5 more authors.
Baltica | Year: 2011

Palaeoenvironmental studies of Gornitsa foreland have been carried out in relation to archaeological excavations in Kovaltsy Late Palaeolithic site, Grodno district, W Belarus. Geological, geomorphological, lithological, pollen, and osteological research, infrared optically stimulated luminescence (IR-OSL) and 14C accelerator mass spectometry (AMS) dating alongside with archaeological evidence provide information about the human and environmental history during the Late Glacial time-period. Situated outside the margin of the Late Weichselian Glaciation investigated territory developed as typical periglacial zone before the degradation of the ice sheet started. Driven by the Late Glacial climatic fluctuations a system of terraces e.g. two periglacial and two uppermost terraces of Neman River valley, were formed. Discovered Kovaltsy Late Palaeolithic site with two principal cultural layers suggests Late Glacial population of the area. Based on combination of typological data and 14C AMS measurement the lower layer dates primarily to the onset of Late Glacial Interstadial or ~14 500 cal. yr. BP when people of the Late Palaeolithic settled the area. During the initial stages of the population, tundra-steppe landscape dominated the area, and development of the fauna followed this pattern, with a dominance of mammals e.g. mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius Blumenbach), wild horse (Equus caballus L.), and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) which were exploited by people. Typological information suggests the upper cultural layer was formed at the Late Glacial - Holocene transition e.g. at about 11 500-11 000 cal. yr. BP.


Baltrunas V.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Seiriene V.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Molodkov A.,Tallinn University of Technology | Zinkute R.,Institute of Geology and Geography | And 8 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2013

The Netiesos section in southern Lithuania exposes a late Pleistocene sedimentary sequence at a depth of between 17 and 4 m. An interdisciplinary study of the section investigated the environmental changes that occurred in the study area during the greater part of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5. Geochemical, thermoluminescence, palaeontological (plant macro-remain, diatoms, fishbones) and magnetic susceptibility analyses were performed on numerous sediment samples. Chronological control of the sequence was provided by electron spin resonance (ESR), infrared optically stimulated luminescence (IR-OSL) and conventional radiocarbon dating methods. This interdisciplinary approach enabled the subdivision of the section into stratigraphic units reflecting environmental changes. According to chronological data, the development of the Netiesos palaeolake began at the end of the Medininkai (Saalian) glaciation, which is thought to correlate with MIS 6, and continued up to the thermophilous deciduous forests phase of the subsequent last interglacial of MIS 5. Sediments of the final phase of the interglacial are missing, as are the initial and final phases of the following early Nemunas (Weichselian) cooling (MIS 4). The palaeomagnetic Blake Event was recorded in the interglacial sediments. One of the richest palaeofloras in the East Baltic region was observed representing the second half of MIS 5. The implications of the results for the regional late Pleistocene climato-chronostratigraphy are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Piliciauskas G.,Lithuanian Institute of History | Kisieliene D.,Laboratory of Quaternary Research | Piliciauskiene G.,Vilnius University
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany | Year: 2016

The paper presents a critical review of the zooarchaeological, macrobotanical, palynological and archaeological data from Lithuania and their previous interpretations, which formerly served as the basis for the concept of development of pre-Neolithic or Subneolithic low intensity farming and/or livestock breeding in the eastern Baltic region. Moreover, it presents the first direct AMS dates from the crop remains and domestic animal bones discovered in Lithuanian Subneolithic and Neolithic settlements. An investigation proved that most of, or possibly all, the early farming “evidence” came from the wrong identification of the plant and animal species and incorrect dating of crop remains and domestic animal bones. The errors of dating were caused by the fresh water reservoir effect being ignored when dating the bulk lacustrine sediment samples, by the failure to evaluate the impact of the palimpsest and bioturbation phenomena on the formation of an archaeological layer, and by insufficient attention to stratigraphy and spatial documentation of the finds during very extensive archaeological excavations in the second half of the 20th century. To date, no credible evidence is available in Lithuania that domestic animals had been kept and crops grown before the Neolithic Globular Amphora and Corded Ware cultures in 3200/2700 cal bc. However, this does not mean such evidence may not appear in the future, provided direct AMS dating of animal and crop residues from Subneolithic contexts continues, and systematic macrobotanical studies finally start not only in the lake settlement and fishing sites, but also in higher altitude areas. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Piliciauskas G.,Lithuanian Institute of History | Lavento M.,University of Helsinki | Oinonen M.,University of Helsinki | Grizas G.,National Museum of Lithuania
Radiocarbon | Year: 2011

Twenty-three samples of charred food remains, charcoal, burned animals, and human bones from 14 Lithuanian prehistoric sites were dated by radiocarbon as part of a dating project oriented towards renewing the prehistoric ceramics chronology. The new dates modified the dating of ceramic styles by hundreds to a thousand years. Three Textile Ware sherds were dated to 4230-2920 cal BC-the oldest known dates of Textile Ware pottery in the East Baltic. The organic-tempered pointed-bottomed Narva and Combed-like Wares were dated to 3970-3370 cal BC, while Bay Coast Ware (Haffküstenkultur, Rzucewo), including vessels decorated with cord impressions, were dated to 3940-3540 cal BC, i.e. to a period well preceding the Corded Ware/Battle Axe horizon in Europe. Three dates of Globular Amphorae Ware placed the phenomenon directly beyond the Bay Coast chronology, i.e. in 3450-2920 cal BC. Chamotte-tempered Corded Ware from SE Lithuania was dated to 2840-2570 cal BC. The first absolute dating of coarse ware of the Žalioji type pointed to a period of 760-515 cal BC instead of the previously assumed 2nd millennium cal BC. Cremated human bones from urns found at Paveisininkai, Kernavě, and Naudvaris cemeteries were dated to 790-380 cal BC. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates obtained from charred food remains should be treated with a certain caution due to a possible freshwater reservoir effect that has not yet been examined in Lithuania. © 2011 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Heron C.,University of Bradford | Craig O.E.,University of York | Luquin A.,University of York | Steele V.J.,University of Bradford | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Archaeological Science | Year: 2015

A study of pottery vessel contents and use was undertaken in order to obtain information on food processed in Subneolithic and Neolithic vessels from Nida and Šventoji (3300-2400 cal BC). The aim is to assess pottery use during major changes in the coastal environment and in material culture. Bulk carbon and nitrogen isotope, lipid biomarker and compound specific carbon isotope analysis was undertaken on 'foodcrusts', charred deposits adhering to vessel surfaces, and absorbed residues from different vessel types. In addition, three archaeological seal bones were analysed for bulk collagen and compound specific carbon isotope analysis to establish collagen-lipid offsets to inform interpretation of the data. The results show that the majority of the vessels were used for processing aquatic products. At Nida the data suggest exploitation of freshwater resources and, in the later stages of occupation, dairying. Analysis of a small number of Subneolithic vessels from Šventoji produced results that are also consistent with processing of aquatic products. Other substances identified include Pinaceae sp. resin or tar and beeswax. These data demonstrate that identifying patterns in pottery use contributes to understanding Neolithisation processes. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Piliciauskas G.,Lithuanian Institute of History | Heron C.,University of Bradford
Radiocarbon | Year: 2015

The aim of this article is to discuss radiocarbon dating offsets due to freshwater and marine reservoir effects (FRE and MRE, respectively) in the southeastern Baltic. Thirty-six 14C dates from Lithuanian coastal and inland Subneolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age sites as well as two Mesolithic-Neolithic cemeteries are presented here. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates, sometimes paired or tripled, have been obtained on samples of various origin, foodcrusts, or visible charred deposits adhering to the surfaces of ceramic vessel walls were also dated and investigated for stable isotope signals. The results argue for a significant freshwater component in the food processed in ceramic vessels during the Subneolithic and Neolithic. Paired dating of ungulate and human bones at the Spiginas and Donkalnis cemeteries (6300-1900 cal BC) does not suggest an FRE, although stable isotope data on human bone collagen strongly suggest a large input of freshwater food in the diet. An FRE in the order of 320-510 yr was estimated for the Šventoji paleolagoon around 3000 cal BC. At the same time, the FRE of the Curonian Lagoon could be larger as implied by large apparent 14C ages of modern pike-perch (981 ± 30 BP) and bream (738 ± 30 BP) bones as well as “foodcrust” offsets (650-530 yr) at Nida (3500-2500 cal BC). An MRE of 190 ± 43 yr was estimated for the southeastern coast of the Littorina Sea according to offsets between dates of seal bones and terrestrial samples at Nida and Šventoji. Any FRE at Lake Kretuonas remains uncertain due to the limited work to date. © 2015 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Piliciauskas G.,Lithuanian Institute of History | Mazeika J.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Gaidamavicius A.,Institute of Geology and Geography | Vaikutiene G.,Vilnius University | And 3 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2012

Archaeological, geological, and paleoecological investigations supported by radiocarbon dating enabled us to present a reconstruction of chronologically based paleoenvironmental and human activity changes in the Šventoji region, NW Lithuania, during the period 4000-800 cal BC. In addition, we describe the main stages of the Late Glacial and Holocene periods in the area. The Baltic Ice Lake regression was succeeded by a terrestrial period until the Littorina Sea maximal transgression at 5700-5400 cal BC. A marine bay with brackish water was transformed into a freshwater lagoon before the oldest archaeological evidence of human presence, i.e. 4000/3700 cal BC. However, the presence of Cerealia type and Plantago lanceolata pollen dating back to about 4400-4300 cal BC suggests earlier farming activities in the area. Pollen analyses show the minor but continuous role of cereal cultivation after 3250 cal BC. Due to the predominance of the boggy landscape in the immediate vicinity of the Šventoji sites, agricultural fields were situated further away from the sites themselves. Exploitation of remote areas of the freshwater basin by diverse fishing gear was proven by the discovery of a new fishing site, Šventoji 41 (2900-2600 cal BC). This finding together with data of previous research suggest a complex and elaborate coastal economy involving seal hunting and year-round freshwater fishing during the 3rd millennium cal BC. A decline in human activity is seen in the pollen diagram after 1800 cal BC, which could be due to significant environmental changes, including overgrowth of the freshwater lagoon basin with vegetation. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona.


Cepaitiene R.,Lithuanian Institute of History
Journal of Architecture and Urbanism | Year: 2015

Abstract: Looking through the prism of USSR national policy the article analyzes the reconstruction of Stalinist cities. The study is based on the visual analysis of the city landscapes of the capitals of 12 of 15 former Soviet republics. Focusing attention on the mechanisms and tools of the formation of the capitals of the Soviet republics, the strategies and tactics of the reconstructions carried out in these cities are discussed. As their result in the late period of Stalinist culture the creation of an ideological-visual narrative of a major Soviet city, consisting of a united “content of socialist realism” and local “national forms”, was completed. The conclusion is made is that mainly using plant and geometric ornaments of local folk art in the decor of the buildings of the socialist realism style, these capitals were “marked” in a specific way. However, although this aesthetic program allowed one to distinguish visibly these cities from one another, and to highlight some of the features of national cultures, however, the fostering of such narrowly understood and apolitical “folk character” at the same time restricted the possibilities of the Soviet connected nations to keep the abilities to preserve free and uncontrolled authentic expression of their cultures. © 2015, Copyright © 2015 Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) Press.

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