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Vilnius, Lithuania

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 | 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.

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.

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.

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