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History

Burning the dead in XIV century Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Up until the official Christening of Lithuania in 1387, the custom of burning the dead prevailed in the Baltic territory. Cremation was not prevalent merely in the lands accommodated by the Samogitiams and Semigallians. By that time, the Baltic tribes had been living surrounded by the Christian states for more than a century. As a result, urban polyethnic communities of a new type were being established, the views on afterlife of which were to a large extent influenced by the Christian neighbours. […]

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History

The yard of a medieval artisan

In the 13th and 14th century, artisans and merchants used to build their homes in the safe neighbourhood of the main castle mounds. More numerous communities of artisans represented a new object in the social landscape because they were not typical in the earlier society of husbandmen and cattle raisers. Quarters inhabited by artisans and their families stretched next to the main political and administrative centres – the castles where dukes resided together with the people constituting their closest environment. Artisans worked to meet the demands of the ducal court. Supposedly, they would sell part of their products or exchange them for daily bread. […]

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History

Toys and games in medieval Lithuania

Even in the times of gravest calamities and shortage, people did find time for games and other ways of making their everyday lives brighter, regardless of whether it was a ducal palace of a hut of a peasant family. In the 19th century, even the poorest peasants had simple wood-carved toys for their children. […]

Kernavė
History

Haunted Graves

A grave of a 45–50 year-old woman, dating back to the 14th century, was unearthed by archaelogists in the Kernavė burial site. The woman‘s skull was turned round and laid in the chest area. The bones of her arms, severed at the elbows, were found between the legs of the deceased woman. The bodies of deceased persons whose heads were decapitated or limbs severed should be related not to burial rites but to exhumation and defiling of corpses, caused by the deceased person in person. In this particular case, archaeologists are likely to have discovered a grave of an apparition or a “vampire”. […]

Night sky in Kernavė
History

Kernavė’s thunder God Perkūnas – the Leg of a Church Candlestick

A bearded, long haired man with an austere face that is depicted by a 12 cm bronze sculpture is the most famous archeological find over the last 150 years, which made Kernavė famous. The man’s nakedness is covered with a cloth kerchief which is draped over his right hand and turned over hi s hips. We see an object of unclear origins in his elevated left hand that is decorated with wavy lines; in his right hand, the man is also holding something, however only a hole in the hand remains. There is a vertical hole one and a half centimeters in diameter in the sculpture. By the middle of the 19th century, they believed that they’d found in Kernavė, a sculpture of the pagan god of Thunder, Perkūnas. […]