Sites and materials

As part of the project, collections from the following sites will be analysed:


  • Kunda Lammasmägi – this is one of the best-known Stone Age sites in Estonia, that gave a name to the Mesolithic Kunda culture. It was found at the end of the 19th century in a lime quarry. Lammasmägi has been subject to several archaeological investigations since the 1930s. The oldest and most important occupational layer has been dated to 8700 – 4950 BC, the Mesolithic, however, also the Subneolithic layers have been
    identified (Indreko 1948, 51; Jaanits 1965, 43). The collection of bone artefacts from the site includes 890 specimens (including half-products and wastes).
  • Pulli – the settlement was discovered in 1967. Archaeological excavations were carried out in 1968-73 and 1975-76 (Jaanits, Jaanits 1975). It is the oldest known human settlement in Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating, Pulli has settled around 11,000 years ago, at the beginning of the 9th millennium BC. Bone and antler material make up most of the assemblage and include 134 manufactured items, as well as a similar amount of waste products (David 2005).


  • Zvejnieki – The complex includes one of the most significant hunter–fisher–gatherer cemeteries in northern Europe in terms of both the exceptional number of individuals buried there and the extremely long period of use. The cemetery was excavated in the 1960s and 1970s and it consists of 317 burials, mostly single graves, but with some double and multiple graves (Zagorskis 1987). The collection of bone artefacts that will be analysed includes about 2000 selected artefacts coming from a cemetery, but also the settlement sites.
  • Selected artefacts from Lake Lubāns – situated in the lowlands of eastern Latvia. In 1937–1940, after the lake level was artificially lowered to create new agricultural land,
    a unique collection of ~3500 bone and antler stray finds came to light. The artefacts were found by local residents on the former lakebed in the drained southwestern part of the lake and on an island, close to the bank, and lack archaeological contexts. This collection is remarkable not only as one of the largest known assemblages of bone implements in northern Europe but also in terms of diversity of forms. It spans the period from the earliest human occupation of Latvia, at the end of the Paleolithic, to the end of the Bronze Age (Vankina 1999).


  • Šventoji – The unique complex of sites in Šventoji was discovered in 1966. At the time, several tens of archaeological sites and loose finds were identified, dated now (including the sites discovered later) to the period between 6000 and 500 cal BC (Piličiauskas 2016). The sites were interpreted as habitation sites, refuse layers, fishing stations and possibly pile dwelling settlements. Numerous bone artefacts and working debris (around 300 artefacts) were found at sites 1-4, 6, 23 and 26 at Šventoji and could be dated to the period between 3500-2500 cal BC.
    Donkalnis – first excavations in 1981-1982. Seven graves were discovered at the site, 5 of which were dated to the Mesolithic and 2 to the Neolithic. 181 bone artefacts come from the graves.
  • Spiginas – first excavations in 1985-86. Four graves were discovered at the site, 3 of which were dated to the Mesolithic and the fourth to the Neolithic. The collection includes 7 bone artefacts.
  • Žemaitiškė II – studies at the Žemaitiškė 2 settlement were carried out from 1979 to 1981, and from 2000 to 2001. At present, the settlements might be regarded as pile-dwelling settlements from the Neolithic period in Lithuania; these settlements belonged to communities of Narva, CWC and GAC cultures (Girininkas 2005). The collection of bone artefacts that come from this site includes 54 specimens (Daugnora, Girininkas 1996a)
  • Kretuonas 1C – is a dwelling site located on the eastern bank of the Kretuonas Lake in Northeastern Lithuania. It was excavated in 1987-1992. During excavations, an extremely rich zooarchaeological material (4478 specimens) was retrieved mostly from a waterlogged refuse layer formed within the channel of a small rivulet. The collection of bone artefacts includes about 531 specimens (Daugnora, Girininkas 1996b). The site was dated to the very end of the Neolithic (ca. 2200-1700 cal BC) by 9 radiocarbon dates, mostly of animal bones (Daugnora, Girininkas 2004; 2009).
  • Kaltanėnai – this extraordinarily rich and well-preserved underwater multi-period archaeological site was discovered in 2015. During multiple diving expeditions between 2015 and 2019 from its surface (the bottom of the Žeimena River) about 800 archaeological finds were collected. The collection includes (for this moment (90 bone and antler tools). The site is well AMS dated and was occupied from the Mesolithic period as a fishing place (Piličiauskas et al. 2020b). The excavation at the site, which is run by our team will be continued during the next seasons, so the collection of bone artefacts will grow.
  • Garnys – a newly discovered underwater site, located several dozen kilometres from the site in Kaltanėnai. Initial radiocarbon dating of the materials from the site showed that it was used by Mesolithic and Subneolithic communities. In 2020, our team carried out the first underwater survey work on the site, which will be continued in the following seasons. The collection of bone products from the site currently includes several dozen specimens.


  • Giżycko-Perkunowo – two graves AMS dated to the Mesolithic (cf. Piotrowska et al. 2019), excavated in 1965. In one of the graves, 54 bone artefacts were found (Głosik 1969).
  • Kamieńskie 1 – a mound located in the southeastern part of the Masurian Lake District and was excavated in 1996. It included a grave of a 15-years old girl, where (among other goods) 7 incisors of wild animals (pendants) were found. A radiocarbon dating obtained from the human bones and technology of flint artefacts indicates the links on a grave with the Kunda culture (Łapo 1998).