Senieji Rytų Lietuvos pilkapių plėšikai

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Lietuvių kalba / Lithuanian
Senieji Rytų Lietuvos pilkapių plėšikai
Alternative Title:
Ancient robbers of East Lithuanian barrows
In the Journal:
Lietuvos archeologija. 2008, t. 34, p. 43-58
Kapų plėšimas; Rytų Lietuvos pilkapiai; Geležies amžius; Griautiniai kapai; Įkapės.
Grave robbery; East Lithuanian barrows; Iron Age; Inhumations; Grave goods.
Summary / Abstract:

LTStraipsnyje nagrinėjami geležies amžiaus Rytų Lietuvos pilkapių kultūroje jos egzistavimo laikotarpiu vykę kapų plėšimai. Darbe remiamasi III/IV-VIVI a. griautinių kapų duomenimis. Aptariamas kapų plėšimų pobūdis, datavimas, plėšikų tikslai, jų santykis su pilkapynus palikusiomis bendruomenėmis, istorinis plėšikavimo pilkapynuose kontekstas. Teigiama, kad pilkapynai buvo sistemingai išplėšti ne vėliau nei Va. antrojoje-VI a. pirmojoje pusėje. Daugiausia plėšikai siekė pagrobti spalvotųjų metalų papuošalus. Suaktyvėję kapų plėšimai buvo Rytų Lietuvą I tūkst. viduryje pasiekusių Didžiojo tautų kraustymosi atgarsių pasekmė. Juos galėjo vykdyti tiek išorės užpuolikai, tiek neramumų sukrėsti vietos gyventojai. [Iš leidinio]

ENGrave robbery is probably almost as old as burial itself. All of humanity has been afflicted by this activity due to the common aspiration to make a profit with the least possible effort. Grave robbery was a frequent or even massive occurrence in many ancient cultures and civilisations and still exists in the modern world. In an archaeological context, grave robbery is usually perceived as destructive, as a factor limiting the possibilities of learning about the past. But the robbery itself is a distinctive sphere of human activity, an expression of the mentality. The robber who acted in prehistory is just as much an object of archaeology as the grave he has robbed. The fact that people were robbing graves is a reflection of the totality of diverse social, economic, cultural, and Psychological phenomena. An analysis of this Phenomenon can help to better understand certain historical processes. The article examines the grave robbery that occurred within the Iron Age East Lithuanian barrow culture during the period of its existence. It 's difficult to record archaeologically the traces of a grave robbery and it is possible to date them to Prehistoric times only on the basis of indirect evidence. Therefore it is necessary to limit the article's database to information from inhumations (dated to the 3rd/4th-5th/6th centuries), in which the recorded traces of robbery are more distinct. According to the available archaeological data, traces of old robberies have been recorded in 44 graves at 12 burial sites (at least a fifth of all the excavated inhumations). Signs of a robbery have been discovered at Eitulionys, Maisiejūnai, Pašekščiai, Riklikai, and several other barrow cemeteries and at Diktarai flat cemetery.A distinct feature of the robberies is their systematic nature. The majority of the robbed graves were destroyed in precisely the chest area or the upper part of the skeleton, unquestionably exactly where the robbers had wanted to dig. Some of them had been dug up no less precisely despite the fact that they were multiple burials or human and horse burial, created in deep pits, or were off centre. The robbers had to have had a precise knowledge of not only the burial's location in the barrow but also the burial's construction and the orientation of the body. Perhaps they also recognised some above-ground grave signs, were aware of the norms determining the internal structure of the barrow cemetery, or knew even about the specific individuals buried in the barrows. Thus the graves were robbed prior to the time when cremation became predominant or soon after it. The earliness of the robbery of some graves is also confirmed by their stratigraphic relationship to later burials. But there was at least a small chronological gap between the burials and the grave robberies. All of this allows one to state that large-scale, recurrent robberies occurred no later than the second half of the 5th-first half of the 6th century. The grave robbers definitely had not only sufficient knowledge but also specific goals. They were mostly interested in grave goods that were quickly and easily sold or reworked. In both female and male burials the ornaments and clothing accessories placed on the upper part of the body were the most sought after: buckles, brooches, neckrings, bracelets, beads, etc. This is clearly visible in comparing the sets of grave goods from graves that have been disturbed by robbers and untouched graves. Ornaments made of non-ferrous metals or glass had to have been in demand as both articles and as easily reworked raw materials.The most desirable plunder for robbers had to have been silver ornaments. Iron articles, which might have already disintegrated or become unusable, interested grave robbers less. The robbers probably collected some of the weapons as many more are found in undisturbed burials. But in some burials the weapons were left behind or no effort was made to uncover them. Other small iron artefacts were not an important part of their plunder. In robbing a grave they sought artefacts, the realisation of which would provide an optimum ratio between the effort involved and the return. It can be argued that grave robbery was not an episodic means of gain but was probably the systematic activity of a certain group of people. The massive robbery of the East Lithuanian barrows in the middle of the 1st millennium shows the tense historical situation. East Lithuania was at that time one of the Baltic lands that was the most actively affected by the processes that occurred during the Migration Period. This is reflected by the concentration of expensive imported artefacts, the clear domination of weapons and warrior accoutrements in sets of grave goods, and the change in funeral traditions. Grave robbery during this period could have been a consequence of assaults by external enemies, internal migration, and conflicts. The artefacts collected in the robbed graves could have been an important part of the plunder during military conflicts and assaults by marauders. Grave robbery guaranteed a large quantity of easily acquired, transported, and realised spoil. Robbery could have also been carried out by the local communities, which, rocked by the unrest, had experienced a cultural transformation and lost their connection with the past. Grave robbery probably became more tolerated during a certain transitional period in the social organisation and ideology. [From the publication]

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2018-12-29 12:37:47
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