XIII-XV a. medinės lazdos su buoželėmis : faktai ir hipotezės

Direct Link:
Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Straipsnis / Article
Lietuvių kalba / Lithuanian
XIII-XV a. medinės lazdos su buoželėmis: faktai ir hipotezės
Alternative Title:
13th-15th-century knobbed wooden sticks: facts and hypotheses
In the Journal:
Lietuvos archeologija. 2008, t. 34, p. 151-170
Baltai / Balts; Papročiai. Apeigos / Customs. Rites; Senieji tikėjimai / Old religion.
Summary / Abstract:

LTXIII-XVa. Vilniuje ir Kernavėje aptinkamos medinės lazdos yra viena mįslingiausių radinių kategorijų. Atsižvelgiant į utilitarinio pobūdžio įrodymus bei to meto religines ir esamos etnografinės medžiagos paraleles, šios lazdos galėjo būti naudojamos tiek universaliuose, tiek kasdieniniuose kulto ritualuose ar žaidimuose, turinčiuose ritualo ar apeigos bruožų. [Iš leidinio]Reikšminiai žodžiai: Lazdos su buožėmis; Pagonybė; Ritualai; Apeigos; Baltai; Knobbed wooden sticks; Paganism; Rituals; Rites; Balts.

ENKnobbed wooden sticks have been known in Lithuanian archaeological material since 1960 when Adolfas Tautavičius found the remains of these artefacts in investigating the territory of Vilnius Lower Castle. These interesting and mysterious finds have not been the subject of a detailed analysis. The archaeologists have not succeeded in interpreting them and so during the subsequent forty years this category of wooden artefacts remained a group of mysterious artefacts, which hides secrets from the 13th-early 15th century. Knobbed wooden sticks are thin wooden shafts that end in a round or oblong ball, which is usually teardrop, pear, or oval shaped. They are not ornate but are sometimes decorated with simple designs. In Lithuania, these sticks (166 in all) have only been found within the boundaries of the medieval town of Kernavė (16) and in the territory of Vilnius Lower Castle (150). Both trunks and branches were used to create them. However, according to Tautavičius, there was a second production technology where two-piece sticks were made: a carved pear-shaped head was made from a thicker piece of wood with the shaft fitted into a socket drilled into the head. A microstructural analysis of the wood showed that the sticks found at Vilnius Lower Castle were oak with the exception of a single elm one. The sticks found in Lithuania do not show great variety and can be divided into 2 kinds: patterned and plain. 1 patterned stick was found in Kernavė and 28 more in Vilnius, i.e. 18% of all the wooden sticks. The designs are principally geometric. Such wooden sticks are also found outside Lithuania. They were common in the Baltic lands and some Slavic lands and have been found in Latvia, Belarus, and Russia (Riga, Koknese, Pskov, Polotsk, Vitebsk, Hrodna, Minsk, Brest, Navahrudak, and Novgorod).The stick heads found in the neighbouring Baltic and Slavic regions show greater variety including heads with human, animal, bird, hand, and irregular shapes. Like in Lithuania, some sticks are patterned or plain and have ball heads. Other sticks have irregular shapes such as a triangle, a hook, etc. The sticks found in Kernavė and Vilnius are similar to the ball-headed sticks found in the Baltic and Slavic regions. The sticks found in Lithuania differ from those found in neighbouring countries not only in the small variety of their heads, but also in their chronology. Those from Kernavė were found in 13th-century cultural layers and date to Kernavė's decline in the second half of the 14th century. The earliest sticks found in Vilnius date to the 13th century. Most of those found come from the 14th-early 15th century. Meanwhile the chronology of those found in the towns of Old Russia spans a 600-year interval from the 10th to the 15th centuries although most of the stick types date to the 10th-12th centuries. Due to the lack of knowledge about the cult and practices of the pre-Christian religion, it is difficult to say for what these sticks were used. Many scientists attribute similar artefacts to paganism in an attempt to associate such sticks with ritual tools. The fundamental arguments are their chronology, the type of wood, and the circumstances of their discovery. Wooden sticks were used in the territory of Lithuania until the late 14th-early 15th century. Christianity also affected stick development in the neighbouring countries. Most of the sticks were oak. Most of them were found scattered in courtyards, near fences, in ditches, at the site of abandoned buildings, and between pavements. This fact proves that the process of the disappearance of knobbed wooden sticks (as an attribute of pagan religion) occurred in the late 14th century-early 15th century.A number of manifest facts point to the daily use of these artefacts: many such sticks have been found, not all were masterly made, their handles were fitted for people of every age, and they have many abrasions of a utilitarian nature. In consideration of the arguments for their daily use as well as the contemporary political and religious context, we can hypothesise that these sticks may have been used in both universal and cult related rituals or in games which were a part of daily life. The latter factor may have contributed to their extinction or transformation. [From the publication]

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