Joint 52nd Northeastern Annual Section / 51st North-Central Annual Section Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 42-3
Presentation Time: 2:10 PM


ERICKSON, James Scott1, SEAMANS, Jackelyn M.2, WAVRIN, Thomas A.2, KLEINSCHMIDT, Alexander S.2, JOL, Harry M.2 and DAUBARAS, Mantas3, (1)Department of Geography and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Avenue, P.O. Box 4004, Eau Claire, WI 54702, (2)Department of Geography and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Avenue, P.O. Box 4004, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004, (3)Lithuanian Institute of History, Kraziu g. 5, Vilnius, LT-01108, Lithuania,

The Varniai Regional Park and surrounding areas, located in Northwestern Lithuania, are considered a hub of Mesolithic and Neolithic Baltic culture and contain many sites of importance to Lithuanian history. In July of 2016, non-invasive archeological prospecting was conducted at three different sites by means of ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys. The results from these surveys identify subsurface features and anomalies which indicate areas suitable for excavation.

The first two sites are located within the Varniai Regional Park and share a similar research goal. In prehistoric times, people settled at or near lake shorelines and left cultural remains behind in these areas. As lake levels changed many of these shorelines became buried under a layer of peat. Due to difficulties in conducting an archeological excavation in this peaty environment, knowing the location of an ancient shoreline is important. GPR transects from these sites reveal the truncation of continuous horizontal layers by dipping reflections which are interpreted as ancient buried shorelines.

The third site was a hilltop complex south of the Varniai Regional Park important in both military and political functionalities during the 12th and 13th centuries CE. The resulting GPR transects from this site reveal numerous anomalies and areas of disturbed soil layers indicating the presences of buried features and human interactions with the subsurface.

The GPR transects collected from these three sites have proven useful in identifying the desired locations for potential excavations.