Ilga Zagorska

Ilga Zagorska
Institut of Latvian history, Latvian University · Archaeology

Dr.hist.

About

39
Publications
15,763
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544
Citations
Citations since 2016
22 Research Items
392 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
Introduction
Project: 1)The earliest inhabitants in Latvia.2) The Stone Age burial traditions in Eastern Baltic
Additional affiliations
February 2016 - present
University of Latvia
Position
  • senior researcher, Dr.hist.
January 2010 - present
Institut of Latvian history
Institut of Latvian history
Position
  • Senior Researcher, Dr.hist.
Description
  • Main research themes: 1) First inhabitants in the territory of Latvia; 2) Mesolithic and Neolithic landscapes and settlements; 3) burial traditions in the East Baltic Stone Age and its symbolism; 4) Stone Age art.
January 2009 - May 2016
Institut of Latvian history, Latvian University
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
The results of traceological (technological and use-wear) studies of osseous artefacts discovered in the Mesolithic burial no 57 and Neolithic burial no 164 from the cemetery in Zvejnieki, Latvia are discussed. This research identified significant differentiation in the techniques used to make animal tooth pendants deposited in the Mesolithic grave...
Article
Full-text available
The timing of infant weaning in the past is important for its implications for birth-spacing and infant survival, and hence for population maintenance or growth under different socio-economic regimes. Prior to the adoption of agriculture, breastfeeding is believed to have been more prolonged amongst hunter-gatherers due, at least partly, to the lac...
Article
Full-text available
A 5,000-year-old Yersinia pestis genome (RV 2039) is reconstructed from a hunter-fisher-gatherer (5300–5050 cal BP) buried at Riņņukalns, Latvia. RV 2039 is the first in a series of ancient strains that evolved shortly after the split of Y. Pestis from its antecessor Y. pseudotuberculosis ~7,000 years ago. The genomic and phylogenetic characteristi...
Article
A collection of 141 bone and antler tools and debitage pieces recovered from the River Užava at the village of Sise constitutes the largest Mesolithic osseous assemblage in western Latvia. Radiocarbon dating of 12 pieces suggests that most of this collection dates from the 6 th millennium calBC. We present a general analysis, highlighting typical a...
Chapter
Full-text available
Conclusions: One of the main tasks of archaeologists is pattern recognition. In this paper we have focused on one particular case study, the prehistoric hunter-gatherer cemetery of Zvejnieki in northeastern Europe (Henderson et al. in prep.). A very striking and persistent pattern was highlighted, linking the presence or absence of animal tooth pe...
Article
Full-text available
The Stone Age site Riņņukalns, Latvia, is the only well-stratified shell midden in the Eastern Baltic. In this paper, we present new interdisciplinary results concerning its dating, stratigraphy, features, and finds to shed light on the daily life of a fisher population prior to the introduction of domesticated animals. The undisturbed part of the...
Article
Full-text available
The earliest settlement of Latvia occurred at the very end of the Late Glacial, after the retreat of the ice sheet. Important evidence of this earliest occupation is the well-known site Salaspils Laukskola. Previous research has focused on the typological aspects of this assemblage, and the use of lithic raw materials, suggesting an affiliation to...
Article
Full-text available
(http://www.sarks.fi/fa/faxxxvi.html) The Eastern Baltic Stone Age is characterized by several major shifts in tool technology. Our pic¬ture of cultural change is currently based on typological variation in well-preserved bone tools, ceramics, stone tools, and on diversity in lithic raw-material use. These variations have partly been interpreted as...
Article
A long‐standing debate in archaeology concerns the sources of technological diversification among prehistoric hunter‐gatherers. This includes the study of the emergence and spread of pressure blade technology in Northern Europe during the Early Holocene. Until now, there has been little technological study of lithic collections from the East Baltic...
Article
Zvejnieki, on Lake Burtnieks in northeastern Latvia, is the largest known prehistoric cemetery in the eastern Baltic; N300 inhumations, most dating to c.7000–3000 cal BC, have been excavated. Archaeozoological and artefactual evidence fromgraves and nearby settlement layers showthat throughout this period, the community depended on wild resources f...
Article
Full-text available
The paper reflects upon recent international research at Zvejnieki in northern Latvia, a renowned complex of a burial ground and two settlement sites used in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. Since its discovery and first excavations in the 1960s, Zvejnieki continues to produce evidence that provides new grounds for understanding mortuary practises and...
Chapter
Full-text available
Our study of the Riņņukalns two-dimensional bird-shaped figurines and rib-bone knives with bird-shaped handles shows that birds were significant both in the daily practices and mortuary practices of hunter-gatherers. We observe that the first examples of bird-shaped figurines in the eastern Baltic appeared in the mortuary context, and thus these mi...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Riņņukalns shell midden, in northern Latvia, was first investigated by Count Sievers in the 1870s. Of special importance were four human burials, which were found under alleged intact layers of the Neolithic shell midden. Consequently Sievers considered these human remains, in contrast to early modern burials found in the topsoil, as the first...
Article
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.024 Aquatic food resources (fish and molluscs) were exploited intensively at Riņņukalns, a Neolithic freshwater shell midden at the outlet of Lake Burtnieks, north-eastern Latvia. Stable isotope data (δ15N and δ13C) from a rich fishbone assemblage and a wide range of terrestrial species complement publish...
Article
Full-text available
A major assemblage of Mesolithic and Neolithic wooden artefacts has been recovered from the bed of the River Užava at Sise, in the coastal belt of western Latvia. New archaeological investigation has also produced wooden remains and other evidence of occupation on the riverbank. On the basis of multi-proxy environmental data and radiocarbon dating,...
Article
Full-text available
The well-known Mesolithic cemeteries of Northern Europe have long been viewed as evidence of developing social complexity in those regions in the centuries immediately before the Neolithic transition. These sites also had important symbolic connotations. This study uses new and more detailed analysis of the burial practices in one of these cemeteri...
Article
Full-text available
The Neolithic site Rinnukalns in the Lake Burtnieks/River Salaca area in northern Latvia is the only freshwater shell midden in the eastern Baltic Sea area. An excavation carried out in 2011 revealed an intact stratigraphy with alternating layers of unburnt and burnt mussel shells and yielded various kinds of archaeological finds, among them severa...
Article
Full-text available
The prehistoric shell middens of Atlantic Europe consist of marine molluscs, but the eastern Baltic did not have exploitable marine species. Here the sole recorded shell midden, at Riņņukalns in Latvia, is on an inland lake and is formed of massive dumps of freshwater shells. Recent excavations indicate that they are the product of a small number o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Aquatic food resources (fish and molluscs) were exploited intensively at Rinnukalns, a Neolithic shell midden at the outlet of Lake Burtnieks, north-eastern Latvia (Berzins et al. in press). Stable isotope data from a rich fish-bone assemblage (Schmölcke et al. submitted) and isotope data from a wide range of terrestrial species complement results...
Article
Full-text available
ABSTRACT. Riņņukalns is the only known prehistoric shell midden in the eastern Baltic, and is one of the few middens in northern Europe consisting mainly of freshwater mussel shells. Situated on the Salaca River at the outlet of Lake Burtnieks, in northeastern Latvia, the site was originally excavated in the 1870s, and reinvestigated several times...
Article
Over 3000 prehistoric bone and antler artifacts, collected in the late 1930s from the former lakebed of Lake Lubāns, are held by the National History Museum of Latvia. 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. The most elaborately wo...
Article
Full-text available
The Rinnukalns shell midden in northern Latvia, dating from the 4th millennium cal. BC, the only known site of this kind in the East Baltic region, was extensively excavated in the late 19th century. A new archaeological excavation in 2011 showed that intact midden stratigraphy is still preserved. Mollusc shells from the midden layers were collecte...
Article
Full-text available
A total of 317 burials, mostly from the Stone Age, have been detected in the Zvejnieki archaeological complex in northern Latvia. Animal bones are often found in Zvejnieki graves. Some of them are modified into artefacts like pendants and can be associated with the human burials as grave goods. However, the behavioural interpretation of unmodified...
Article
A total of 45 subfossil reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) antlers and bones - artefacts excluded - have been found over the years in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The relatively high number of specimens suggests a stable residence of the species in the eastern Baltic region. For the first time, 12 of these finds were radiocarbon...
Article
Full-text available
The Zvejnieki Stone Age 1 complex in northern Latvia 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: more than 300 individuals interred over a period of at least four millennia. New results of archaeoz...
Article
Full-text available
The close association between dogs and people since early times has led some scholars to infer that dogs generally had the same diet as humans. In palaeodietary research where bone chemistry is employed, dogs have therefore sometimes been used as approximates for humans when human bone was not available. In this study, stable carbon and nitrogen is...

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Projects (4)
Project
Determine intensity of habitation at Upper Paleolithic site Avotiņi and collect new data about Paleolithic settlements on the banks of the River Lielupe, Latvia.
Project
The main objective of the project is to construct comprehensive knowledge of the manufacturing of products made of osseous raw materials (bone, antler and animal teeth) and the ways in which they were used among hunter-gatherer-fisher communities (Mesolithic and Subneolithic=Ceramic Mesolithic), inhabiting the area of the East Baltic Plain (territories of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the north-eastern part of Poland) in the Early and Middle Holocene. The limit date that closes the chronological scope of the project is the end of the 4th century cal BC, when as a result of the expansion of the Globular Amphora Culture (GAC) and the Corded Ware Culture (CWC), Subneolithic communities started to disappear. The area to be analysed is unique not only due to archaeological sites discovered there, with perfectly preserved Stone Age artefacts made of organic raw materials (long awaited to be examined and made accessible to a broader spectrum of readers – which is the main objective of the project). Its significance also lies in the fact that throughout the Early and Middle Holocene (i.e. from about 11.6 to 4-5 thousand years ago), it was situated as if on the borderline between two realms, namely, the Eastern European and the Western European, not only allowing ideas of each of these worlds to be transferred to the other, but also absorbing them. Therefore, it is a perfect place for studying the intensity, characteristics and profile of cultural changes occurring in the early- and mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer communities, whereas the use of artefacts made of osseous materials to this end will allow us to obtain previously unattainable information in this regard. The following detailed studies will be carried out under the project: 1. Studies on the scope of changes occurring in osseous raw material processing techniques and in the ways in which osseous products were used at specific developmental stages of hunter-gatherer communities of the analysed region, with particular emphasis on the role impulses from external environments played in these changes. The analysed development phases are (1) Mesolithic, (2) „subeolithization” – impulses from the area of eastern Europe, (3) stage of coexisting with the Middle Neolithic cultures of Central Europe, (4) neolithization – influence of the Late Neolithic communities of GAC and CWC. 2. Studies on the possibility of identifying and interpreting technological and functional discrepancies between collections of products that come from various sites/regions/archaeological cultures (research on regional organization and stratification of studied communities). 3. Comparative studies on the ways in which the products found in the settlement/household contexts and those deposited in graves were manufactured and used (research on the function of camps and rituals). 4. Technological and functional studies on the figurative art and ornaments of osseous objects. The project analyses collections of osseous products from the most important sites in this part of Europe, the vast majority of which have so far not been available for this type of research. The basic research tool used in the studies conducted as part of the project is the traceological method. Discovered residues will be subjected to physical-chemical analyses, involving e.g. SEM-EDX, GC-MS and ATR-FT-IR (and others). As for technological analyses of ornamented products, we expect to use Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). More important products will also be subjected to ZooMS and FTiR analyses (to identify the raw material that was used for their production).