Fortified settlements in the Eastern Baltic 1100–400 cal BC. Doctoral thesis in Lithuanian.
The aim of this thesis is to determine the timing of the emergence of early fortified settlements, the process of their spread in the Eastern Baltic, and the reasons for the changes in the behaviour of the communities between 1100 and 400 cal BC. The thesis examines data from 75 fortified settlements, analyses the inner structure of fortified settlements, and reviews the archaeological collections in the Baltic States. Based on the 14C dates, the first fortified settlements in the region were established as early as 1100-800 cal BC, and their network spread between 800-530/520 cal BC. This type of settlements were concentrated in the western part of the region, in the Daugava River basin, and in a wide stretch of the Baltic Uplands in north-eastern Lithuania and south-eastern Latvia. This distribution was the result of the increased need of the population to defend their accumulated wealth in the areas of the region where trade intensified. During the period under review, communities developed at least 6 different types of fortification systems: enclosures of irregularly placed wooden stakes, fences intertwined with branches, palisades, wooden walls, timber structures raised on ramparts and incorporated with stone walls. The economic differentiation of the communities that established fortified settlements in the Eastern Baltic region is most clearly seen in the zooarchaeological data. The species composition of livestock reared, and the importance of fishing and hunting varied in different areas of the region. Isotopic studies of food residues in pottery have shown that mostly food of terrestrial origin was cooked, which is related with developing agriculture in the region.