Archaeological monuments of Gelvonai environs

Manvydas Vitkūnas

The article describes the archaeological monuments and mythological sites in the area of the former Gelvonai Valsčius. This area and the nearby environs are rather rich in archaeological monuments. They represent nearly all prehistorical and historical epochs–from the Stone Age to the Late Middle Ages and the Modern Times. The Stone Age and Early Metal Period is represented by old dwelling sites. The Iron Age is seen in barrows and mounds, while the Middle Age is reflected in mounds and remains of settlements and old burial sites. During the Iron Age and the period when the Lithuanian State was being formed, there was a rather dense network of castles and settlements in the micro-region of the Širvinta River lower reaches. Less burial monuments of this period remained (only Labūnava, Vanagiškiai and Padaigai barrow. In the Middle Ages this land was rather densely populated, as is witnessed also by the written sources. Some settlements of this land (Gelvonai, Labūnava) are mentioned already in the 14th century. So, population of the Širvinta River lower reaches and adjacent areas, which began millennia ago already in the Stone Age and the early metal period, had never ceased but was constantly developing up to the our times. Investigations of the archaeological monuments in the Gelvonai environs are going on from 1921, but up to now, only some archaeological monuments are investigated: i.e., old settlements of Samantonys and Kunigiškiai, Vanagiškiai barrow and Raudonka mound. Many other investigations were only of an exploratory type.