The Daujėnai barrow area

Mykolas Michelbertas

Daujėnai barrows in Pasvalys District of north-east Lithuania are situated in the area of former Seloniain (Sėliai) tribes. It was investigated in 1970 by an archaeological expedition of the then Vilnius Pedagogical Institute.

There are four nearly intact barrows and the remains of one in the Daujėnai area. All they were studied, and 22 graves of the second half of the Early Iron Age and the beginning of the Middle Iron Age were found.

The Daujėnų barrows were formed of bulked soil, i.e. sand containing much clay, from the nearby area. The base of the bulk was found to contain a 5–10-cm thick layer of charcoal, burnt material and ashes indicating some ceremonies with fire. At the bulk margins there were irregular circle-form wreaths of nearly round or oval stones of various size.

The dead were laid in the Daujėnai barrows not burnt, faces up, outstretched. There was no common direction in position of the buried dead. One grave was found with traces of gouged out wooden coffin.

Believing in the next world, various cerements were put at the dead person depending on the latter’s sex. There were more than 40 cerement things found in Daujėnai. Some men graves were found with weapons, such as flared iron spearheads, as well as work tools: socketed and narrow-edged butt axes, hatchets, various knives and a brass bracelet. The cerements in women graves consisted of a headband of brass spirals, dividing plates and a large spiral in occipital region (barrow IV, grave No. 3), various necklaces of spirals, glass and enamel beads, crescent pendants, brass necklaces of several types, bracelets, remains of various pins with chainlets, iron sickles and awls. The woman’s grave No. 3 in the barrow IV was the richest in cerements with an iron spearhead as a very rare find for women graves.

The earliest finds in the Daujėnai barrows are dated as the second half of the 2nd age, while the latest finds belong to the 5th or 5-6th ages. The things found in the graves were produced by local craftsmen, but some imported things also reached the Daujėnai community, e.g., glass and enamel beads manufactured in Roman provinces.