Valdomai burial ground

Birutė Salatkienė

Remains of Valdomai burial ground are located in the area of Valdomai Village (Gruzdžiai Neighbourhood, Šiauliai District) in the eastern part of a former manor on a hill north of Vilkvedis Rivulet. It had been known for the locals from the beginning of the 20th century, but archaeologists found it only in 1955. All this time the burial ground was being disturbed. Antiquity lovers, even teachers with their pupils used to search for rarities; while local people dug sand and made pits to store potatoes for winter. The Valdomai Manor homestead had been built in the area of the burial site. After the WWII, the kolkhoz erected here its farm buildings.

The investigations of the Valdomai burial ground were carried on in three periods: in 1955 by Julius Naudužas, in 1963 by Adolfas Tautavičius, and in 1989 by the author of the present paper. However, it had never been listed as an archaeology monument protected by the state, since it was thought to be absolutely destroyed and having no monument value. The table presented below shows the course of investigations of the burial ground and the results obtained. 

The investigations of the Valdomai burial ground


Area explored (m2)

Number of graves

 Number of finds in the graves

Number of  random finds
















Random finds in the school of Gruzdžiai




 ~ 10–15 (?) 
(partly lost) 





  28 (43?)

The investigations of the Valdomai burial ground showed that the dead were buried in rows in the 0.35–1.0 m deep quadrangular pits with rounded angles. The dead were laid on their backs, with outstretched legs and hands folded over the chest or waist. Women and men bodies were oriented mainly in northwest and southeast directions, correspondingly, with rich burial items. The ornaments in the graves were found in a manner they were worn: caps were on the head, neck-rings and strings were on the neck, brooches and pins were on the chest, and rings were on fingers. The knives in women graves were hung at the waist or put at the shoulder. Spears in men graves were laid along the grave with the spearheads at the head, swords at the legs aslant the grave, spurs fastened to the left leg. 

The weapons, working tools and ornaments found in Valdomai are typical of the North Central Lithuanian burial sites. These are neck-rings with a loop-and-hook as well as saddle-shaped terminals, crossbow poppy-seed-shaped brooches, pins with ring and triangular heads as well as cruciform pins, massive and spiral bracelets. These finds indicate that the Valdomai burial ground was left by the Semigallian community that inhabited this area in the 9th–12th centuries. Other graves found on the southern part of the hill were related to the 16th–17th centuries. Thus, the area was constantly inhabited for about 700–800 years. Foundation of the Valdomai manor homestead on the burial site indicates that the latter had already been forgotten during the construction period.