THE JUODONIAI HILLFORT SETTLEMENT: CHRONOLOGICAL AND STRUCTURAL CHANGES
Andra Simniðkytë
Summary
fact group was also supplemented with crutch-like (2nd half of
the 7th8th C.) and many of the crook-like pins (fig. 3:5). All of
the other datable artefacts were LIA (Late Iron Age) finds, many
of whose chronology was sufficiently substantiated, thus they
are not discussed separately. The chronology of the semicircular
bone spindle (fig. 3:7), hafted spearhead, a throwing spears point
sometimes called 6th7th C. ploughshare, knife-sickle, raised additional
doubts which also were adjusted. The dating of single
composite bone combs (fig. 3:1), a comb case (fig. 3:2), bronze
belt buckle, tweezers, parts of neck-chest ornaments which were
not discussed in earlier publications also was defined more precisely.
Having discussed and adjusted the identity and chronology
of some artefacts, the distribution of the artefacts was evaluated
with the help of computer programs, preceded by a division of
all the artefacts into several categories according to (1) the material
from which they were made and (2) the artefacts function.
In both cases, the categories were marked by 3 variant symbols
which stood for 3 chronological groups of artefacts: (a)
undatable and chronologically unclear long-use artefacts: work
tools, artefact fragments, clay beads, bone amulets, etc., whose
dating became clear later; (b) MIA artefacts; © LIA artefacts.
Having evaluated the cultural layers content in its entirety
and in separate 10 cm thick sublayers (fig. 59), an uneven vertical
and horizontal spread was noticed; this marked the settlements
abundant activity zones and characterized the sequence
of the cultural layers formation. Three stages were distinguished:
(A), (BC), and ©, as well as 3 of their influence zones in
the southern, northern, and central parts of the settlement. Since
almost all of the artefacts upon whose basis the sequence and
changes in human activity were established were found in one
continuous horizon without any intermediate layers, the artefacts
character along with the dynamics of their density were
among the more important criteria for distinguishing the development
of activity.
Two stages with artefacts of different character were distinguished
in the settlements southern section: the lower (A) and
the upper (BC). The (A) stage, located at a depth of approximately
80/90150 cm was characterized by the (a) chronological
group of finds, among which was an especially large amount of
bone-horn and clay artefacts and their fragments (fig. 10), which
comprise 80% of all artefacts in the Nr. 1 and Nr. 2 plots. Aside
from the rare comb-pendants which deserve a master-made label
and their blanks, almost all of the bone-horn and clay artefacts
belonged to the work tool group. The artefact types (there
are especially many darning needles and spindles, 5 clay beads)
were evidence of intensive household activity, which is customarily
assumed to have been carried out by women. The northern
boundary of this activity was marked by an approximately
Juodoniø piliakalnio gyvenvietë. Chronologiniai ir struktûriniai pokyèiai
156
0.40.5 m high and 2 m wide natural rise in the terrain in plot
Nr. 3 (fig. 7A). It would undoubtedly be unsuitable to equate
the (A) stages relics with that time periods settlement boundaries.
Only in other localities was that sort of activity apparently
not dominant and left a slight trace. The (A) stage was one of
the MIA phases which, according to the small amount of its (b)
chronological group finds and their stratigraphy can be dated to
the end of the 6thmiddle of the 7th C.
After a short-term reorganization, the (A) stage was changed
by the (BC) stage with its characteristic (a), (b), and ©
group artefacts. Some of the artefacts were analogous to those
found in the lower stage, which allows the beginning of the
(BC) stage to be defined as the 2nd half of the 7th C. The amount
of metal artefacts, especially metal ornaments and their fragments,
increased considerably. The number of metal things (60%) increased
at the expense of small bone-horn artefacts (10%) (fig. 6).
However, with a change in the artefact material percentages and
an increase in the amount of metal things, the finds in the group
with a household function remained, as had been the case previously,
more numerous (50%, ornaments 35%) (fig. 8). The jointly
found MIA (8) and LIA (17) artefacts considerably expanded
the stages chronological boundaries, but limited the ability of formalizing
the various substages of this stage.
Only one (BC) stage was distinguished in the settlements
northern section. Abundant activity also began in the investigated
settlements northern section in the 2nd half of the 7th C.
Although they are not particularly clear, certain differences can
nevertheless be detected between the settlements contemporary
northern and southern sections. Foremostly, slightly more finds
with an applied function (47%) were found in the northern section
than work tools (43%) (fig. 8). There are also differences in
the percentages of things made from certain materials: from
clay (23% in the southern section and 6% in the northern section),
from metal (28% and 53%, respectively) (fig. 6). 50% of
the entire settlements iron awls were concentrated in the northern
section. Meanwhile there is an especially large amount of
iron knives (75%) and spindles (47%) in the southern section
artefacts which were not found at all in the northern section
(except for 2 spindles) (fig. 11).
Based on the artefacts character, relationship, and chronology,
the assumption is made that the contents of the (BC) stage
reflect various time-transgressive changes within the MIA
and LIA, effectively erasing the boundaries between the periods
themselves. The contemporaneity of the settlements northern
and southern sections notwithstanding, they were separate activity
areas, which is confirmed by the different artefact types and
their character according to their functions or materials.
The © stage. The latest traces of activity (9th/10th13th C.)
were found in the excavated settlements central section. This is
the period exclusively of the LIA with solely © group artefacts.
Their vast majority consisted of bronze ornaments.
The dispersion of the foot settlement over the course of the
centuries speaks of the sequence of cultural layer formation: the
earliest traces of activity (end of the 6thmiddle of the 7th C.) are
found in the settlements southern section. Soon thereafter (2nd
half of the 7th C.) a new stage of life (BC) began during which
household activity continued in the settlements southern section
and was newly taken up in the settlements northern section.
They were, at least during the MIA period, separated by an
intensively unused space in the economic sphere. That space
was settled later, approximately in the 10th C. A.D. Late Iron
Age traces are already found in all of the excavated plots.
By virtue of the finds planigraphy, it was possible to distinguish
changes in the structure of the investigated part of the
settlement. The structural changes are noticeable not only by
the content of the noncontemporaneous stages, but also in the
(BC) stages differential traces of activity in the settlements
northern and southern sections.
This revision of the view of the Juodoniai hillfort and settlement
material revealed a nonconsecutive development of life in
the sites environs, contrary to the earlier declared cultural continuity.
It became clear that when the settlers abandoned the
hillfort in the 1st quarter of the 1st millenium, its base was not
settled immediately, but rather only a few centuries later. The
changes that occurred in the hillforts surroundings coincided
with cultural changes: in the 1st quarter of the 1st millenium A.D.,
Northeast Lithuanias Stroked Pottery culture was replaced by
North Lithuanias and South Latvias Stone-Wreathed Barrow
culture, whose elements (barrows with stone wreaths) became
the representative features of the land in the 2nd quarter of the
1st millenium A.D. Their abundance in the 3rd4th C. is inversely
proportional to the shortage of settlements. The crisis apparent
in the Juodoniai hillfort and settlement material of the 3rdend
of the 4th C. erases one of the few possibilities that at least a
portion of the Stone-Wreathed Barrow culture took up residence
in foot settlements. Although one of the articles aims was
geared toward an explanation of the crises apparent in the
burial sites material in the 2nd half of the 5th C. to the end of the
6th C. (Simniðkytë A. 2001) by virtue of the long-lived settlement
areas data, an even longer pause became apparent as a result.
Both catastrophic periods coincided only with the final phase
of the Stone-Wreathed Barrow culture. Based on the Baltic regions
archaeological experience, the reasons for the distinct disproportions
between the burial sites and settlements in the 1st
milleniums 2nd quarter should be sought not in some special
life-style, but in a limited research methodology. A simultaneous
effort must be made to fill in its gaps by intensifying new site
surveys and with the aid of environmental science methods.
A qualitatively new stage of life began in the Juodoniai
foot settlement at the end of the 6th C. True, it was still not the
culmination of the regions prosperity. The MIA here is represented
by only 4 artefact groups, while the LIA by 19 groups.
Of course, not having evaluated the changing environmental,
geopolitical, social, or technological conditions over the course
of the centuries which caused the standard of living at that
time, it is not possible to straightforwardly interpret this arithmetic.
It is only clear that the Juodoniai hillfort, which has
usually figured in the literature as a Middle Iron Age site, lived
through both of these periods, until in the 2nd half of the 13 C.
it ceased to exist.


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