Lithuanian Hill forts from the air

Lithuania's hill-forts are merely a small part of the great mass of fortifications which extended throughout the European continent during prehistoric and early historical times.

The purpose of this article is to assess possibilities for employing the methods of aerial archaeology in present-day hill-fort studies, as seen against the backdrop of a brief history of archaeological studies in Lithuania.

Interest in hill-forts, as witnesses of a heroic past, came to prominence during the late 19th century, in the course of the Lithuanian national liberation movement. Hill-forts became one of the means for forming a national identity in the context of the conflict between Lithuanians and the Teutonic Order, as evidenced in the historical sources of the 13th and 14th centuries. Leaders of the national liberation movement, with their keen interest in Lithuania's past, directed their attention to hill-forts. In the words of Dr. Jonas Basanavi Cius, one of the fathers of the 20th century state of Lithuania, "It was atop these hills, I can bravely state, that my Lithuanian identity became affirmed" (Zabiela, 1995, p. 20;Zabiela, Baubonis, 2005, p. 4).

The professional investigation of hill-forts has become closely identified with the name of L. Krzywicki, perhaps above all others in the history of Lithuania's archaeological sciences. Krzywicki began his survey and research work on hill-forts at the beginning of the 20th century (Kulikauskas, Zabiela, 1999, pp. 149-158). Of the 993 hill-forts that are located on Lithuania's current territory, many of them already disturbed, 184 have been investigated to one degree or another over the past hundred years (Zabiela, Baubonis,2005, pp. 4, 6).

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Author: Romas Jarockis

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Romas Jarockis

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