Living in wetlands in the southeastern Baltic region during the Late Bronze to early Iron Age: the archaeological context of the Luokesa lake settlements
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- Pranckėnaitė, E. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2014) 23: 341. doi:10.1007/s00334-014-0462-2
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The prehistoric lake settlement tradition is spread far beyond the region of the Alps, and it has been known for a long time that lake settlements are not a characteristic of one particular area. The present paper presents the results of the first comprehensive, interdisciplinary investigations of such types of sites in Lithuania, the two lake settlements at Lake Luokesa (Luokesai ežeras). They were excavated with underwater archaeology techniques between 2000 and 2011. They are Late Bronze to early Iron Age transition (LBA–EIA) in date and were probably built and inhabited during a short period between 625 and 535 cal bc. The excavated archaeological material contains a wealth of well-preserved wooden architectural details and other organic materials. Therefore, the importance and unique character of these sites is beyond question. This paper gives an overview of the history of research on lake settlements in northeastern Europe. In addition, the archaeological material of the LBA–EIA settlements at Lake Luokesa is evaluated in the context of the other lake settlements in the southeastern Baltic region. Existing hypotheses and interpretations of the origins, development and use of the lake settlements of this region are discussed. All the investigations which have been done, including archaeobotany, palynology, dendrochronology and geoarchaeology, provide data for a well-grounded interpretation and reconstruction of the Luokesa lake settlements.