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Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė)

Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė)

The Kernavė Archaeological site, about 35 km north-west of Vilnius in eastern Lithuania, represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements in this region. Situated in the valley of the River Neris, the site is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing the town of Kernavė, forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. The site of 194,4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use, as well as remains of five impressive hill forts, part of an exceptionally large defence system. Kernavė was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The town was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, however the site remained in use until modern times.

Site archéologique de Kernavė (Réserve culturelle de Kernavė)

Le site de Kernavė, dans l’est de la Lituanie à 35 km environ de Vilnius, représente le témoignage exceptionnel d’établissements humains dans la région sur une période de 10 000 ans. Situé dans la vallée de la Neris, le site est un ensemble complexe de biens archéologiques, historiques et culturels englobant la ville de Kernavė, des forts, des installations non fortifiées, des sites funéraires et d’autres monuments archéologiques depuis la fin du paléolithique jusqu’au Moyen Âge. Ce site de 194,4 ha conserve les traces d’anciennes occupations des sols ainsi que les vestiges de cinq collines fortifiées qui faisaient partie d’un système de défense d’une envergure exceptionnelle. Au Moyen Âge, Kernavė était une ville féodale importante. Elle fut détruite par l’ordre Teutonique à la fin du XIVe siècle, mais le site est resté en activité jusqu’à l’époque moderne.

الموقع الأثري في كيرنافي (المحمية الثقافية في كيرنافي)

 يمثّل موقع كيرنافي الذي يقع في شرق ليتوانيا والذي يبعد 35 كيلومترًا تقريبًا عن فيلنيوس، الشاهد بامتياز على المنشآت التي قام بها الإنسان في المنطقة على مدار 10000 سنة. فهذا الموقع الذي يقع في وادي نيريس هو مجموعة مركبة من الثروات الأثريّة والتاريخيّة والثقافيّة التي تتضمَّن مدينة كيرنافي وعدة قلاع وإمدادات غير محصّنة ومواقع مأتميّة ونصب أثرية أخرى منذ نهاية العصر الحجري حتى العصور الوسطى. وقد حافظ هذا الموقع الذي تصل مساحته إلى 194.4 هكتار على آثار احتلالات الأراضي القديمة، بالإضافة إلى آثار خمس تلال محصنة كانت جزءًا من نظام الدفاع الواسع النطاق. في العصور الوسطى، كانت كيرنافي مدينةً إقطاعيّةً مهمّةً دمّرها النظام التوتوني في نهاية القرن الرابع عشر، ولكن الموقع تابع نشاطه حتى العصر الحديث.

source: UNESCO/ERI

克拿维考古遗址(克拿维文化保护区)

克拿维考古遗址位于立陶宛东部,在维尔纽斯西北约35公里处,是该地区人类居住约10 000年历史的特别例证。遗址群坐落在涅里斯河谷地,包括克拿维城、堡垒、一些未设防的居住地、墓地和从旧石器时代晚期到中世纪时其他的考古、历史和文化遗迹。该遗址面积为194.4公顷,保留有古代土地使用的遗迹,还有五个山上堡垒(大型防御系统的一部分)的残留部分。克拿维是中世纪一个重要的封建城镇。 虽然该城在14世纪晚期受到条顿骑士团规约的破坏,但是直到现代还在继续使用中。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Археологические памятники культурного резервата Кярнаве

Этот комплексный объект, расположенный в долине реки Нярис, включает археологические остатки древнего города Кярнаве, фортов, нескольких неукрепленных поселений, а также захоронений и иных памятников, относящихся к периоду времени от позднего палеолита до средневековья. Здесь можно наблюдать следы древнего землепользования, а также остатки пяти древних укрепленных городищ, являющихся частью мощной оборонительной системы. Кярнаве был важным феодальным городом в Средние века. И хотя город был разрушен рыцарями Тевтонского Ордена в конце XIV в., это место еще было населено на протяжении длительного времени.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Sitio arqueológico de Kernavė (Reserva cultural de Kernavė)

El sitio arqueológico de Kernavė se halla en la parte oriental de Lituania, a unos 35 kilómetros al noroeste de Vilna, y constituye un testimonio excepcional de los asentamientos humanos en la región a lo largo de un periodo de diez mil años. Emplazado en el valle del río Neris, este sitio está integrado por un conjunto de vestigios arqueológicos, históricos y culturales, entre los que figuran: la ciudad de Kernavė, una serie de fortificaciones, varios asentamientos no fortificados, diversos centros funerarios y otros monumentos arqueológicos cuya datación va del Paleolítico hasta la Edad Media. El sitio se extiende por una superficie de 194,5 hectáreas y conserva huellas de poblamientos muy antiguos, así como los restos de cinco colinas fortificadas que formaban parte de un sistema de defensa de envergadura excepcional. Kernavė fue una ciudad feudal de gran importancia en la Edad Media y siguió siendo escenario de actividades hasta la época moderna, a pesar de que fue destruida por la Orden Teutónica a finales del siglo XIV.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ケルナヴェ古代遺跡(ケルナヴェ文化保護区)
ケルナヴェ考古遺跡は、リトアニア東部、ヴィルニュスの北西約35㎞に位置するネリス川の渓谷にある。考古遺跡の集合体であるこの遺跡には、旧石器時代後期から中世までの要塞や防備体制のない居住集落、墓地遺跡およびその他の埋蔵遺跡が、ケルナヴェの町を取り囲むように存在している。この地域には、たぐいまれな規模の防衛体制のない居住集落、墓地遺跡およびその他の埋蔵遺跡が、ケルナヴェの町を囲むように存在している。この地域には、たぐいまれな規模の防衛体制の一部でもる、丘の上にある5つの見事な砦とともに、古代の土地利用の様子も保存されている。中世には重要な封建都市であったケルナヴェは、14世紀後期にチュートン騎士団によって破壊されたが、この地域は現代まで使用され続けている。

source: NFUAJ

Archeologisch gebied Kernavė (Cultuurreservaat van Kernavė)

Het archeologische gebied Kernavė ligt 35 kilometer ten noordwesten van Vilnius, in de vallei van de Neris rivier. De plek getuigt van circa 10.000 jaar menselijke bewoning. In het 194,4 hectare grote gebied bevinden zich sporen van het vroegere gebruik van het land en overblijfselen van vijf indrukwekkende heuvelforten, onderdeel van een uitzonderlijk groot afweersysteem. De stad Kernavė was een belangrijke feodale stad in de Middeleeuwen. De stad werd verwoest door de Duitse orde in de late 14e eeuw. De stad heeft forten, onversterkte nederzettingen, begraafplaatsen en andere archeologische, historische en culturele monumenten uit de periode van het laat Paleolithische tijdperk tot aan de middeleeuwen.

Source: unesco.nl

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Kernavė Archaeological Site, situated in the valley of the River Neris in eastern Lithuania, provides evidence of human settlements spanning some 10 millennia. Covering an area of 194.4 ha, the property contains archaeological evidence of ancient land use from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages. It comprises a complex ensemble of archaeological elements, including the town of Kernavė, a unique complex of impressive hill forts, unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archaeological, historical and cultural monuments.

The property contains an extraordinarily rich concentration of archaeological evidence, encompassing natural processes of glacial retreat within a long and continuous period of human occupation and activity. The earliest evidence of human occupation between the 9th and 8th millennia B.C., and subsequent permanent inhabitation until the Late Middle Ages, can be found in several cultural layers and burial sites. The spectacular complex of five hill forts dates back to the 13th century, when Kernavė was an important feudal town of craftsmen and merchants who required the protection of such a complex defence system. The town of Kernavė was destroyed by the Teutonic Order in the late 14th century, but the site continued to be used until modern times. 

Criterion (iii): The archaeological site of Kernavė presents an exceptional testimony to the evolution of human settlements in the Baltic region over the period of some ten millennia. The property has exceptional evidence of pantheistic and Christian funeral traditions.

Criterion (iv): The settlement patterns and the impressive hill-forts represent outstanding examples of the development of such types of structures and the history of their use in the pre-Christian era. 

Integrity

Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė) encompasses complex archaeological and historical sites and providing evidence of many settlement stages. The property incorporates all elements that demonstrate the 11,000 years of continuous human use that underpins its Outstanding Universal Value. There are 15 archaeological and 3 historical monuments in the territory of the Cultural Reserve of Kernavė, including the ancient settlements of Kernavė; Kernavė cemetery; the complex of 5 mounds and ancient settlements of the old town of Kernavė and numerous other monuments up to the 20th century. All the archaeological research material (movable cultural property) is stored and displayed in the Archaeological Site Museum of Kernavė.

The Management Plan includes a buffer zone comprising an additional 2455.2 ha, divided into two subsections which make provisions for the physical and visual protection of the property and aim to isolate the Cultural Reserve and associated elements from any negative impacts of activities outside of the Cultural Reserve. Prior to the establishment of the Cultural Reserve in 1989, the lower terrace was used for economic activities such as land cultivation, small-scale developments, pasturages for cattle and traffic). These activities are now prohibited and the remaining settlement is maintained in accordance with the restrictions of heritage protection. 

Authenticity

Kernavė Archaeological Site has a high degree of authenticity with regard to its location, its individual elements and the rich archaeological evidence found within the property. The prehistoric and medieval cultural elements of the Kernavė Archaeological Site remain intact because most of the area was abandoned at the end of the 14th century, with later settlements established to the north.

This resulted in the natural preservation of the authenticity of the cultural elements, materials and landscape of the Kernavė Archaeological Site. The systematic and extensive archaeological investigations carried out on site since 1979 have significantly added to knowledge about the property, and provide exemplary scientific evidence of its unique qualities as a site of continuous human adaptation and use since the prehistoric times. The associated excavated materials and movable cultural heritage objects are kept in the archaeological museum, further presenting the authenticity of both Kernavė’s movable and immovable heritage.

Potential impacts on the property’s authenticity may arise from the increase of cultural tourism in the region.

Archaeological research performed from 1979 examined only about 2% of the territory of the Cultural Reserve of Kernavė and had no negative impact on the authenticity of the monuments. In accordance with the methods on protection and management of immovable valuables, various preventive actions were taken since 1985 at the archaeological site. 

Protection and management requirements

Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė) – hereinafter: the Cultural Reserve – was established as a protected territory, with the highest protection status under a decree of the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania. There are 15 archaeological and 3 historical monuments in the territory of the Cultural Reserve of Kernavė that are included in the Register of Cultural Property of Lithuania. The entire Cultural Reserve is in the exclusive ownership of the State, which is managed and used by the Administration of the State Cultural Reserve of Kernavė (hereinafter: – the Administration) under trust. Business activities are prohibited within the territory, except for works related to scientific research or adaptation of the site for visiting purposes. The activities within the Cultural Reserve are regulated by a range of legal acts that make provision for heritage protection. These include the Republic of Lithuania Law on Protected Territories, Law on Immovable Cultural Heritage Protection, the Laws on the Land, on Construction, on Territory Planning, and the Cultural Reserve Statute approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Administration is a State Cultural institution financed from the State budget, and administered by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. It is responsible for the protection of the Cultural Reserve and the maintenance of the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property. The Administration organises activities and implements its goals in accordance with the Statute approved by the Minister of Culture. The Head of the Administration (Site Manager) is advised by an Advisory Council appointed by the Minister of Culture, and benefits from their input on matters including the protection and maintenance of the Cultural Reserve, scientific and archaeological research programmes, the development of visitor infrastructure and the activities within the Cultural Reserve and its buffer zone.

The Cultural Reserve buffer zone and its territory were approved by resolution of the Seimas (Parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania. The buffer zone was established in order to shield the cultural values of the Cultural Reserve from the physical, visual or social impacts and assure the general ecological balance. In 2005, the Minister of Culture approved an individual protection regulation for the Cultural Reserve buffer zone, which established the requirements for natural and legal entities engaged in business activities and construction. The regulations make provision for the Administration, in cooperation with the State and municipality institutions that administer the territories, to coordinate and control the implementation of all projects that take place in the buffer zone of the Cultural Reserve. In 2009, a Special Plan of the Cultural Reserve was approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. This strategic document outlines the management and long-term maintenance measures for the Archaeological Site of Kernavė to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property.

In 2011, the Cultural Reserve has been given "enhanced protection" status which is one of the features of the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Long Description

The archaeological site of Kernavė offers exceptional testimony to the evolution of human settlements in the Baltic region in Europe over some 10 millennia, with evidence of the contact of pagan and Christian funeral traditions. The settlement patterns and the impressive hill forts are outstanding examples of the development of such types of structures and the history of their use in the pre-Christian era.

The earliest traces of inhabitants have been discovered at the River Neris in the Pajauta valley. The representatives of the Swiderian culture, late Palaeolithic hunters, came here in the 9th-8th millennia BC, followed by more settlements in the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, due to the river rich in fish and the vast hunting terrain on the upper terrace of the Neris.

The early centuries of the Christian era have been called the golden age in the culture of the Baltic people. The development of iron-making from bog ore and the intensification of agriculture and stockbreeding accounted for demographic growth. From the 1st to the 4th centuries AD, large settlements were scattered over the banks of the Neris and in the Pajauta valley. Some hills were adapted to defence (Aukuro Kalnas, Mindaugo Sostas, Lizdeikos Kalnas hill forts). During the great migration of peoples at the end of the Roman period, the wooden fortifications of Aukuro Kalnas were burnt down by nomads, and the settlements in the Pajauta valley were deserted. The climate deteriorated; ground water rose, and living in the valley was no longer possible. New settlements were established on the upper terraces of the river in the vicinity of the hill forts. The ancient tribal centre became an important feudal castle at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries. The residence of a duke was set up on Aukuro Kalnas, the other hill forts serving for defence. Craftsmen and merchants settled down at the hill forts. By the mid-13th century Kernavė was a feudal town. The craftsmen working for the ducal court inhabited the upper part of the town on the Pilies Kalnas hill fort. Specialized craftsmen lived in the lower town in Pajauta valley.

The burial ground was situated outside the town in the Kriveikiškis hill fort. Funeral customs, as well as the discovered cerecloths, reflect not only the traditions of the last pagan state in Europe, but also attest to the influence of neighbouring Christian countries. The most flourishing period of medieval Kernavė was from the end of the 13th to the first half of the 14th centuries. It was one of the major towns of Lithuania, as well as a grand ducal residence. In 1365, it was attacked and devastated by the Teutonic Order. Another assault by the same order finally destroyed the ancient capital of Lithuania in 1390. The town and the castles were never rebuilt. The inhabitants settled on the uppermost terrace on the site of the present town. The remains of the ancient town were covered with thick alluvial deposit, conserving even organic remains.

The landscape in this region consists of sandy hills formed during the retreat of the last glacier. Land use is characterized by hayfields and pinewoods. The lowest parts of the valley are partly marshland. Kernavė is a complex ensemble of archaeological properties, encompassing five hill forts, some unfortified settlements, burial sites and other archeological monuments dating from the late Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages. In the centre of the cultural reserve, at the edge of the upper terrace, there are four hill forts standing beside each other.

The settlements, a burial site and historical monuments dating back to the Iron Age occupy the remaining part of the upper terrace. At the foot of the hill forts, in Pajauta Valley (c . 25 ha), there are the remains of the medieval town of Kernavė under the alluvial deposits of the River Neris. The unfortified settlements and burial sites of the Stone and Iron Ages were situated close to the river in the narrow stretch of the riverside. The largest burial site of the 13th-14th centuries is located on the upper terrace of the river Neris, northwards from the Kriveikiškis hill fort. The later periods of history are represented by the sites of Kriveikiškis (15th-19th centuries), Kernavė II (15th-20th centuries), the estate of Kriveikiškis (15th-20th centuries), the old church of Kernavė (15th-19th centuries) and related sites.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description
[in French only]

La première référence fiable faite à Kernavė remonte à 1279, date à partir de laquelle le site fut ensuite mentionné dans divers contes et légendes. Depuis vingt-cinq ans, l'histoire du site a fait l'objet de recherches archéologiques qui ont contribué à clarifier certains aspects particuliers des premières occupations.

Les premières traces d'habitats ont été découvertes le long de la Neris, dans la vallée de Pajauta. Des hommes appartenant à la culture swidérienne, des chasseurs de la fin du paléolithique, sont venus dans cette région aux IXe- VIIIe millénaires avant notre ère, suivis par d'autres occupants au mésolithique et au néolithique, attirés par la rivière poissonneuse et les vastes espaces de chasse des plateaux surplombant la Neris.

Les premiers siècles de notre ère sont appelés l'Âge d'or de la culture des peuples de la Baltique. Le développement de la fabrication du fer à partir du minerai des marais et l'intensification de l'agriculture et de l'élevage ont entraîné une augmentation démographique. Du Ier au IVe siècle de notre ère, de grandes occupations humaines se sont éparpillées sur plusieurs kilomètres le long des rives de la Neris et dans la vallée de Pajauta. Certaines collines étaient adaptées à la défense (Aukuro Kalnas, Mindaugo Sostas et Lizdeikos Kalnas). Pendant les grandes migrations des peuples à la fin de la période romaine, les fortifications en bois d'Aukuro Kalnas furent brûlées par des peuples nomades, probablement par les Huns, et les sites occupés dans la vallée de Pajauta furent désertés. Le climat se détériora également, le niveau de l'eau s'éleva et la vie dans la vallée devint impossible. Les hommes s'installèrent sur la terrasse supérieure du fleuve, à proximité des collines fortifiées.

Le centre des tribus anciennes devint un château féodal important au tournant des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. Une résidence ducale s'établit à Aukuro Kalnas, les autres collines fortifiées servant de défense. Des artisans et des marchands s'installèrent sur les collines fortifiées. Au milieu du XIIIe siècle, Kernavė était une ville féodale. Les artisans travaillant pour la cour ducale habitaient dans la ville haute sur la colline fortifiée Pilies Kalnas. Des artisans spécialisés vivaient dans la ville basse dans la vallée de Pajauta. Chaque établissement artisanal (7 à 9 acres), composé de plusieurs bâtiments (une maison d'habitation et deux ou trois ateliers), était entouré de hauts murs. Le cimetière était situé à l'extérieur de la ville sur la colline fortifiée de Kriveikiškis. Les coutumes funéraires ainsi que les vestiges cérémoniels retrouvés témoignent non seulement des traditions du dernier État païen d'Europe, mais ils attestent aussi de l'influence des pays chrétiens voisins.

La période la plus florissante de la Kernavė médiévale se déroule de la fin du XIIIe siècle à la première moitié du XIVe siècle. Kernavė était une des principales villes de Lituanie, ainsi qu'une résidence ducale. En 1365, elle fut attaquée et dévastée par l'ordre Teutonique. Un deuxième assaut du même agresseur détruisit totalement l'ancienne capitale de Lituanie en 1390. La ville et les châteaux ne furent jamais reconstruits. Les habitants s'établirent sur la terrasse supérieure, sur le site de la ville actuelle. Les vestiges de l'ancienne ville ont été recouverts de dépôts d'alluvion très épais, qui conservent même les restes organiques. La vie dans la vallée de Pajauta et sur les collines fortifiées a pris fin brusquement, de sorte que le site est demeuré une ressource archéologique jusqu'à nos jours. Rien ne fut jamais reconstruit dans la vallée de Pajauta ; la majeure partie de ce territoire est couverte de pâturages et de prairies. Certaines actions de mise en valeur du sol ont été entreprises en 1966 et 1986, mais les découvertes archéologiques y ont mis fin. Toutes les activités agricoles, à l'exception des prairies à fourrage, ont été interdites au moment de la création de la réserve en 1989.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation
Activities (1)