R. Banytė-Rowell | A. Čivilytė | V. Juodgalvis |  L. Kurila | G. PiličiauskasV. PodėnasA. Simniškytė-Strimaitienė | E. Svetikas | R. VengalisE. Pranckėnaitė

The origins of the Department of Archaeology of the Lithuanian Institute of History date back to 1941, to the establishment of the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. As a subdivision of the Institute – the Archaeology-Ethnography Sector – it has been operating since 1952, and in 1980 it became a separate Department of Archaeology. Currently, it is one of the largest archaeological research centres in Lithuania, with a staff of nine researchers, a laboratory assistant, and six doctoral students. Dr Laurynas Kurila has been in charge of this department since 2014.

Guided by the mission and objectives of the Lithuanian Institute of History, the Archaeology Department works in accordance with the research activities of the institute: archaeology of Lithuania and prehistoric research. The department is conducting a long-term institutional research programme ‘The Human and Lifestyle in Prehistoric and Early Historical Lithuania: Continuity and Change’ (since 2022) and has successfully completed a long-term programme ‘Millennia Before the State. Multi-layered Research on Prehistoric Communities’ (2017–2021). Six institutional research programmes have been implemented so far. Researchers of the department lead and participate in various international and national research projects. A total of 21 research projects have been carried out since 1994, some of them in cooperation with Lithuanian or foreign partners.

Research interests of the departmental staff encompass time from the Palaeolithic to the early modern period and a wide range of themes related to the adaptation of the natural environment, lifestyle, economy, technology, trade, social relations, customs, ideology, and the like. They contribute to the improvement of the methodology of archaeological investigations and the analysis of the material, analyse archival sources and publish their work. The available equipment and competences allow carrying out innovative trace evidence, ancient wood sample, ceramics and other tests, while the established inter-institutional cooperation relations facilitate investigation of themes based on interdisciplinary research in soil chemistry, metallography, stable isotopes, radiocarbon dating and others. The results of research are published in monographs, international Lithuanian and foreign research journals, presented at academic conferences and public events, and publicised in the press intended for professionals and for the general public.

The staff of the Archaeology Department carries out significant archaeological field research and surveys and publishes their results. They are conducted not only as part of research projects, but also as part of projects commissioned by economic subjects. For example, investigations have been carried out on the sites of the Lithuanian-Polish gas pipeline (GIPL) of strategic importance and on the sites of the Rail Baltica railway line, during which a number of archaeological sites were discovered and investigated.

Some of the department’s researchers are also involved in teaching: they lecture at Lithuanian universities, supervise doctoral students, and are invited to serve on doctoral dissertation defence councils. Participation in such expert activities as, for instance, in the work of the Scientific Archaeological Commission, in drafting or reviewing legislation, contributes to the protection of Lithuanian archaeological heritage.

The department publishes the international research journal Lietuvos archeologija (chief editor Dr Agnė Čivilytė), of which 47 volumes have been released so far.

The ongoing research and experimental development programme of the Department of Archaeology:

‘The Human and Lifestyle in Prehistoric and Early Historical Lithuania: Continuity and Change’, 2022–2026.

Research projects completed by the Department of Archaeology:

‘Exploring human mobility during the Stone and Bronze ages using the analysis of stable isotopes’ (Research Council of Lithuania, No. S-MIP-20-49, leader Dr Gytis Piličiauskas), 2020–2022.

‘The Late Bronze Age (1100–500 cal BC) Economy in the East Baltic Region: Towards a New Model (Research Council of Lithuania, No. S-MIP-20-46, leader Dr Agnė Čivilytė), 2020–2022.