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The First People of Lithuania

The territory which Lithuania encompasses today was settled relatively late as most of Northern Europe had been covered with glaciers throughout the Ice Age. Eventually, the ice withdrew to Scandinavia, and only around twelve thousand years before our day did the land become inhabitable.

The first people to settle there were mostly reindeer hunters. They migrated in small groups from the southwestern shores of the Baltic sea (Denmark, Northern Germany and Northern Poland) and from the south (currently Poland and Byelorussia). These people belonged to the late Paleolithic Magdalenian and Swidry cultures which later evolved into the Neolithic Kunda-Narva and Nemunas cultures (3500-2500 BC). These ancient European societies were either matrilineal or divided roles equally between men and women. They were distinguished by their ceramics, sculpture and temple architecture. Weapons and horses were unknown to these cultures. These people worshipped a pantheon of female gods, and in general were peaceful and sedentary. Hunting and fishing were their main means of existence as agriculture was just beginning to develop at that time.

The peoples of the Nemunas and Narva cultures maintained contacts with northern and eastern Europe as well as with Indo-European central Europe. There many amber objects imported from the Baltic sea's shores were found during archaeological excavations.



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Next: The Formation of the Baltic Tribes Previous: Population

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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