Kernave Archaeological site
The The Kernave Archaelogical site is situated in the valley of the River Neris. It represents an exceptional testimony to some 10 millennia of human settlements. In particular, it is an esemble of archaelogical properties, forts, unfortified settlements and burial sites. It also includes many other elements from the late Palaeolithic Period to the Middle Ages.
The site of 194,4 ha has preserved the traces of ancient land-use. In fact Kernave was an important feudal town in the Middle Ages. The spectacular complex of five hill forts dates back to the 13th century. During this time Kernave was an important feudal town of craftsmen and merchants who required the protection of such a complex defence system.
Outstanding Universal Value
In 2004, UNESCO added the Cultural Reserve of Kernave to the World Heritage List. Thus it recognized the site as an “Outstanding Universal Value”, according to the following criteria:
- Criterion (iii): “to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared“.
The archaeological site represents an exceptional testimony to the evolution of hum settlements in the Baltic region over ten millennia. The property has exceptional evidence of pantheistic and Christian funeral traditions.
- Criterion (iv): “to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history“.
In fact, the settlement patterns and the impressive hill-forts represent outstanding examples of the development of such types of structures. As well as the history of their use is emblematic of the pre-Christian era.
From Palaeolithic to 20th Century
Kernave Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernave) encompasses complex archaeological and historical sites and providing evidence of many settlement stages. In fact, the property of Kernave Archaeological Site incorporates all the elements that demonstrate the 11,000 years of continuous human use. There are 15 archaeological and 3 historical monuments, including the ancient settlements, the cemetery, the complex of 5 mounds. Furthermore, it contains numerous other monuments up to the 20th century. The Archaeological Site Museum stores and displays all the archaeological research material of Kernave.
The abandonment of this area at the end of the 14th century resulted afterwards in the natural preservation of the authenticity of the cultural elements, materials and landscape of the Kernave Archaeological Site. The systematic and extensive archaeological investigations carried out on site since 1979 provide exemplary scientific evidence of its unique qualities as a site of continuous human adaptation and use since the prehistoric times.
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.