Asaviec Family of Sites

Asaviec Family of Sites


The name Asaviec refers to the family of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, located South East from the village of Asaviec, Beshenkovichi district, Vitebsk oblast, in Northern Belarus.

Asaviec 1

Asaviec 1 is located about 2 km South of the village, on the left shore of Kryvinka River, on the Northern edge of the Kryvina Peatbog. Settlement was discovered and explored in 1934 by K.M. Palikarpovich. A thick layer of turf covered the cultural occupation layer, 1.5 m thick. Tools and ceramics that characterize Northern Belarusian Culture were uncovered here. Site is dated to 1st half of 2nd millennium B.C.

Asaviec 2

Asaviec 2 settlement dates to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age. It is located about 1.5 km South East from the village, beside Drazhnja River, on the northern edge of dried out turf massive (area of the settlement is cut by Kryvinka river and draining canals). The site, 80x250m, was located on a lower sandy platform that cut into the post-Ice Age lake. As a result of continuous rise in moisture in the environment and water levels in the lake, the platform became not suitable for inhabitation. Before middle of 2nd millennium B. C., people have moved out of the area. The settlement was discovered in 1966 and explored in 1960-1980s by M. Czarniauski. 300 sq. m. were excavated; a layer of turf was found to cover the occupational layer that was 1.3m thick. During the excavation, remains of domestic structures were found. Houses were of post-based construction, as their foundation consisted of a series of vertically sharpened posts, driven straight into the bedrock. On top, posts had fork-like tips that supported horizontal planks. The double-sloping roof, which served as walls at the same time, was supported by means of sharpened sticks, forcefully driven into the ground.

Inside the houses, there were open fire hearths located on sandy platforms positioned atop thick layers of bark.

Outside the houses, smaller hearths were found, likely places for wood working and firing of ceramic. Near the bottom of the occupational layer, several samples of worked bone, sherds of ceramic (with added shell fragments in clay paste) smooth-walled vessels, decorated by small cuts, punctures, combed motifs, and dents. These findings belong to the local variant of Narva Culture. Above this level in the occupational layer lay materials belonging to the Northern Belarusian Culture. They included fragments of clay (with mix of shell) sharp-based and circular vessels as well as flat- based vessels, goblets, and bowls of various sizes with stroked body surfaces.

Ornaments are distributed relatively evenly across whole vessel surfaces by repeated motifs of horizontal belts of cuts, combed motifs, strokes, dents and punctures. Flat-based vessels that contain plant stems in their clay paste are decorated mainly in the top part of the vessel by corded and linear stamp designs. Among numerous finds are: flint arrowheads (leaf-shaped, rhombic and triangular), spearheads, scrapers, knifes, blades, needles, axes, stone perforated axes and pick axes, as well as bone and antler (mainly flat) arrowheads, daggers, needles, axes, chisels, hammers, knifes from boar tusks, fish hooks and harpoons, spoons, tools for molding and decorating of pottery, remains of wooden canoes and oars, bowls, boards, bows and arrows, spears etc.

Numerous jewellery objects were also found. Among them are: pendants made of amber and perforated teeth and bone, buttons, tubes, rings; objects of ancient art, like wooden and bone figurines of people, animals and birds; engraved representations of people on surfaces of pots etc.

Dated to end of 3rd- 1st half of 2nd millennium B.C.

Asaviec 3

Asaviec 3 settlement dates to early Neolithic Age. It is situated about 1.8 km South East of the village, by the Bruskavishcha River, on western slope of a hill (significantly damaged by a carrier). Site was found in 1971 and explored in 1970-1980s by M. Czarniauski. 176 sq. m. were excavated. Among the finds were: flint leaf-shaped arrowheads, lengthy scrapers, bone needles, spindle-like and triangular arrowheads and tools used to make them. Ceramics are represented by fragments of vessels with pointed bottoms, with plants and shells added in the clay paste. They are decorated by wide-set strokes just under the edge of the rim, cuts, punctures and belts of deep indentations. Dated to 4th millennium B.C.

Around the village, there are several other settlements dating to Stone and Bronze ages.