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Medieval soldier found

Maritime archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a medieval soldier from the underwater slope of Lake Asveja in eastern Lithuania. Personal belongings found nearby, including a sword, well-preserved leather boots and two knives, suggest that the remains belonged to a medieval soldier. The find can be dated to the 16th century.

- The human remains were found under a layer of mud and sand at a depth of nine meters during an underwater examination of the remains of the old Dubingiai bridge, says Elena Pranckenaite, underwater archaeologist at Klaipėda university.

The underwater find, which isn´t a burial, is unique and the first of its kind in Lithuania. The remains are preliminarily identified as those of a young man. The cause of death could not be determined.

- We found all bones, the cranium, bones and teeth, but no skin. There are no remains of textiles or clothes, only leather boots and fragments of a quite thin leather belt, she says.

- We also found a sword, two knifes and a spur. Preliminary dating of those finds are 16th century, but we are working on more exact dating and a context of this find. It is a new find, so we hope in few months to get more results and we that we can share them.

The remains are now being examined at the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University, and the archaeological finds have been sent to the Lithuanian National Museum for conservation.

Elena Pranckėnaitė also hope to be able to tell more about the context – why remains of a man was found in the territory of the old/former bridge (which is dated 16th-17th century) and already known from a maritime archaeological survey. The bottom of Lake Asveja has been explored using underwater archeological methods since 1998.