Wednesday, October 27, 2004

More on Latvian Megalithic Sites by Vilnis Grauds - Velnu Laivas - Velēnas - Milzkalne - Talsi - Lube - Valdemarpils - LexiLine Journal 309

More on Latvian Megalithic Sites
by Vilnis Grauds

So-called "velnu laivas"* are large stone cairns found on the sea coast of Courland, Latvia's most westerly State.

[*LexiLine adds: the root veln- in Latvian means "devil" and so this could be translated as "devil's boats", but the correct root could surely be Latvian velēna "turf, mound grave", so that the original term was in our opinion velēna laivas i.e. "turf boats, mound grave boats".]

The largest of these stone edifices, a 20 meter high cairn (shaped like a boat), as already reported in the previous e-mail, was for the most part torn down in the Soviet period in Latvia by fragmenting the stones. Of this cairn, the foundation - measuring about two meters in
height - has remained. Several smaller cairns still exist untouched.

The Latvian Encyclopedic Dictionary**
[**Enciklopediska vardnica, 2 volumes, chief editor A. Vilks, see
also online http://www.letonika.lv/ - a free registration can be
obtained for 7 days, thereafter it costs to subscribe - in its
section on History -> Archaeology (Vesture->Arheologija)]
under the entry
velna laivas

writes***
"–– senkapi Talsu rajona Lubes pag. un Valdemarpils lauku terit. (950–
750 g. pr. Kr.). Nos. pec laivas forma izveidota akmenu kravuma (gar.
7 –24 m), kura ieraktas mala urnas ar sadedzinatu mirušo pišliem.
Akmens laivveida kapi izplatiti Skandinavija, ipaši Gotlande." ©
Nacionalais Apgads
[***Translation by LexiLine - [mound boats are] ancient tombs in the
district of Talsi, parish (rural municipality or county) of Lube and
the rural area of Valdemarpils (ca. 950-750 B.C.) They take their
name from the boat-shaped form of the stone cairns (measuring
anywhere from 7 to 24 meters in length), in which earthenware urns
containing cremated ashes of the deceased were found. Such boat-
shaped stone formations are found in Scandinavian burials, especially
in Gotland.]"
If we now talk specifically about the mound boats - then these have been generally investigated by Latvian archaeology - at least to the degree that it is known that they contain cremation urns - often more than one - and that these burials date to the Bronze Age.

[LexiLine: but do the stone cairns date to that age? or have the cairns been used for urn burials later in time?].

The breadth and height of the stone cairns differs greatly. Archaeological digs have also been made in part with respect to the so-called "offering stones", but the cult hills in Latvia have not been studied separately from those found in neighboring Russia and Belarus [Byelorussia, White Russia], where many archaeological digs have been made, and where many of these sites have been fairly well investigated both archaeologically as well as morphologically, also with respect to geodetic measurement.

If we talk precisely about what has not been investigated in Latvia - at least, if we ignore a few general discussions in the Soviet period in the amateur astronomy journal "Zvaigznota debess" [(The Starry Sky), http://www.astr.lu.lv/zvd/stsky.html] - then these are directly the questions of structure and archaeoastronomy, which have become serious topics worldwide in their own right only in the last few decades.

The late Ivars Viiks (who passed away a few years ago) wrote two books in the post-Soviet period, but his work leans more in the direction of the occult or even beyond that, finding a few confluences of geometric rules, while the greater part of his work consists of the presentation of several occult sources (e.g. ideas about an ancient Nordic global civilization), together with his own ideas about these matters. Looking at Viiks' geometric ideas, there is considerable manipulation by him in order to achieve the desired result, although at the same time, some of his factual materials in these books are useful.

For his part, Enins is an enthusiast, who suddenly became involved with other disciplines through his search for and fixation on cliff rock drawings. The "Dabas retumu kraatuve"
[(Collection of the Rarities of Nature), http://www.gramata21.lv/users/enins_guntis/index.html] is his creation.

Not all of Milzkalne ["Giant Hill"] has been destroyed, but one whole side was removed in the course of taking gravel from this location in the Soviet period.

Wishing all the best,

Vilnis Grauds

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