Archaeological Ensemble

14Porāni (Pūrāni) burial ground


Porāni burial mound site is located on the northern edge of the town centre of Grobiņa. The surrounding landscape of the Porāni burial ground has been transformed by economic activity. A gravel quarry is situated to the north of the burial ground, now a marshy area, overgrown by scrub. 20th century farm buildings are located at the northeast border of the Porāni burial ground. On the southwest side, the burial ground is bordered by a meadow, 20th century industrial farm walls and a forest, whereas the southeastern border consists of meadows and agricultural land. Porāni burial ground has to be seen in conjunction with the Priediens burial ground.


The Porāni burial ground consists of about 50 burial mounds ranging from 5.7-8.3 m in diameter and 0.3-0.6 m in height. Visual signs of the burial mounds have largely been lost and at the present they are marked by slight elevations. Excavations have revealed that the burial mounds are cremation graves in which the ashes of the deceased, accompanied by grave goods, were laid to rest under the central section of the mound. The finds and the style of the burials are typical of Scandinavian burial grounds of the time. Based on the finds typology of the artefacts accompanying the deceased, the burial ground’s period of use is dated to the 7th – 9th century.


The fact that Porāni burial ground is situated slightly away from the other Scandinavian burial grounds, is a sign of further inland expansion of Scandinavian settlers, i.e. it is a proof of inland agrarian colonisation in an attempt to establish a network of settlements in a common system. Similar explanation could apply also to the Jāči burial ground that is situated 10 km from Grobiņa, has c. 50 burial mounds and where Scandinavian burials from 7th to 9th centuries were found during archaeological excavations. The efforts or the necessity of Scandinavian settlers to expand into new territories could be associated also with the Sauslauki burial ground near Durbe, situated about 20 km from Grobiņa, where flat grave burials characteristic to Scandinavians were found. However, even though the expansion in Kurzeme continued further inland, Grobiņa remained the regional centre of the Scandinavian community with its unique settlement pattern and the form of interaction. 


Grobiņa archaelogical ensemble consists of several archaelogical monuments of the same period: Grobiņa hillfort (Skābarža hill) and the ancient town, Priediens ancient burial site, Porāni (Pūrāni) burial mound site, Smukumi flat-grave burial site, and Atkalni flat-grave burial site, which are located compactly in Grobiņa and its surroundings. These monuments mostly date back to the 7th - 9th centuries and they are related to the impressive Scandinavian settlement, which under the name Seeburg was mentioned in the 9th century written sources. Grobiņa archaelogical ensemble are included in the nomination "Grobiņa archaelogical ensemble" to UNESCO`S world heritage list.



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