The stone age amber finds

The oldest amber finds

Archaeological amber artefacts are explicit evidence that amber processing exits for more than six thousand years. The oldest amber artefacts are dated 13700–12200 BC. Most of them are realistic figurines of wild animals and water birds, and carved pendants from Central Europe. The first Neolithic amber artefacts discoveries, dated 4000 BC, are found in the Eastern and Southern regions of the Baltic Sea together with pieces of raw amber. People of Narva and comb ceramic pottery culture produced various articles inspired by natural shape of amber: amber buttons, pendants, cylindrical necklaces, amber links and disks, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines.

Collection of Richard Klebs

Amber collection of Richard Klebs, also known as the ‘Juodkrantė’s Treasure’, was first described in his book “Amber Jewellery of the Stone Age” in 1882, though in 1862 ‘Stantien & Becker’ company found a lot of amber after some navigation works in the Curonian Lagoon near Juodkrantė. At first company owners began selling the treasure artefacts, shared it with employees, donated to important company’s guests. After it draw geology professor’s Gustav Berendt and subsequently archaeologist’s Otto Tischler attention amber articles were embarked to accumulate. Some of amber artefacts found their way to the collections of the Society of Nature and Economics and to the Society of Prussia. Richard Klebs the scientific consultant of Stantien & Becker took a major role in looking after the collection. In 1926 this collection was purchased by University of Koninsberg. During the Second World War almost the whole collection (around 400 amber articles of the Stone Age) was gone. 18 amber artefacts from ‘Juodkratė’s Treasure’ that remained during the war are preserved in the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy in the University of Gottingen. R. Klebs made detailed descriptions of five amber articles – three human figurines, phallus-shaped pendant and ornamented double amber disks. Restorer of Pranas Gudynas Center for Restoration, Bronė Kunkulienė, made copies of R. Klebs’ collection of amber articles, which are now exhibited in Palanga Amber Museum. These are various pendants, amber buttons, tube necklaces, amber links and disks. Particularly valuable in this collection are the Neolithic age articles’ copies – amber figurines of human beings and wild animals.

Collection of Feliksas Tiškevičius

‘Palanga’s Treasure’ is another interesting example of amber articles which was accumulated by Palanga count Feliksas Tiškevičius. Collection from the Neolithic and Iron ages was gathered in the peatlands of Palanga and Šventoji. A part of his collection F. Tiškevičius donated to the Society of Friends of Science in Vilnius. Now that part is stored at the National Museum of Lithuania. At the beginning of the 20th century F. Tiškevičius’ archaeological amber collection was exhibited in Paris. After F. Tiškevičius death (in 1936), his wife Antanina Tiškevičienė handed over the collection (148 amber artefacts) to a recently established Kretinga Museum. In 1960 this collection, together with other values from museum’s section of Archaeology, were handed over to Kaunas State Museum of History. In 1963 Museum of History lent the collection for Palanga Amber Museum to exhibit on the deposit rights.

A part of this collection is from the Neolithic period: carved amber disks, amber buttons with ‘V’–shaped holes, blanks of tube necklaces, typical Neolithic period pendants, exclusive pendant schematically rendering a human being. The other part of the collection is from the Late Iron Age: various forms of necklaces, amber spindles. Together with the Stone Age artefacts, in Palanga Amber Museum an amber bowl is exhibited there. It is difficult to determine the bowl’s authenticity and chronological period, therefore the amber bowl does not represent an exact period, but only its dependency to the renowned amber collection of count F. Tiškevičius.