Marija Gimbutas - Researcher of the Reketė Cemetery
The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania declared 2021 the year of archaeologist Marija Alseikaitė-Gimbutas. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of this prominent, world-famous scientist, Vytautas the Great War Museum is organizing a virtual exhibition "Marija Gimbutas - Researcher of the Reketė Cemetery".
The initial idea of the exhibition is to acquaint the public with the Stone and Bronze Ages, which have not been seen before and have not been exhibited anywhere, i. y. archaeological periods important to Marija Gimbutas, and their findings, over time, changed. Taking an interest in the scientist's biographical facts, in search of more interesting, never-before-heard information, one day we find an old notebook with a feathered pen and the inscription “Diary of Reketės Excavations. 1942” on the cover. In this case, it is important to mention that Marija Gimbutas researched in detail only one archeological object in Lithuania – the Reketė Cemetery in 1942. Details such as one page of the notebook, signed on behalf of M. Alseikaitė, and a note left by archaeologist Adolfas Tautavičius in the Reketė ancient burial report in 1942, that the scientist handed over this notebook and the artifacts found during the research to the museum, prove that this is authentic and unique manuscript of archeological research conducted in Lithuania, but more detailed research is needed to confirm this. The notebook itself is small, with torn leaves, the author's writing is beautiful and small. She wrote excavation notes with great care and consistency, without missing even small details. For example, the notebook says that from a woman's grave no. 42 skeletons were found "after the skull was removed, a piece of brass wire was found at the bottom under the middle of the occiput, and several small charcoals were observed near the wire." The scientist goes on to say that "no charcoal or other organic material is noticeable under the skull".
The discovery of this notebook led to a slightly different look at the exhibition and changed the original idea of the exhibition, it was decided to allow the public to get acquainted with the valuable artifacts collected during the excavations of the Reketė Cemetery (Kretinga district) and stored in Vytautas the Great War Museum. The graves of two women (graves No. 42 and 43) and one man (grave No. 41) dating back to the 5th – 9th centuries (combat weapons, household tools and jewelry) and randomly found work and combat ironware in the areas (No. II and III) are exhibited in the virtual space. The main exhibit of the exhibition is a digitized diary of Reketė excavations in 1942, which describes the four graves and all findings found and the excavations investigated areas. The notebook contains information about Imbarė hillfort (Kretinga district), describes serpentine hoes and several sheets of random inscriptions.