Araishi Archeological Park offers a glimpse of Lavtvia's past
in three distinct sites, representing three different eras:
Our tour proceeded from the Ariasu Lake to the Livionian
Castle, and endied with the Stone and Bronze Age dwellings. Each are
described in a separate section below
- The Araisu
the only reconstruction of this type of 9th-10th century settlement in
Northern and Eastern Europe, built and inhabited by the ancient
- Castle Ruins
of the 14th-17th Livonian order: built as a side castle for the
master of the Cesis Livonian order and used for both military and
of Stone and Bronze Age Dwellings: these
houses on Meitu Island were constructed based on information about
Stone and Bronze
Age houses gathered from Latvia and neighboring countries.
This lake fortress is among the oldest direct
connection of the Latvian culture to its past. Much of this site was
under water, and the reconstruction following 10 seasons of
archeological excavation was undertaken by Dr. Jani Apals, a pioneer in
the field of experimental archeology. Below is a diagram of the
settlement and numbered explanations of the dwellings.
|1. Basic Wooden Platform: a
platform made on a low island in the lake, consisting of a
lattice covered with a spread of horizontal logs.
|5. Household Extension: located
on the right side of the facade of a dwelling house. Some houses had
additional extensions at the sides or at the back. Tools were stored in
these annexes, only some show signs of the presence of small domestic
animals such as sheep and goats.
|2. Defence Construction Fragment: the
settlement was surrounded by defence construction located along the
margin of the platform--a passageway consisting of chamber-like
defensive structures and a defence wall.
|6. Roof: dwellings had gabled ridged
roofs. The covering of the roof consisted of several layers: round logs
or split planks were covered with sheets of birch or spruce bark that
were weighted down with round or split timbers. The lower ends of the
weights are supported by split timbers put in knees (trees with
distinctly bended roots or branching) not to slide down.
|3. Yoke Corner Joint: an archaic form
of joining the corners--the lateral wall of the log structure are
to the end wall by means of vertical retaining poles and horizontal
tie-beams or "yoke beams".
|7. Sod Roof: some of the dwelling
houses may have used sod to weigh down the roof construction.
|4. Dwelling House: the house used a
rectangular structure of horizontal logs. It is a chimney-less
single-room building with a porch in the end wall, an entrance on the
right side of the porch, and a small annex also on the right side. At
the center of the living room was a clay stove, but sleeping places and
benches were arranged along the walls. Each house was occupied by one
nuclear family. In each building phase there were about 16 houses with
a population of about 70 to 90 people.
|8. Jeweller's House: people of the lake
fortress had various occupations. Accordning to the
artifacts--crucibles, tools and the semi-finished products--a jeweller
living and worked in one of the houses.