Enhancing understanding of a common past through Yotvingian history

An archaeological project establishes permanent exhibits on Yotvingian history at two local museums in the border area of Lithuania and Poland.

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The exhibits contain maps with descriptions of the various archaeological sites and excavations.  © Alytus Ethnographic Museum The exhibits contain maps with descriptions of the various archaeological sites and excavations. © Alytus Ethnographic Museum

" This is an opportunity to show to the public where we come from and how our common history still affects us. "

Daiva Bagdoniene, project manager and deputy director

The Yotvingians were a Baltic tribe that lived on the land between present-day Lithuania and Poland. To help preserve this common history, museum officials currently working in the same borderland began to look for ways to enhance understanding of the ancient culture and preserve artefacts left behind by the Yotvingians.

Exhibits set up at museums

The Alytus Ethnographic Museum and the Suwałki Region Museum are small, regional museums located in Lithuania and Poland respectively. The two cultural centres have been discussing ways of combining research efforts on the Yotvingian tribe for some time. With more artefacts being discovered, and funding from the ERDF, the project was finally realised.

The result of this conversation was the establishment of a permanent exhibit about the ancient culture at each museum. The exhibits contain maps with descriptions of the various archaeological sites and excavations, and background on the Yotvingians in both the Alytus and Suwałki regions.

Increased cooperation for increased numbers

The joint effort not only led to the exchange of information between the two countries, it also gave the small museums invaluable experience with best practices at European museums. More so, it also increased museum visitors. For example, in 2013, the Suwałki Region Museum had 5 091 visitors. Once the exposition opened, the museum welcomed 12 361 visitors – an increase of 243 %.

Other activities organised

A traveling version of the exhibit was shown in six locations, and there are plans for a conference on the subject. An initial outdoor workshop on the topic of experimental archaeology attracted over 2 546 participants, and similar activities look to build off this success.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Learning the customs and daily life in ancient Yotvingian land through understanding the cultural remains and sources of Yotvingian population and presentation of archaeological exhibitions” is EUR 264 038, of which the EU’s European Regional Development fund is contributing EUR 224 432 from the Operational Programme “Lithuania – Poland” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

03/11/2015