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The Practice of Preserving and Presenting Archaeological Sites in Latvia

Sandra Zirne

Cite this as: Zirne, S. 2020 The Practice of Preserving and Presenting Archaeological Sites in Latvia, Internet Archaeology 54.


The preservation and protection of archaeological sites are issues that, for many years, have retained importance among a wide range of specialists. Over the centuries, archaeological sites have changed dramatically owing to natural processes, military conflicts and different economic activities. Nowadays, Latvian hill-forts are without visible wooden structures, and medieval castles have become ruins, but they still retain their historical and scientific significance, and have become an integral part of the landscape. How can we protect and make them relevant and interesting to the general public? This article reviews several examples of how archaeological sites are protected and presented in Latvia.

Reconstruction of lake fortress
Reconstruction of Āraiši Lake fortress. Image: E. Šulcs
  • Google Scholar
  • Keywords: archaeology, Latvia, archaeological sites, conservation, reconstruction, landscape
  • Accepted: 1 November 2019. Published: 28 February 2020
  • The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.

Corresponding author: Sandra Zirne
Latvia National Heritage Board

Full text

Figure 1: Bauska Castle complex consists of a medieval fortress built in the middle of the 15th century and a ducal palace constructed in the mannerism style in the late 16th century. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 2: Daugmale hill-fort after the construction of the Riga Hydroelectric Power Plant. To prevent erosion of the slope, a technical road has been built at the foot of the hill-fort. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 3: Koknese medieval castle ruins after the flooding of Pļaviṇu hydroelectric power plant water reservoir. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 4: The ancient Dviete River valley. Image: D. Grūberts

Figure 5: Abava River Valley - specially protected cultural and historical territory. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 6: Reconstructed Turaida medieval castle in the territory of Turaida Museum Reserve. Image: Turaida Museum Reserve

Figure 7: Cēsis Castle complex is located in the territory of the 18th- and 19th-century manor park and consists of the partly reconstructed medieval castle, built in the beginning of the 13th century, manor complex and Riekstu kalns hill-fort. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 8: Reconstruction of Āraiši Lake fortress. Image: E. Šulcs

Figure 9: Grobiṇa hill-fort (Skābarža hill), ancient town and medieval castle ruins Image: J. Urtāns

Apals, J. 2002 'Araisi lake fortress in Latvia', Viking Heritage Magazine 4, 24-25.

Apals, J. 2011 'BÅ«vkoku konservācija un degradācija Āraišu ezerpils rekonstrukcijā', ArheoloÄ£ija un etnogrāfija XXV, 204-20.

Girsa, V. 2002 'Evaluation of conservation works at the Bauska castle-ruin' in D. BruÄ£is and I. Līne (eds) The Problems of Historical Ruin Conservation. Materials of international symposium and conference organized during the implementation of the project of EC program 'Culture 2000' 'Renaissance of the historical handicrafts and synthesis of the modern technologies in conservation of the 15th century Bauska fortress-ruin', Bauska: Bauska Castle Museum. 15-28.

Law on Protection of Cultural Monuments 1923 Valdības Vēstnesis 133, 26.06.1923.|issue:/p_001_wawe1923n133|article:DIVL29|block:P1_TB00006|issueType:P

Law on Protection of Cultural Monuments 1992

Law on Specially Protected Nature Territories 1997

Regulations of the specially protected cultural and historical territory "Abava Valley"' 1996

Regulations of the specially protected cultural monument Turaida Museum Reserve 2013

Šnē, A. 1999 'Archaeological heritage and its protection in Latvia' in O.W. Jensen, H. Karlsson and A. Vijups (eds) Inside Latvian Archaeology, Gotarch Series A, Vol. 2, Göteborg. 165-74.

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