Kernavė Old Church

In 1988, the archaeological excavation started in east side of the current Kernavė Church, the southern outskirts of Kernavė town. During the excavations, foundation and burials of the 15th-17th centuries were discovered. 258 graves were found within the former church cemetery, and 115 graves were found near the foundations of the former church. The dead were buried densely, several times in the same place. Most of the dead were buried in coffins with heads orientated to the west, northwest, and southwest.

In general, the preservation level of the skeletons is poor, bones are significantly affected by erosion and very fragmented. A total of 286 individuals are stored (only skulls, long bones):




Complete skeleton (>50 %)



Partially preserved skeleton (~50 %)



Fragmentary skeleton (<50 %)




The demographic profile of the Kernavė church population is not comprehensive. Male and probable male accounted for 33%, female and probable female for 20%; however, sex and age were undetermined for the third of the adult individuals (Fig. 1). Adults, under the age of 18, accounted for only one-tenth of all individuals. The majority of the non-adults died at 1-5 years of age (Fig. 2). The majority of adult male and female died matured –  30–49 years (Fig. 3).

Fig. 1. Population structure of the Kernavė Old Church (N=286).
Fig. 2. Crude prevalence rates of the Kernavė Old Church non-adults (N=286).
Fig. 3. Crude prevalence rates of the Kernavė Old Church adults (N=286).