|RESERVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
||After almost 30 years of successful archaeological researches, today we know that the first settlers appeared in the territory of the Cultural Reservation of Kernavė as early as in 9th-8th millennium BC, in the Epipaleolithic period. Since then until the very Early Middle Ages, the territory was continuously settled by people who left their traces. Formation of large settlements started in the Pajauta Valley in first centuries AC. Hillforts were used to defend the settlements. Hillforts are the most powerful element of the Cultural Reservation. There are up to one thousand hillforts in Lithuania, but there is no other complex of five hillforts along the whole region of the Baltic Sea. It is a heritage of historical-natural processes (glacier draw back) and long-term human traces. In Lithuania, the hillforts as a principal type of a pro-historical settlement have been functioning since the Bronze Age till the end of 14th century. Kernavė is not an exception here. In 13th century Kernavė becomes a town of feudal craftsmen and tradespeople, spread in the Pajauta Valley between the Neris and fortified hillforts.
The central hillfort (called the Aukuro Hillfort) was the dukes estate, the remaining four carried out the functions of defence of the dukes castle and the town. In written sources Kernavė was first mentioned in 1279 in the Livonian Chronicle and the Herman Vartberg Chronicle, where it was described as Traidenis, the Great Dukes of Lithuania, estate (1269-1282). At that time Kernavė was the most significant economic-political centre of Lithuania the first capital of Lithuania. These were Kernavės palmy days.
In 1390 Kernavė was burnt in an attack by Crusaders. After the fire the wooden town and castles have never been rebuilt, people moved out from the Pajauta Valley and started settling on the upper terrace, in the present territory of the settlement. In time, the remains of the old town were hidden from spectators eyes under a thick alluvial deposit stratum, which was an ideal preservative of the entire organics and, simultaneously, the traces of townspeoples inhabitants of the Lithuanian Troy. Unlike in Vilnius, in Kernavė cultural strata remained absolutely untouched from the end of 14th century, so they perfectly preserved their inestimable information.