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Ludmiła Dučyc The Baits and the Slavs on the territory of Belarus in the beginning of the second millennium A.D.

In ancient time the territory of Belarus represented the eastern outskirt of the Baits’ world. The Slavs began to settle here from the middle of the first millennium. This process was very lasting and versatile. In the beginning of the second millennium it developed most intensively. It was in this time that nationalities and states were forming.

Balto-Slavic symbiosis in the most distinctive way can be traced on the results of excavations of burials which differ from those in other East-Slavic lands. As excavations of barrows and underground burials testify to the role of the Baits wasn’t equal in different regions: Baltic, Slavic and mixed Balto-Slavic areas can be distinguished. Many barrows with Baltic features are fixed in the outskirts of Polack, Mensk, Zaslaue. In the upper Vilia and on the right banks of the Nioman-river there are East-Lithuanian barrows. Stone burials left by the Jacviahy are characteristic to the territory of the Nioman and partly Buh river-basins. The results of excavations of the regretable-barrow cemeteries testify to migration of the Jacviahy from the Nioman basin to the upper Biarezina. The central part and south of Belarus (Prypiać Palesse region) dryhavičy occupied. In their burial sites a number of typical Baltic adornments can be met. Dryhavičy took part in migration to the Nioman and Buh area. Valynians were the main population of Western Palesse (the Buh river-basin) but features of the Mazaushans and the Jacviahy can be also traced. Many Baltic elements are characteristic to Radzimičy barrows.

According to archaeological data ethnic contacts between the Baits and the Slavs in the beginning of the second millennium were not frontier but scattered. This is confirmed by the data of other sciences — anthropology, toponymy, hydronymy, linguistics, etnography. It was on the Balto-Slavic basis that Belarusian nationality had been established and its ethnical self-realization had been formed.