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Opening hours:

from 9.00 till 17.00
daily except monday.

Заслаўе

The history and culture museum-reserve "Zaslaŭje"

Burial Mounds

Burial mounds (or kurgans) were a substantial element of Zaslavl landscape from the mid 10th  to the early 12th  centuries.  They served not only as burial sites, but also represented our ancestors’ system of pagan beliefs about the universe, in general, and the cult of the dead, in particular. As a rule, in early Middle Ages, the structure of the sacred town consisted from a town center, a settlement, burial mounds and a pagan sanctuary.  Zaslavl burial mounds are hemispherical earth mounds, up to 1-1.5 meters high with diameters ranging from 8 to 10 meters. The dead person was burned (cremation was a common practice), the remains were placed in the center of the fire site and covered with mounds of earth. However, in majority of the cases, the burning fire was only a part of the funeral ritual and the dead body was placed on the coals after the fire already extinguished, and then covered with mounds of earth. The cult of the purifying fire played crucially important role in burial practices of those days. As a rule, various personal property goods, such as ornaments and decorations (rings, buckles, necklaces, beads, pendants), every day items (knives, spins, combs, pots), tools, coins, etc. were placed next to the deceased. Soldiers were buried together with their weapons and ammunition (spears, axes, clubs, and armory belts). The number of personal items in the burial mound could reach up to 1,000 items! We have information about 367 kurgans, or burial mounds, and 142 of them were thoroughly examined. Nowadays, about 50 burial mounds are situated in Zaslavl.