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2008 | 32 | 9-30
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BALTIC HERITAGE IN WESTERN BELARUS: NEW HISTORIC AND LINGUISTIC DATA ABOUT OBOLTSY (Baltiiskoe nasledie v vostochnoi Belarusi: novye istoricheskie i lingvisticheskie dannye ob Oboltsakh)

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Historian J. Ochmanski was the first to introduce the statement about Baltic heritage in Oboltsy region (Tolochinski & Sennenski 'raion' of the Vitebsk region (Oblast)). He considered that the Oboltsy Baltic heritage is autochthonous by nature. A.P. Nepokupnyi considered that the Lithuanian occupation of Oboltsy is the most trustworthy as well as the occupation of other West Slavonic lands. The article presents and investigates the data of the complex investigations in 2006 the main aim of which is to prove the J. Ochmanski hypothesis as well as to find new data in the above mentioned region. Combination of field investigations together with the historic and linguistic archive files permitted the authors to find some new aspects of the Baltic-Slavonic relations on the territory of Western Belarus. ncient settlement situated on the left tributary of the river Obolyanka near Kleban village (its historic name is Old Oboltsy) became one of the most significant discoveries. By its appearance and analogies in the Vitebsk Podvine and the Orsha Podneprove the settlement can be attributed to the third quarter of the 1st millennium AD. The question of its earlier and late existence is still opened. 0,3 km. to the West of the settlement on the bank of the same Obolyanka tributary there is a place where the Catholic Oboletskii church was situated till the middle of the XX century. Due to archaeological data the cultural layer contains ceramics of the XIV-XVI centuries and overgrowth. This allows us to consider though with some hesitation that the Oboletskii court of Grand Dukeof Lithuania was situated there. Taking into consideration the fact that the Grand Duke Yagailo (Jagiello) as the founder of the Oboltsy Church in 1387 the remains of the first Catholic church can also be found here. It can be considered that in XIV-XVI centuries the Oboltsy administrative, political and cultural center in the upper stream of Obolyanka was founded on the place of the previously reinforced settlement that was the center of the tribal or perhaps even early state power. While investigating inter-confessional relations in Oboltsy it was discovered that interrelations between anthroponomy of the Baltic origin and the Catholic religion (that is typical for central part of Belarus) made significantly difficult to find the Baltic heritage there.In this connection the linguistic, chronological and geographic analyses of the anthroponomy were carried out. The family names of the Baltic origin found in Oboltsy region are the collection of different chronologic layers. The most ancient layer, identified by J. Ochmanski is the constant of anthroponomy fund. They were constant during four-five centuries and consolidated in the modern Belarus names as well as in the region toponymy. A part of the names is connected with the big clans and migration of their representatives in XVII-XVIII centuries from the eastern part of Belarus. The latest layer of the Lithuanian names is connected with the Lithuanian colonization movement in the XIX century on the territory of the western part of Vitebsk region. The strong concentration of the Baltic (Lithuanian) names in Oboltsy, Smoliany, Shupeny region fixed in XV-XVII centuries proves the constant process of the Baltic names distribution in this region.
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  • Julia A. Gurskaya, Belorusskii Gosudarstvennyi Pedagogicheskii Universitet im. Maksima Tanka, Sovetskaya str.18, Minsk, Belarus
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