Only a part of archaeological monuments has been explored to the present day. For instance, before 2000 only 152 out of 1000 known hillforts had been explored; only 10 archaeological sites had been fully excavated; a partial investigation of defensive fortifications (such as ramparts or moats) had been done in only 71 hillforts. Even 185 medieval burial grounds dating back to the 14th-17th centuries had been examined before 1995. Although 7,625 gravesin total had been discovered, for various reasons none of these burial grounds had been fully excavated by 1995.
Archaeological finds discovered during excavations or stray finds are now invaluable museum artefacts. According to the data of 1998, museums held 275,300 archaeological exhibits. The most extensive collections are at the Lithuanian National Museum (about 100,000 items), the Military Museum of Vytautas the Great (over 43,000), the History Museum of Lithuania Minor (about 28,000), the Nalšia Museum of Švenčionys (15,000), the State Archaeological and Historical Reserve of Kernavė (10,000), and the museum of Trakai (10,000).
Reports on archaeological excavations and surveys as well as scientific information regularly published by researchers in the periodical entitled Archeologiniai Tyrinėjimai Lietuvoje comprise the corpus of secondary descriptive archaeological sources. Information that is of the utmost importance to archaeological studies is presented in these documents and publications. They contain descriptions of the process of archaeological examination, the circumstances relating to the discovery of artefacts, drawings and photographs, and aspects of many other important research details.
The largest collection of archaeological reports (from 1948, inclusively) is held at the manuscript library of the Lithuanian Institute of History. Reports on archaeological expeditions undertaken during the years of the Republic of Lithuania (since 1936) are held in the archive of the Military Museum of Vytautas the Great in Kaunas.
The archive of the State Archaeological Commission housed in the Documentation Center of the State Heritage Center stands out among other archaeological depositories (archives of regional museums, manuscript collections in home libraries, etc). It reflects the work of the office that was in charge of all cultural heritage monuments during the period of Lithuanian independence before Second World War. The archive contains 207 files (a total of 50,000 pages). This archive also has reports on short-term research projects and a wealth of data on individual finds and monuments.
Research. At present, there are about 60 professional archaeologists working in Lithuania. Most of them are graduates of the Faculty of History of Vilnius University.
Over the past decade the number of archaeological monuments being examined has varied. The availability of funds and new research objectives influence tendencies in the research of archaeological monuments.
Characteristic of Lithuanian archaeology during Soviet times, the tendency to focus on the investigation of burial sites (burial grounds and mounds) is now no longer dominant. Research into habitation sites (unfortified and fortified settlements, manors and villages, and old towns) is now just as important.
In Soviet times most research was centered on excavations of Iron Age sites. During the period of independence (since the 1990) research into the monuments of the Stone and Bronze Ages, the Middle Ages, and the Modern Period has also intensified.
Although the tendency to publish research materials with in-depth or concise comments still remains, the number of analytical and synthetic studies has been on the increase.