The Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture is the institution that finances the archaeological research, preservation and restoration activities as well as the reburial of the remains of the Radvila family representatives. In the process of implementing the programme of 2007 – 2009 covering the adaptation of the Dubingiai castle-place for cultural and cognitive tourism, as provided for in the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 29 January 2009, the Department of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture allocated 3 million Litas for the above purpose in the period of 2007 through to 2009. The allocated money was used to finance the archaeological research of the evangelical reformed church and that of the Radvila’s Palace, to install the crypt for the reburial of the Radvila family and to carry out the preservation works of the foundations of the church.
Currently the archaeological research of the Radvila’s Palace is underway. The aim of the research is to open up the foundations of the former palace tower, explore the cellars of the palace, define the relationship of the palace with the environment of the castle-place, and to fine-tune the chronology of the building. Later the foundations of the palace will be subjected to conservation works and adapted for tourist visits. Special pathways will be erected above the foundations and a special construction will be installed to cover the whole area of interest.
Dubingiai castle-place is one of the objects of utmost importance in the history of Lithuania. It is both one of the most important locations in terms of historic fights with crusaders, and in terms of its relation to the actual rulers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, i.e. the Radvila family, by at the same time being their burial place. The archaeological research of the Dubingiai castle-place has been in progress since 2003. Throughout that time the former church was thoroughly explored, the remains of the former Radvila's Palace were discovered and laid open. However, the major archaeological discovery was made in 2004 when the remains of the noble Radvila family, which made an outstanding contribution to the history of Lithuania, were found.
The Radvila family is one of the most influential families in the history of Lithuania. It exerted an undoubtedly strong influence on the political and cultural development of the Lithuanian State. The Radvila family funded the construction of the Church of the Body of Christ in Nesvizh which gave start to the Baroque style in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The family were the governors of many towns and residencies. Nonetheless, they chose Dubingiai as the place for their burial site. In the period from 2004 through to 2007, as a result of joint efforts of anthropologists, historians, art critics and archaeologists, the remains of eight people found back in 2004 were identified to be the remains of the Radvila family representatives, including Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius Province Governor and Vicegerent of Livonia, the ardent fighter against the Lublin Union and the actual uncrowned king of Lithuania Mikalojus Radvila the Black, his wife Elžbieta Šidloviecka-Radvilienė, Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius Province Governor and Grand Hetman Mikalojus Radvila the Red, his son Mikalojus Radvila, the wife of Mikalojus Radvila Elena Hlebovičaitė, Mikalojus Radvila (grandson of Mikalojus Radvila the Red), Jonušas VI Radvila and Ana Sobkovna (the first wife of Kristupas Radvila Thunderer). This major recent archaeological and historical discovery is important for both Lithuania and other countries that formerly were part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, have preserved the Radvila family heritage and until nowadays are inhabited by the descendants of the Radvila family.
Formerly an island, nowadays the Dubingiai castle-place is a big hill-shaped peninsular. The size of the mound, making it one of the biggest mounds in Lithuania, and its convenient strategic position alongside with the fact that Vytautas chose it to be the most suitable place for his castle and for the church that he funded, clearly show the importance of the Dubingiai castle in the fights with German and Livonian orders. After the death of Vytautas, the castle-place ended up under the rule of vicegerents of the Duke of Lithuania Kazimieras Jogailaitis. It is not known how nor when Dubingiai were handed over to the Radvila family, but it is considered that it had happened under the rule of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Aleksandras.
Ruins of the former Radvila's Palace and those of the evangelical reformed church dating back to the XVI-XVII centuries still remain at the Dubingiai castle-place. It is known that there were three churches there: one catholic church, funded by Vytautas, and two evangelical reformed churches, funded by Mikalojus Radvila the Red and Jonušas Radvila. The performed archaeological research resulted in only a few findings related to the church that is dating back to the times of Grand Duke Vytautas. They included a fragment of a tile, a coin dating back to Vytautas' times, a coin dating back to Kazimieras' times, Alexandrian denars, and early burial sites. The archaeological findings related to the second church were more numerous and mainly included long fragments of foundations, a crypt, fragments of the church floor. In addition, the whole perimeter of the third Renaissance-style church was laid open, while the foundations of its walls, apse and the tower were thoroughly explored. The entire perimeter of the church was subjected to conservation works and adapted for visitors.
On 3 and 4 September 2009, the remains of the Radvila family representatives will be laid out at the Radvila’s Palace in Vilnius. On 5 September 2009, the solemn reburial ceremony of the remains will be held as part of the programme for the commemoration of the millennium of Lithuania’s name. The remains of the Radvila family representatives will be reburied in the crypt which was discovered in the apse of the Renaissance-style evangelical reformed church in Dubingiai. It is planned that the solemn ceremony will be attended by the Presidents of the Republic of Lithuania, heads of the Government, the Parliament and the ministries of Lithuania, Ministers of Culture of Poland, Belarus and Ukraine, descendants of the Radvila family and others.