Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Have you ever found a stone-age artefact? Show it here!


After seeing stone-age finds beeing presented on a variety of Facebook pages I decided that it could be of general interest to start a separate page for these. So here it is, let´s see what you have found!




Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The scientific repatriation of seven KIA (1941) Soviet soldiers in Tvärminne, Hanko S. Finland

The excavation of the long lost grave site took place in May and September 2019 and was part of the larger scientific WW2 conflict archaeology project called "Hanko 1941". The work was carried out in close co-operation with The Russian Embassy in Finland, "Sotavainajien muiston vaalimisyhdistys ry", Hanko Front Museum and Hanko Museum (the town of Hanko).


Items (a pencil inserted into a Nagant cartridge and a 20 Kopek coin from 1941) from Grave I after conservation. Photo Jarno Huusko (Metropolia) for the "Hanko 1941" project

16 persons in all took part in the work, each with clearly defined different tasks ranging from documentation to excavation and forensic dentistry. All work was done as humanitarian (non paid) work.

Locals had cared for Soviet mass grave in the Hanko archipelago (Sommaröar) for decades after the war but today the site lays forgotten (right). Photo Jan Fast 1981.

In all a total of seven soldiers were repatriated using meticuous excavation and documentation methods. The excavation work proved that sientific archaeology has a significant role to play when collecting data about both burial practises as well as material remains and soil samples from the graves. All of these are of importance in gaining data about the circumstances around the death of the individuals as well as in the identification and general understanding of the relationship between the battlefield and the graves. 

Entrenchments and camp grounds in Tvärminne. Map by Aleksi Rikkinen for the "Hanko 1941" project.

All work was conducted in strict accordance with rules and regulations concerning the repatriation of fallen soldiers. We also documented and analysed the remains and took care of the conservation of the excavation finds. The Russian Embassy of Finland has promised to take care of the continued forensic examination of the soldiers remains and to try to find relatives to the deceased. The Embassy will also take care of the reburial which will take place in a near future.

The partly reconstructed grave site photographed soon after the end of the excavation. Photo Börje Österberg.

MA Jan Fast and Aleksi Rikkinen will lecture on the scientific work in Tvärminne and the "Hanko 1941" project during the conflict archaeology weekend at Hanko Front Museum 19th to 20th of October. Please notice that preregistration to the Hanko Front Museumis mandatory if you wish to participate in the lectures!



Monday, 30 September 2019

Before the Bronze-Age. Excavating the Kiukais Culture Dwelling Site at Ölmosviken

The end of the 2019 excavation season is closing in but the weather allowed for one more excavation of the magnificient late neolithic Ölmosviken site @ Kimitoön SW Finland.

Autumn @ Ölmosviken. Photo Marjo Karppanen.

Lots of interesting pottery, C14 and soil samples were again carefully collected by our topexcavation team. These will be of key importance for the work with the dissertation about this time period (work 2019-2023 by MA Janne Soisalo).




Late neolithic Kiukais culture potsherds from Ölmosviken. Photo Jan Fast, Janne Soisalo and Kim Björklund.

The burnt bones were almost totally lacking in excavation area one where the find material predominantly consisted of large Kiukais culture potsherds. On excavation area two however the bone finds were numerous in the thick and intensely coloured cultural layer.

Burnt seal bone fragments etc. from excavation area two.

The lithic material mostly consisted of quartz, quartsite and porfyrite flakes and small items shaped from these raw materials. A large stone-axe was also found during the excavation of area one.

Quartz and Porfyrite scrapers from Ölmosviken. Photo Janne Soisalo.

Neolithic stone axe. Photo Janne Soisalo.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Malmkulla 4200 BC

Last weekend we made a short but successfull trial excavation of the Malmkulla early comb ceramic dwelling site situated in the town of Raseborg (Karis) SW Finland. The extent of the site as well as
it´s preservation is poorly known. Only one small scale excavation had been carried out here before (in 1979).

The excavation team with archaeologist Janne Soisalo in the middle at the start of day one.

In order to gain a better understanding of the results of the excavation in 1979 we decided to open up a small trial excavation area in it´s immediate vicinity. The results obtained here would then later serve as a starting point for observations in the surrounding area.


The trial excavation area before excavation ...

... and with the topsoil removed.

Soon after the start of the excavation it became obvious that the area was covered with a 30 cm thick layer of disturbed soil (although containing stone-age finds). Underneath this the original topsoil could be observed and beneath this the undisturbed stone-age cultural layer.

Profile towards the east showing the disturbed soil on top of the original topsoil.

The untouched stone age find layer varied in depth between 20-40 cm:s and was quite rich in a wide variety of finds all dating to the younger phase of the early comb ceramic culture.




 A variety of finds from the trial excavation includinp potsherds, ornate burnt bone artefacts, a fragment of a clay figurine and slate and quartz tools.

During the smallscale trial excavation it became obvious that the site had been somewhat misinterpreted in 1979 (considered mostly destroyed and with no coloured find layer). Instead the actual extent of the site was quite large and the find layer clearly brown and grey coloured.

Greyish brown coloured find layer some 30 cm:s below ground surface.

After the excavation was finished we filled in the trial excavation area and the test pits. We will continue excavating the site in 2020.

Finishing off the 2019 trial excavation.

Monday, 23 September 2019

JFA upcoming community archaeology excavations in 2020

Many of you have asked... so here´s the preliminary plan for the 2020 community archaeology excavation season (minor changes possible and also probable). No previous experience of archaeology is needed in order to participate. Children under 14 years of age can participate in the company of an adult.

Please send letters of interest to jfarchaeology@gmail.com for more information if you wish to participate. We also welcome foreign  archaeology students especially if you have an interest in the neolithic or WW2 conflict archaeology!

Best Jan Fast and Janne Soisalo


JFA planned and upcoming excavations in 2020.

1. ”Vuores ja kadonneen aarteen metsästäjät”
Pedagogic archaeology project around the historic "Annisto homestead" with Vuoreksen koulu.
11-15.5.2020.
This excavation is fully booked.



2. Kouvola, Ruskiasuo
Excavation of an early comb ceramic/corded ware culture dwelling site.
20-24.5.2020
Kouvolan kansalaisopisto - Planning in progress
Registration has not started.



3. Raseborg, Malmkulla
Excavation of an early comb ceramic dwelling site.
22-25.5.2020
Karis hembygdsförening and local schools - Planning in progress
Registration has not started.



4. Kemiönsaari, Ölmosviken
Pedagogic archaeology project with schools from Kemiönsaari.
26-31.5.2020
Sagalundsgillet rf and local schools + community archaeology excavation
Planning in progress
Registration has not started



5. Porvoo, Vävarsbacka II
Excavation of a stone-age (multiperiod) dwelling site.
3-7.6.2020
Borgå Medborgarinstitut - Planning in progress
Registration has not started.



6. Kirkkonummi, Kolsarby
Trial excavation of a stone-age dwelling site.
10.6-14.6.2020
Kirkkonummen Kansalaisopisto
This excavation is fully booked.



7. Espoo, Kläppkärr
Excavation of an early comb ceramic/corded ware culture dwelling site.
22.06-27.06.2020
Esbo Arbetarinstitut



8. Lohja, Kittiskoski E
Excavation of a stone-age (multiperiod) dwelling site.
1.7-5.7.2020
Hiiden Opisto - Planning in progress.
Registration has not started




9."Hanko 1941"
WW2 battlefield archaeology excavations.
13.7-25.7.2020 and 31.8-4.9.2020
Hangö Sommaruni - Planning in progress.
Registration has not started but you can pre-register at the battlefield archaeology weekend at the Hanko Front Museum 19-20.10.2019!





Monday, 2 September 2019

The Savukoski excavation, week three. By Teemu Väisänen

Report by BA Teemu Väisänen. I have shortened the orignal tex a bit but you can read the full story in his blog https://tvarchaeology.blogspot.com/

“If the third week in Savukoski had to be summarized using only one word, it definitely would be "documentation". After two weeks of preparations and initial work with the first excavation layers of each trench, the excavations sped up and it was time to carefully document each layer that we had uncovered. 

It was also time to dig into the potential trapping pit of Malmio 2 using a bit heavier machinery than archaeologists are traditionally known for!


As each archaeological site gets destroyed as it's being excavated, it's vital to pay attention to exact documentation. When drawing an archaeological plan, different soil types, stones and other features are drawn and named. As our excavation trenches were dug into prime examples of podzol, the typical soil of Finnish boreal forests, the natural soil sequences have been (fairly unsurprising) and don't include much variation when drawing.



Trenches are also photographed from a few different angles. While the past archaeologists often climbed on trees or hazardous ladders in order to get an ideal shot, here we have it easy with two drones, which can be used to get aerial photos that can be even given exact coordinates for computer processing. All drawings are scanned and re-drawn on the computer, in order to make clearer and polished visualizations of the trenches. When the time comes, I will share a few as an example of how such plans ultimately look like.